Short-Term Team Orientation Manual
We at Roca Blanca want to thank you for joining our team as co-laborers in Mexico. We pray and believe that each person that comes down to join us is the person God has specially called and prepared for the task.
Please read the following orientation manual carefully. It has been written to help you prepare for your trip, increase your understanding of the area before you arrive, prevent potential problems, and increase the effectiveness of your ministry while you are here. There will also we a full oral orientation shortly after you arrive. This written guideline is to help you be as prepared as possible for your trip to minister with us here in this tropical paradise.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10
The Roca Blanca (White Rock) Mission Base is located on the Pacific Coast of Southern Mexico in the small fishing village of Cacalotepec, in the state of Oaxaca. We are 30 minutes from Puerto Escondido, 2 hours from Huatulco to the east, 7 hours south of Oaxaca City, and 6 hours from Acapulco to the west. The weather is generally hot year-round. There is a dry season from November to June and a rainy season from July to October. The primary language spoken is Spanish, however we do work with the Mixteco, Chatino, and Amuzgo Indians who speak their own languages. Be sensitive to the fact that Mexican culture, as well as the cultures in indigenous villages, differ from one another and from those in the United States. Catholicism is the predominant religion in the area and is often mixed with witchcraft and idolatry. This area is very poor, with the majority of people's income coming from working small plots of land.
We at the base recognize the importance of prayer. We begin praying for you and your time here before you arrive. Please spend time in prayer before you arrive. It is a most important part of your preparation. A good idea is to recruit a group of people who will pray for you and your team while you're here. The difference in your experience and fruitfulness can be amazing!
". . . The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." - James 5:16
To enter Mexico you will need a passport.
»Note: If a minor is traveling with just one of his/her parents or without either parent a written and notarized consent form from the other parent (if the minor is traveling with one parent) or from both parents (if the minor is traveling without parents) is advisable to cross the border. The form needs to include the name and age of the youth, with whom they are traveling, to what country and for what period of time. This form is rarely asked for at customs, but is a safeguard.
- Up to date on your Tetanus & Typhoid Immunizations.
- Hepatitis A and B Immunizations
- Anti-malaria medication, if you choose, beginning two weeks before and extending four weeks after your trip.
When traveling to Roca Blanca the following route is recommended:
Fly from any major U.S. city into Mexico City for customs clearance. From Mexico City it is best to fly to Puerto Escondido (PXM). This city is about 30 miles South of the Mission Base. If it is not feasible to fly into Puerto Escondido, a second alternative route is to fly into Huatulco (HUX). This tourist town is a little more than two hours from the base. There is a $50 US cost per car to travel from the Huatulco airport. Please contact us if you have questions or need assistance with travel plans.
A general rule for both men and women regarding clothes is that dress here is conservative and modest. Extremes of fashion are generally not accepted and are offensive to the churches that we are working with.
- Light weight skirts and tops or dresses (to the knees or below).
- Split skirts & shorts to the knees or below may be worn at the base, but are not acceptable to minister in.
- No tank tops or spaghetti straps. Any make-up used or jewelry worn should be very moderate.
- Pants on women are generally not accepted in ministry activities.
- Comfortable, flat walking shoes or sandals are suggested.
- Casual dress while at the base: T-shirts, shorts, light weight pants, and jeans.
- Ministry Attire: Collered shirts and pants. Shorts are not acceptable during any ministry activities.
- Comfortable walking shoes or sandals are suggested.
Other useful items to bring
- Plastic, re-usable water bottle
- Personal care items (toothbrush, soap, etc.)
- Medications (any that you are taking), analgesics (acetaminophen, ibuprofen), Dramamine.
- Anti-diarrhea meds
- Pepto Bismol tablets (enough for 2 tablets a day for short-term trips)
- Bathing suit (modest one piece for women)
- Flip-flops or sandals
- Insect repellent
- Light-weight jacket or sweater for cool nights in the mountains
- Umbrella or rain jacket during the rainy season (July - October)
- Camera and film
- Personal food snacks that you particularly want
- Bible and notebook
- Ziploc bags to protect items from water, humidity, rain, and ants.
- Mesh laundry bag
Items to Assist the Ministry
We invite you to prayerfully consider partnering with us to impact the lives of all the people of Oaxaca. Most of these items are either not readily available here or much more expensive. Please, sow a seed into the Kingdom of God.
Note: Please advise the Roca Blanca Mission Base staff, at least 45 days prior to arrival, of items that you may be bringing for the ministry such as Bibles or medicines. These items may need previous clearance with customs.
- Spanish New Testaments or Bibles (NIV preferably)
- Spanish evangelistic tracts.
- Towel sets (bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth)
- New clothing for children, teens, and adults
- Prizes for children's and youth ministry
- Markers, pens, pencils
- Small note pads
- Small toys (ie. non-breakables or stuffed animals)
- Adult multi-vitamins
- Children's chewable vitamins with iron
- Iron supplements for adults
- Prenatal vitamins
- B-complex vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Electric keyboards
- Guitars (acoustic and electric) and guitar strings
- Sound system components (Mics, cords, minisystems, etc.)
- Other instruments (bass guitar, percussion accessories, sax, trumpet, flute, violin, etc.)
Note: Only one instrument per person is allowed at customs.
No smoking, drinking or drugs. Short-term groups will be expected to submit to the authority of your group leader, the designated base leader, and the pastors of the churches where we minister. Please note that violation of the rules may mean being sent home early at your own expense. The Roca Blanca code of conduct will be reviewed when you arrive.
Food & Water
Purified drinking water will be available at the Roca Blanca Base. Pure drinking water can be obtained in any store and at ministry sites, and each person will be responsible to carry his or her own personal water bottle. While at the base and in the mountains, meals will be provided by the base.
Where toilets are available, toilet paper may not be flushed. Rather, it is deposited in a basket beside the toilet.
If you bring any electrical items, voltage in Mexico is the same. However you may need an adapter plug with prongs that are equal in size for any plug that has one prong larger than the other.
When taking pictures in church services or during times of ministry, please be discrete and sensitive so as not to interrupt the flow of the Spirit, or disturb the speaker. When taking pictures of individuals, it is always polite to ask their permission first. There are some government areas where photos are prohibited.
Young children will need to have constant supervision. We consider this to be the parent's responsibility or the person whom they have appointed. Please take into consideration any special food needs that your children may have because they may not be available here.
Telephone and Internet
Your present cell phone provider may offer an inexpensive Mexico plan. Check with them to see if your phone will function here. Our cell phone signal comes from three sources: Telcel, Movistar, and Unefon. Your provider may have an agreement with one of these for coverage in our area.
We have a secure Internet Wifi on the mission base. Ask for the password when you arrive. The Internet won't be as fast as you're accustomed to, but it generally works well.
There are some natural dangers at the base that you need to be aware of such as scorpions, snakes, coconuts falling from the trees, and ocean tides. There are also occasional dangers in the area from thieves or persecution from the unbelievers. If you are aware of them and act wisely, you should have no problems. Particulars will be covered in your first day orientation.
The Roca Blanca Missions Base is located in the safest and most secure area of Mexico, well and easily patrolled, virtually free from the drug and other violence issues that are plaguing the border towns and Mexico's large cities.
You’re not within a thousand miles of a border town or hundreds of miles from a city with a warning. You can trust our record of many years of safety for visitors and students. With the same common sense precautions that you would take traveling anywhere, our coastal area is still the safe place to visit that it has been for many decades, safer than visiting many US cities. Specific guidelines and instructions will be given when you arrive.
Roca Blanca Base
Apartado # 78
Puerto Escondido, 71980
Roca Blanca Telephone: 011-52-954-101-4312. A ‘1’ may be necessary after the country code “52”.
Roca Blanca e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact us if you have any concerns or questions not covered here! Our desire is that your time with us be of great blessing, to you and through you!