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Trip Resources

This page contains all the deadlines and training resources you need to prepare for your trip. If you haven’t already, make sure to pay your deposit, as trip space is limited. Your team leader has access to our new module training videos, full of helpful information to equip you to serve; so, you will gather with your team to watch and discuss those together.

Click a module below to quickly get to it.

MODULE 1 | MODULE 2 | MODULE 3 | MODULE 4 | MODULE 5 | MODULE 6 | MODULE 7 | FAQ

MODULE ONE VIDEO RESOURCES

Module 1: Basic Training

First and foremost, FLEXIBILITY. We operate in dynamic mission fields and unexpected changes can occur.

About The CUPS Mission

Our mission is to rescue a child, transform a family, and do it again tomorrow. In areas plagued by poverty and joblessness, vulnerable children are enticed into human trafficking and exploitation with promises of financial security and a brighter future. CUPS Mission intervenes by providing discipleship, education, and empowerment. We foster spiritual growth through Bible studies, basketball programs, and personal relationships built on accountability. We support children in accessing education, offering English programs and first aid training. We equip our communities by teaching culinary, baking, sewing, and alterations skills, enabling them to launch micro-businesses from their homes.

Exit Your Comfort Zone (Training Drill)

First, we want you to be an active participant in your preparation for your trip. In this spirit, we have a few suggestions for you: go to a church that is not yours (a different denomination) and practice being around Christians who are outside of your usual circle, talk to a few strangers (practice getting comfortable starting conversations), and try to learn some basic Spanish vocabulary & grammar (use Duolingo, Ella Verbs app, etc.). These are just suggestions, but past trip participants have told us that they wished they had done these things before they left. In addition, we strongly suggest reading:

Book Recommendations

MODULE TWO VIDEO RESOURCES

Module 2: Pre-Deployment

Passports

If you don’t have one, apply for a passport with the State Department promptly. We’ve experienced instances where participants couldn’t join us due to expired or delayed passports. Make two copies upon receiving your passport: one for travel (keep it separate) and the other for your emergency contact.

Pre-Deployment Checklist

Before booking your flight, contact a CUPS Team member. You will fly into POP (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic) unless the cost is prohibitive. (If you fly American, use this code in the “Business Extra/On Business” box: 967618 to support CUPS Mission with matching points.)

Submit a photo of your passport and flight itinerary, fill out and sign our liability waiver and take our pre-trip survey.

File Upload

*REQUIRED
Name Your Files Accordingly:

[YOUR-NAME] – [FILE NAME]

Waiver

*REQUIRED

Survey

*REQUIRED

Trip Cost

Your deposit of $300 secures your spot. Signing up online doesn’t guarantee a reservation (trip availability is limited and prioritized for those with confirmed deposits). You’ll receive a confirmation email upon deposit. The second payment is due 90 days before your trip, and the third payment is due 60 days before your trip, with a $25 late fee per person for missed deadlines.

Trip cost includes OTG (on-the-ground) transportation (fuel, driver, & gratuities), interpreters (as needed), OTG meals, water, ministry supplies (for Painting/Construction), and lodging (specific hotel/lodge not guaranteed).

Trip cost does NOT include airfare (coordinate your own to arrive in POP—airfare costs vary as teams come from all over the country, making predictions impossible; lodging for departure from/return to the US is not included). Also unincluded, is the checked donation supply suitcase (~$40). For snorkeling, bring $35 (group discount possible). Bring small denominations ($1 & $5 for bargaining; USD is widely accepted) for souvenirs and consider an emergency credit card. Cash for tipping drivers/translators is optional.

Fundraising

There are endless ways to fundraise. Write letters to people who may be interested in partnering with you. Host a car wash with others who are also fundraising. Sell baked goods or frozen meals. Offer childcare or babysitting services. Host a silent auction with donated items from friends, family, or local businesses. Offer lawn care or maintenance services. More ideas can be found online, and feel free to contact our stateside office if you have questions.

MODULE THREE VIDEO RESOURCES

Module 3: Packing

Checked Bag Donations

To help meet the needs of our mission, it’s crucial to collect the specific items on the list and pack them in an old suitcase that you can leave as a donation. If you or someone you know doesn’t have an old suitcase to donate, consider purchasing one inexpensively from a thrift store. Please note that the list of supplies may change from year to year.

Personal Packing List

You will have a carry-on and a personal bag for your plane journey. If possible, try to fit everything into a backpack, which can serve as your personal bag. Check with your airline to ensure your carry-on will fit within the airline’s overhead storage size requirements as this bag will contain your personal items for the trip. Be mindful of liquids and toiletries in your carry-on; they should not exceed 3 oz. each to comply with TSA regulations. Start by packing what you think you need, and then take out half of it. You probably won’t use most of what you bring. On that note, we recommend avoiding bringing valuables or electronic devices. Cell phone service may not be available, but the lodge offers WiFi. You will receive a contact telephone number for emergencies. Consider bringing old or second-hand clothing for workdays. Keep in mind that trips typically last five days (not including travel days), and you might want to change T-shirts twice a day (due to sweat). We recommend bringing culturally appropriate shorts, jeans, flip-flops, a church outfit (if desired), a pair of old sneakers or shoes (closed-toed) to be worn during trips to the dump that can be discarded at the end of your trip, and a modest bathing suit (women bring a cover-up for traveling to and from the pool). Consider that you can donate the clothes you brought to other families or children in need at the end of the week.

MODULE FOUR VIDEO RESOURCES

Module 4: Activities

Here’s a glimpse of the activities you may engage in during your trip. Each day, you’ll typically have the opportunity to participate in two to three activities, allowing you to experience various villages. Please keep in mind that we may not be able to do all these activities and variations or additional activities may be included.

Bible Camp

Serve hundreds of kids through Bible camps, where you’ll dance, share your testimony, and pray while teaching Bible lessons.

Dump Service

Serve soup (with hot sauce & mayonnaise–Dominican Style!), bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, and water to people working in the city garbage dump. Remember the Greeting. If we only meet physical needs without reminding that it is done in His name, we have forgotten why we are there in the first place. Be mindful of your body language and facial expressions. Smiles & eye contact speak for us where language is a barrier. Please remove sunglasses. Wait to use hand sanitizer until we are back on the main road. Avoid touching your face. Absolutely no pictures.

Mountain Village Hike

Explore Alto de la Jagua through a physically demanding hike, with activities like an adult Bible study, kids’ mini Bible camp, worship, and a community meal.

Painting Houses

Help brighten up the communities by painting, as many families can’t afford to decorate their homes. Encourage homeowners to take ownership of their homes’ appearance.

Worship & Missionary Story

Gather for worship with your team and Dominican friends. Listen to the testimonies of one of our missionary families and learn how the Lord led them to serve with CUPS!

Village Movie Night

Enjoy a fun evening with kids and families in the villages. Worship together, dance, sing, and watch an outdoor movie.

House Visitation

Go door-to-door in various communities to connect with families, learn how to pray for them, and pray with them with the help of a translator. Share your testimony and offer a small gift of rice and oil. Hold on to these items until everyone is finished praying to not distract anyone. Focus on the homeowner and engage with them.

Snorkeling/Free Time

Enjoy some leisure time to relax by the beautiful Dominican beaches. Options include a snorkeling cruise (additional fee) or free time by the hotel pool.

Worship & Debrief

Reflect on the lessons learned during the week. Worship together, share your “snapshot” moments, and discuss your experiences serving the Lord.

MODULE FIVE VIDEO RESOURCES

Module 5: Testimony

Sharing your testimony is crucial, whether you’re traveling individually or with your church group. Revelation 12:11 emphasizes the power of testimonies in overcoming the enemy, stating, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimonies. For they loved not their lives even unto death.” Your story demonstrates Christ’s love and sacrifice, crushing the enemy’s work and expanding God’s kingdom.

We’ve created a 5-Point Testimony outline to help you share your story effectively:

5-Point Testimony outline

Final Requirement

The final requirement before the trip is a Zoom meeting with a stateside staff member. Reach out to us to schedule a time. For additional Q&A’s, visit the FAQ at the bottom of this page.

MODULE SIX VIDEO RESOURCES

Module 6: Arrival

Fill out (& optionally upload) the DR International Travel E-ticket.

When you land at POP, move together with your team through Dominican Customs to Baggage Claim to pick up the donation supplies. We have some friends who work at the airport, so sometimes we don’t have to send the bags through Exit Security. Next, find the white trucks to load the donated suitcases. Your bags will stay with you. When we leave the airport on the trucks, we will go over everyone’s name and then your CUPS Mission or group leader will go over some verbal instructions.

Need To Knows

  • Only use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth. The hotel offers many bottled water stations. Water will also be provided at all work locations. Some individuals bring a water bottle/container with them on the trip that they can refill. Drink lots of water; people get sick because they do not drink enough water!
  • When using the toilet, do not flush toilet paper, it goes in the trash bin–this is the rule for the whole island.
  • Regularly apply sunscreen, bug spray, and hand sanitizer.
  • Do not give out anything to anyone (who is not a team member) without asking the person in charge first.
  • Anytime a team member is giving instructions OTG (e.g. prayer walk) it is important to stop what you are doing and listen!

Final Preparation

  • Ensure you’re well-rested before departure for your peak performance on the ground.
  • Embrace local culture by valuing hospitality, engaging in meaningful interactions, and respecting customs.
  • Familiarize yourself with local history, customs, and prevalent issues, such as poverty, government corruption, human trafficking, and the history of racism among Haitians & Dominicans, to better grasp the trip’s context.
  • Approach interactions with locals confidently and warmly.
  • When visiting homes, expect invitations and offers of coffee.
  • Even if language barriers exist, convey love through your actions and body language.
  • Designate a team member to lead a prayer before home visits to ensure the best experience.
  • Approach the week with an open mind, a readiness to learn, and a willingness to challenge and reconsider any preconceived notions about poverty, the world, ministry, or nonprofits.
  • Acknowledge that you may encounter emotionally challenging situations. Allow yourself time to process these experiences and use the support of your team and scheduled reflection periods during the week.
  • Prioritize prayer for the people you’ll meet and interact with, seeking open hearts and receptive minds for the message you’ll share. Extend your prayers to include locals, team members, and yourself.
  • Consider post-trip actions to ensure sustained impact upon your return home.

 

MODULE SEVEN VIDEO RESOURCES

Module 7: Cancellation Policy

We desire to offer the experience of missions in a real 24-7 working mission environment. We aren’t “producing” a mission trip, per se. We are allowing groups & individuals to be a part of what God is already doing OTG with our missionaries. We desire that you will see what God is doing and what God is doing through CUPS. We pray God would show you how you can be a part of the mission when you return AND how you can be ON MISSION every day no matter where you are.

Cancellation fees apply post-reservation to optimize on-ground funds; because we have hundreds of people coming down each year, we are trying to maximize our Stateside team’s time so that more of the funds we use are going to the efforts on the ground, rather than Stateside administrative efforts. These policies will help us do that. Policies are universal unless specific rates are mentioned on the trips page. Consider travel insurance (can be purchased while making airfare arrangements).

What CANNOT be Refunded:

Failure to arrive on the trip day, unused week portions post-departure, airfare (traveler’s responsibility), and confirmed hotel/lodging extensions. Cancellations Made Within ≤15 days before departure are non-refundable. All trip deposits made at the time of booking ($300 per person) are completely non-refundable or transferable. 

What CAN be Refunded:

If the trip minimum of 12 travelers is not met. Any additional refunds based on extenuating circumstances will be discussed with the stateside office. All other refunds are minus the deposit: 15-20 days prior: 50%, 20-30 days prior: 75%, ≥30 days prior: 100%.

Please note that cancellation fees are calculated based on the date we receive your signed Cancellation Request Form and travel start date. All cancellations must be made directly with the Stateside CUPS office. In most cases, reservations paid online, by cash deposit, or by check will be refunded via check.

Please explain why you are requesting a cancellation. We will process your cancellation/refund request within one to three business days. We will not acknowledge any verbal/over-the-phone request, voicemail request, or email request. Verbally speaking with our stateside office without filling out a request form will not guarantee that your cancellation has been processed or acknowledged. If you have any questions, please contact our Director of Finance.

Transfer of Funds Policy

To transfer funds to another trip date, complete the Transfer Funds Form, specifying the reason. Extra deposits for absent team members are non-refundable and cannot be reallocated. Funds can be transferred once and expire one year from the original trip date. Transfer requests are processed in 1-3 business days. No verbal, voicemail, or email requests are acknowledged; form submission is required.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where will I be staying?

Do I need to get any shots or immunizations?

What supplies should I bring for the mission?

What should I pack for myself?

Is the water safe to drink?

Should I bring extra money?

Trip Cost Breakdown & Additional Costs

Fundraising Ideas

How do I share my testimony?

What is a character sketch and how do I prepare one?

What will we be doing?

What is your cancellation policy?