FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

• What is the purpose of a Loving Arms Team trip?

Our goal is to minister to those in need while acknowledging and respecting their culture and customs. Loving Arms’ vision is to provide hope and assistance in transforming the lives of families and children in small towns and villages in Guatemala, by providing activities and programs to families to educate, nourish their bodies and souls, build relationships and help them to help themselves.  These activities and programs include providing education, medicine and proper nourishment.

 

• What experience does Loving Arms have with mission trips?

Loving Arms has been taking teams to Guatemala since 2007. All of the team leaders are well versed in Loving Arms’ protocols and procedures have experience leading trips abroad with Loving Arms and other organizations and have excellent leadership skills.

 

• Where does Loving Arms work?

Currently we are working in several villages in the Parramos region of Guatemala. This area is about 1 hour from Guatemala City and within 20-40 minutes of Antigua and Chimaltenango.

 

• What kind of activities and projects are available?

Team members are encouraged to participate in helping with our projects while in Guatemala. Please see the link to our Information Package from the menu choice “What We Do” on the website.  Also many members of our groups help with Community outreach by serving in soup kitchens, distributing clothes, helping in dental/medical clinics, assisting teachers, and playing games or doing crafts with children and women.

 

• How can I sign up to get on a mission trip?

Use the “Contact Us ” link to send an email (info@lovingarms.ca) about your interest to receive additional information shortly thereafter. OR Download an application from the “How to help” section and mail it in 228 Chartwell Rd., Oakville, ON L6J 3Z8).

 

• Who will make my travel arrangements?

It is highly recommended that each traveler attend a Travel Clinic at least six weeks before travel time to receive up-to-date information about the area to which you are traveling. If you cannot attend a travel clinic, please at least consult your family physician.

 

• Do I need immunization?

It is highly recommended that each traveler attend a Travel Clinic at least six weeks before travel time to receive up-to-date information about the area to which you are traveling. If you cannot attend a travel clinic, please at least consult your family physician.

 

• Do I need a passport and/or a visa?

A passport, valid to at least six month beyond your return date, is required for Canadian citizens. A visa for Canadian citizens is not required for stays under 90 days. For citizens of other countries, the website for Embassy of Guatemala may have the information required.

 

• Is it safe to be in Guatemala?

Loving Arms works in small villages and are there at the request of the local government and authorities. We work within a ‘buddy’ system, so that each team member must be with another team member at all times, and remain with the group on the worksites unless the team coordinator gives permission or designate, to leave.  Loving Arms also provides cell phones so that there is constant communication between groups. Cells phones are also provided for groups to stay in contact. Outings after dark are discouraged and a curfew is in place. Members are instructed not to participate in conversations that are in any way political (Loving Arms Code of Conduct)
The Government of Canada suggests that Canadians should exercise a high degree of caution in Guatemala, as incidents of violence, roadblocks, strikes, and demonstrations occur periodically throughout the country. Canadians should remain vigilant, stay alert to new developments through local media reports, and amend     their travel arrangements accordingly. They should also follow the advice of local authorities and avoid all demonstrations.

 

• What is the estimated donation and what does it cover?

Loving Arms estimates the total trip cost based on the number of members, duration of stay in Guatemala and time of the year. Included in the total cost is accommodation, food, airport transportation, project work, t-shirt and miscellaneous items like translators, phones, honorariums/ operations for Guatemalan workers during team trips, gratuities etc. Loving Arms then calculates the amount of each member’s donation. For example a team of 10 people staying for 8 days would require a donation of approximately $1900.00 to $2400.00 per person. Please note: A minimum of 6 people is needed for a team (or a donation equal to 6 members).

 

• How can I fund my donation?

Individuals can donate the whole amount themselves and receive a tax receipt for such. Some teams do fundraising events to off- set the donation. Some individuals solicit funds from friends, family or corporations. Anyone who contributes $20.00 or more to Loving Arms on behalf of a team member will receive a tax-receipt. A non-refundable deposit of $250.00 must accompany your application. A donation schedule is then determined for each team.

 

• How can friends and family help sponsor my trip?

Friends and family can donate directly to your trip (for a tax-receipt) or help with fundraising     events. On-line donations (through the Canada Helps button) can be applied to your trip. The member must provide, to their coordinator, he donor’s name, contact information and that amount for tracking purposes.

 

• What costs are not covered?

Any personal spending money, hotels or meals outside the team trip is not included.

 

• What additional funds might we need to support our mission projects?

Loving Arms has many ongoing projects in Guatemala, all of which are sponsored by the generosity of people such as yourself or partners to Loving Arms. The primary focus of the donation monies is the development of our property. If a team decides to participate in the projects like build-a-home, adopt-a-home or adopt-a-classroom etc. then additional fundraising may be necessary to raise the funds.

 

• What are accommodations like?

Loving Arms offers a variety of types of accommodations including a house in Parramos or hotel or hostel in Antigua. The Team Coordinator will discuss the options with the team prior to booking the trip. All accommodations coordinated would be clean and well maintained.

 

• What about food and drinking water?

Safe drinking water is available. Provision of all meals is arranged by Loving Arms except any special meals (see question #12)) that the team decides to partake in. The cost of those meals would be at the member’s own expense. Please make sure you indicate any dietary restrictions on your application.

 

• If I sponsor a child, can I meet with him or her on my trip?

Yes, Loving Arms not only encourages but also highly recommends this to help build stronger relationships. Loving Arms will make the meeting arrangements.

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