Here is a basic idea of what a daily itinerary will look like. We are able to change this itinerary based on the needs and desires of each team.
Day 1 Traveling to Ukraine
Day 2 Rest and tour of Kharkov
Days 3-9 (One of these days in the middle will be a fun day touring a “real” orthodox monestary village.)
6:00-7:00 Shower /Dress /Clean up
9:00-9:40 Games/set up VBS
9:40-10:00 Worship (songs)
11:40-12:40 Play time/Clean up
12:40-1:00 Pack up/goodbyes/goodbye prayer
2:00-4:00 Rest or travel to next ministry destination
4:00 – 6:30 Ministry at various locations
6:30-7:30 Eat dinner
7:30-8:30 Travel back to Kharkov
8:30 – Rest
Day 10 Travel to Vienna, Austria, and sitesee for the day
Day 11 Travel to America
No. Always take your shoes off when entering someone’s home. If you’re working at an orphanage inside, be prepared to take off your shoes inside the building. Even the children at the orphanage were taught to take their shoes off before walking on the carpet. Furthermore, bring good walking shoes.
If we visit traditional Baptist churches, yes. Otherwise, no. I would recommend you bring one to be safe.
It is an absolute impossibility to tell you what we will do in the evenings until perhaps a few weeks before the trip, and then we are stretching it a bit. This is one of the biggest cultural differences between our two countries. We like to plan our agendas, but Ukrainians usually plan very little ahead of time. They are also not very precise in budgeting. Remember the first missionary rule – be flexible. It always works out in the end.
Hospital Visit (1)
If we visit a hospital, you will be handing out medicine, Bibles, and other Christian literature. The purpose is to engage them, bless them, and witness to them in Jesus’ name. Be prepared to ask them if they know Jesus, and be willing to ask them to receive Jesus as Savior as you pray for them. The orphans cannot go with us on any of our excursions – to the hospital or otherwise. Perhaps the older orphans can go to the youth group of the large central church in Kharkov. Why so strict? Many of the kids attempt to run away and go back on the streets where it is more dangerous for them.
You will eat breakfast in your apartment every morning as a team. A cook will come every morning to provide you with a fresh meal. If the team works with orphans, you will eat lunch with the children in the cafeteria everyday. And dinner will be served at a café or resturant every evening.
Yes, men in one room and women in the other room. Make sure you remember to bring ear plugs.
Yes, one shower and one bathroom for each location. Scheduling of times for people to take showers is imperative. We encourage half of the team to take showers in the evening and half in the morning.
The government controls the hot water, so the financial ability of the government will determine if your showers are hot or cold. In recent times, there has always been hot water, but there are no guarantees.
Few American appliances will work without an adapter. I would recommend that everyone bring normal handheld shavers and not electrical ones, if possible. There will be a blow dryer and curling iron there for the women in the SCM missionary apartment. We can purchase additional items, if necessary.
If missionaries stay in the SCM missionary apartment, there is a washer available, with a clothes line for drying. No other locations have a washer or dryer. Kharkov does have one professional cleaners, if necessary. The cost to use this service is the same or higher than in America. Please plan to wear your clothes multiple days in a row. This is very common for the culture.
Each team will sleep in one of four locations: SCM’s missionary apartment, New Life Church’s missionary apartment, a Ukrianian’s home, or a local Ukrainian hotel. If the teams are 16 people or less, then in all likelihood they will stay in the missionary apartments. Final locations will be determined and told to the team after the final team numbers have been determined.
It is not recommended that you drink the tap water. SCM will be providing the team with bottled water, juice, and soft drinks to drink during the week. It is absolutely fine to brush your teeth with the tap water.
There are no required medical shots to enter Ukraine. However, SCM highly recommends that every individual get updated tetnus and hepatitus A & B shots.
The toilets in Ukraine don’t always look like they do in the US. When a member of SCM says, “it is best to go now,” trust them. Often the public toilets do not have toilet paper, so make sure you always keep a small amount on your body.
Bring your own toilet paper to be safe.
Even when there’s hot water in public restrooms there may not be any soap. Carrying a small bottle of purell would be very beneficial for you. They also make good gifts for SCM employees.
Please bring your choice of feminine hygiene products. The product choices are limited in Ukraine.
Pack stomach/laxative/diarrhea medication , just in case.
Each team will be provided with large amount of bottled water and other refreshments. Boiled water is safe to drink if visiting a local café or person’s home. It is also safe to brush your teeth, bathe, and wash with normal tap water, just don’t drink normal tap water.
The coffee is likely to be instant. Hot tea is more common. Bringing bags of a favorite tea to share would be a good thing.
QUANTITY OF FOOD
If a Ukrainian person is preparing food for you, there may be an abundance of food. They’re sacrificing to make sure you have plenty to eat. So please eat the food they present to you. Don’t complain because it looks different than how you’d prepare it at home. Save all your comments about the food unless it’s 100% positive.
TYPES OF FOOD
The food may be prepared differently, and may look different, than what you’re accustomed to in the US. However, there is nothing unusual or exotic in their food preparation. Ukrainians eat meats such as pork, chicken, and beef. Vegetables include cucumbers, cabbage, beets, onions, garlic. Starch foods include potatoes, rice, bread. Fruits are tomatoes, grapes, apples, pears, and bananas.
Peanut butter and popcorn are in short supply. If you require these items, please bring your own. Peanut butter is also a good gift to give Ukrainians. If you’re accustomed to eating/snacking throughout the day, consider bringing energy or granola bars to supplement your meals.
PHOTOS FROM HOME
Bring pictures. They’d like to see pictures of your family; your church; your house;your car; where you work; etc. Think about bringing pictures that give an idea of what your every day life in America looks like.
We can purchase children’s Bibles in Ukraine for approximately $5 per Bible, and get regular New Testaments for approximately $3 or less. My recommendation is if you want to purchase Bibles, allow us to do this on your behalf. This will need to be an additional cost above and beyond the cost of the trip.
Hryvnas. You can exchange money anywhere in Ukraine without any problem. However to exchange dollars into hryvnas, please bring unmarked, unfaded, and unripped US money. You can order money for your trip in advance. You may ask for new money, but usually the bank will not be able to fulfill this request. If they are unable to provide you with new bills, then the bank should work with you to provide you with the best bills available. Do not bring any bill with a blemish, it will not be accepted by the local exchange booths. The exchange rate between Ukraine Hryvna and the US dollar hovers around 5 to 1.
Please do not bring traveler’s checks. They may be allowed by banks (in theory), but you will most likely never be allowed to cash them inside the country. You will be able to withdrawl money with your debit cards, but make sure that you contact your financial institution before you travel to release any security hold on your account before travelling. And once again, you still may need to contact your bank once inside Ukraine because of automated security enhancements.
The best way is to engage in money transactions is with United States dollars. I would encourage everyone to bring new bills of any amount. If new bills are unavailbe, the unfaded, unmarked, untorn bills are necessary. You will be able to exchange your money inside Ukraine without difficulty.
Each person may bring up to $10,000. ALL OF YOUR MONEY MUST be reported on the customs forms. If an individual purposefully or negligently forgets to write any or all of that sum, the Ukrainian government has the right to take all of the money from your possession and claim it for themselves. The same is true for anyone bringing in more than the allowed maximum.
It is SCM’s policy to warn every missionary to report all their money, and that they should not bring in more than the maximum of $10,000 per person. If the individual fails to report the any or all of the amount on the customs form, or brings in more than the maximum amount allowed by law, it is at the sole risk of the individual or team, and SCM will not be responsible for any adverse outcome.
Within Christian circles (church events) usually shorts are not appropriate for women or men. However, you will see many non-Christians wearing much worse. In the orphanage, at a picnic, or any other outing outside of church events, shorts for women and men are appropriate. I would recommend a summer dress down to the knee for women, and slacks and a nice short-sleeve shirt for the men. Tie and sportcoat are not necessary inside of church. Again, sandals should be alright at the orphanage and around town, but not when we visit the churches.
Overall, do not wear your best, high fashion clothes (remember these are poor people). At the same time, don’t wear old worn out clothes either. Just wear something appropiate, like jeans, slacks, knit pull over shirts for men. Summer dresses or light weight long pants for women. I would bring a light sweater or jacket in case it gets cool in the evening.
Yes, orphans are in desperate need of shoes and clothes. My recommendation is that you collect as many pieces of new clothes and shoes as possible, and new or lightly used jeans, and send them three months in advance to Ukraine using Meest-America transportation company. Ron Putnam will provide you with information upon your request.
Throughout the year, SCM works weekly within the orphanage you will minister while in Ukraine.”
As much as humanly possible they will try to do so.
Probably not with the orphans, but with one of the churches we will visit, yes.
DVD is available, but most people and businesses are still behind the United States in their technology. It is best to bring multimedia in VCR format, but if you have the capability of bring both, that is best.
Yes, limited preapproved outings may occur at the discretion of the orphanage. But they are very limited.
Each orphanage will have between 40-80 children at any given time. Come expecting to minister to 80 children at each orphanage.
There are children of all ages at the two orphanages where we work, but I have never seen any children under the age of three at the orphanages. Last June, there were 57 kids with ages that ranged like this:
* 3-7 years old – 14 girls (1st group)
* 7-12 years old – 15 boys (2nd group)
* 12-18 years old – 15 boys (3rd group)
* 8-16 years old – 13 girls (mixed group)
When the missionaries came in 2005, the numbers increased to 80 kids almost overnight.
Yes, SCM needs a copy of your information on the first page of your passport (where your photograph is located), and the last page, to determine if there were any amendments made to your passport. This needs to be in the SCM office as soon as possible.
A valid passport is necessary for entering this country. If you do not have a passport, go to your local post office. They can either process the passport on your behalf, or refer you to a different postal branch. Expect to pay somewhere between $80-$160 for your passport. They will only accept checks, not credit cards, and it will take between two to six weeks to process your passport.
If you have a passport, make sure that it does not expire six months before the “end” of your trip. For example, if you are planning on leaving America on June 20, 2006 and returning to America on July 1, 2006, your passport needs to be valid until January 1, 2007. If your passport expires prior to January 1, 2007, Ukraine will not be allowed inside the country. Thus, you need to apply for a new passport before you depart on your trip to Ukraine.
If space permits, either a translator or the cook will be in the apartment with you. At the very least one translator will be assigned to each apartment in case of an emergency. You will be able to call this person anytime with the phone that we will provide for you.
You may use your own personal translator, but this cost is above the trip cost, since our costs are already set in advance. The translator will also need to pay for his or her room and board too.
The ratio will be no more than 1 to 4, but if possible that number will be lowered to at least 1 to 3.
Yes, please provide me this information on your application.
When you get to the airport, there is a blue and white form for you to complete. It will be in Russian. You will most likely need to ask someone for an English form. If an English form is unavailable, ask one of the passangers if they can translate for you – then share with the rest of the team.
When completing the form, just list the big items, such as the amount of money and any big items. For everything else, bulk them together as “personal work related items, like shoes and clothes.” Then place a used price for these items. It is an arbitrary number you will need to come up with. Always be honest with the agents if they ask you questions.
Keep $500 in your pocket for customs tax, just in case. We will figure out what to do about the money later. But you need to do two things:
1. Don’t tell them you are bringing in gifts. Then you will have to pay, for sure.
2. Take all new things out of their original packaging. Do not wrap any gift in advance. They will be opened by customs. Make everything look like it is yours as much as possible.
Each person can bring one carry-on bag and two suitcases. The suitcases must be no more than 50 pounds.
Tag each one of your bags all the way to Kharkov, Ukraine. Please take TWO DAYS of clothes and all of your hygene items, medicines, etc. as carry-on items. Keep all of your money on your own body, preferably in a money belt.
In Kiev, Ukraine.
The airlines will pay and take care of any missed connections. In Vienna, go to the Austrian Airlines customer service representative (they should all speak English), should be able to book you on a new flight for the following day. Also ask for a free hotel room at the NH Vienna Airport Hotel. They will provide you with a hotel and food voucher, since this hotel contracts with the airline. The hotel is 50 yards just outside the airport front door. This is the same hotel you will stay at during your return trip to America.
If you miss your connection, don’t worry, you will not lose too much time. Use your time in Vienna as your rest day, and when you get off the plane the following day, we will feed you and tour the city. All will be fine.
If you think you can make your next flight, but there is a long line to go through security, be bold and go to the representative at security control and show them that your plane is leaving in minutes! Don’t be shy and wait in line or you will miss the plane! Remember if your plane is late, the airlines will pay for your hotel and food while you stay in the country.
Travel Insurance (2)
Coverage becomes effective after several conditions:
1. The reception of an accurate application;
2. Correct payment amount of the premium;
3. The moment a person departs from his or her home country.
4. Coverage will end at 12:01am US Eastern Standard Time on the last day of the period for which you have paid a premium, or upon the person’s arrival to their home destination.
It is SCM’s responsibility to purchase insurance for each team member. The benefits and legalities of the insurance will be emailed to the team leader before departure to distribute to each person by email, mail, or hand delivery.
No matter how much we plan for safety, international travel always involves some element of risk. You may arrive at your destination to find that a member of your group’s luggage with personal items has disappeared. A personal emergency may necessitate early return home for a member of your group. A medical emergency may require hospitalization or even air evacuation. In most cases, your existing insurance will not provide adequate protection for these and other risks. Without appropriate travel insurance, members of your group may be exposed to significant financial liability.
SCM’s insurance agency is Insurance Services of America. They use MultiNational Underwriters, Inc. as their underwriters for your insurance. By having this insurance it will greatly reduce the risk out of international travel, so your group can have an enjoyable and productive trip. Insurance Services of America telephone number is (800) 647-4589.
Trip Costs (2)
If possible, attempt to collect supplies from people within your local church or network of friends. Many people enjoy giving supplies in this way. If you are unable to collect the needed supplies, but you are over-funded for your trip, then purchase the supplies from your extra funds that you have raised. If you are not overfunded, then supply receipts to SCM, and SCM will reimburse your costs up to 50% of the allocated amount, leaving the other 50% for trip costs.
All deposits for the mission trip need to written to Slavic Christian Ministries and mailed to:
Slavic Christian Ministries
4218 SW 55th Cir
Ocala, FL 34474
Place on the memo line “ Ukraine ST – Your Last Name /Your Church Name”. If a payment is coming on the entire team’s behalf, then place on the memo line “ Ukraine ST – Church Name.”
The trip costs have been broken up into two sections:
1. Initial deposit amount of $375 needs to be given to SCM at the time the application is submitted.
2. The final deposit is made 30 days before the trip departure.
Every person is expected to raise their own support by sending out between 75-100 support letters. See if your church will act as the non-profit organization collecting the money. This is the best option for teams coming from churches. If the churches choose not to collect money for the team, then the team leader needs to make arrangements for SCM to be the non-profit. All of SCM’s donations are tax-deductible for the donor.
Trip Preparation (11)
Yes, we can print pictures from a digital camera, but not from regular film cameras. We need two days to complete this printing, to be safe. We also strongly encourage teams to bring polaroid cameras so they can share pictures with the Ukrainians immediately. It is better to buy too much film than not enough with polaroid camera’s. SCM only uses digital cameras.
Individuals in the church would like some sort of memento from your state of origin. The church itself, would appreciate financial donations to purchase equipment, etc. All funds for churches will be given at the end of each trip by the team or by SCM on behalf of the team.
Go ahead and bring these with you on the airplane. If any customs officer asks you what they are for, express that they are “personal items” that you are using to bless orphans. Emphasize that they are YOUR items, or you will need to pay customs. Never use the word “gift.” You are allowed 2 pieces of luggage at 70 pounds each. Please weigh your luggage before the date of travel. If you are over the allowed weight, you will be charged for the extra weight.
Send SCM the songs by email. There is the likelihood that they are already in Russian. If no, we will have them translated and prepared in advance. Expect to use transparencies or handouts in most locations.
Yes, we want everyone to be prepared to give their testimony, to sing, and to prepare one or two dramas. Below is a basic format of how you should give your testimony.
1. Name & brief informational background (live in Colorado, work at ____) [20 seconds]
2. Explain when you became a Christian and what the Lord did to orchestrate your salvation [3-4minutes]
3. Explain the blessings you have received since becoming a Christian (from God, Church, etc.) [1-2 minutes]
4. Briefly explain your hope in Christ for the future – Generally speaking (I love Jesus so much, I cannot wait to see what wonderful things he will do in my life in the future.) [1 minute]
For maximum impact and church time restraints, testimonies should be between 5-6 minutes.
I prefer you bring a polaroid and lots of film so you can immediately hand them out to people. But, I would bring a digital camera too.
Yes, I would recommend that you purchase some Euros dollars before you leave the US. You can use Euros in Ukraine, the airports or a stop over in another country on your way back home after the mission trip.
Please send your application and deposit of $375 per person to the following address:
Slavic Christian Ministries
4218 SW 55th Cir
Ocala, FL 34474
You can never have too many planning meetings.
Yes, I would highly advise that you find prayer partners. If the enemy can mix things up he will try. You will be able to communicate with your prayer people by email from Ukraine. Some recommendations of prayer include your flights, luggage, itinerary, vehicles, sickness, team harmony, and ministry fruit.
SCM is the trip organizer and administrator. SCM is responsible for organizing and preparing a sound trip experience once the team departs the plane in Ukraine. While the church short-term trip team leaders are in charge of the team, SCM is in charge of organizing all the logistics for the trip while inside Ukraine. After the team completes their scheduled trip and departs Ukraine, SCM relinquishes herself from all responsibilty and liability once the plane departs the terminal.
It is the short-term missionary team’s responsibility to plan, organize, and teach all curriculum, sermons, music, drama, games, and sporting events associated with the mission trip.
Ukrainian Visa (3)
There are three Ukrainian consulates in America. You do not need a visa if you are visiting Ukraine for 89 days or less. If you are planning on visiting Ukraine for more than 90 days, please contact one of the consulates listed below. However, the San Francisco office is the office for all people living in Colorado, California, and Washington state.
Consulate General of Ukraine in New York
240 East 49th Street New York, NY 10017
The Consulate General of Ukraine in San Francisco
530 Bush Street, suite 402, San Francisco, CA 94108
Tel: (415) 398-0240
Fax: (415) 398-5039
Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago
10 East Huron St., Chicago, IL, 60611
Tel: 312-642 4388
Fax: 312-642 4385
Discuss the matter with Ron Putnam of SCM and he will help resolve this question for you.
If you are staying 90 days or less, you do not need a visa to enter Ukraine.