Christian Missions Unlimited (CMU) is a nonprofit organization. Since the 1970’s, our main mission has been building churches in Brazil with volunteer teams. CMU raises money for the materials and gives the gift of a simple church building to established congregations that have been planted by the Brazilian Baptist Convention or churches within the convention.
$2,700 is a ballpark figure. The total cost is calculated on a base fare of $1100, plus the exact cost of the airline ticket. The base fare covers most meals and all lodging expenses, insurance, and any incidental expenses related to transportation, etc. A non-refundable deposit of $1100 is required at the time you commit to the trip or five months prior to your departure date. The balance is due 30 days prior to your departure date. If your team purchases the airline tickets, a deposit of $1100 is due two months prior to your departure date.
Most trips are a total of nine days, departing on a Saturday and returning the following Sunday. This changes from time to time.
CMU will have two translators on site to assist our team members. We will also provide you with some basic words to learn so you can communicate a little with the people you meet. The Brazilians love to interact and will try to communicate with you, so learn a little. It will go a long way!
We will eat breakfast at our hotel. Typically, breakfast is buffet style with a lot of wonderful fruit, pastries, cereal, eggs, and some other traditional Brazilian breakfast foods like tapioca. Each team member will bring a list of food items, and those will be used to prepare sandwiches (PJB, tuna, chicken, etc.) for lunch. Dinner is usually beef, chicken, and occasionally fish, with rice and beans.
Our teams stay in hotels. The quality changes a bit depending on the town we are in. Most are simple but have a bed, air conditioning, and a small refrigerator. The nicer hotels are in larger cities, and the more simple accommodations are in small towns in the interior.
Regardless of your skills, there are plenty of things you can do! You can probably lay brick even if you don’t think so! We have construction leaders and veteran volunteers to assist you. If that is not a good fit, you can sweep, help with lunch preparation, work with children, clean up, carry brick and other materials, etc. Don’t let your lack of construction skills keep you from going. There are purposeful things you can do!
Why do we travel on a tourist visa and not a missionary visa?
Travel visas are documents indicating a person has been authorized to enter a country, and often come in the form of a sticker or stamp attached to a passport. Why we travel on a tourist visa rather than a missionary visa is a cultural question. In Brazil, missionaries are considered those who have gone to seminary and have a mission on the ground that they work on each week. Obviously, our team members do not work full time as a missionary. While there is mission work on the ground, in Brazilian culture, you are not considered a missionary. It's totally ethical. And, if the government stops you and asks what you are, you must say tourist. This is not lying because in their terms, that's what we are.
This a great question and one we hear often. Sure, we could just send the money and actually build more churches and other things. But “going,” which is what we are called to do – is life changing for those of us who go, for the people we serve, and for the people we work with. It is personal when we go ourselves and there is no substitute for being there. It is something we have to look at through a “long term” lens. The relationships formed and vision that is created when we go not only propels missions where we are serving, but exposes us to possibilities at home as well as other places. Many of our full time missionaries were first introduced to missions through short-term trips. This is just one of the many ripple effects of actually being there yourself. There is purpose in your presence and the benefit is priceless.
You may. The only requirement by CMU is that your tetanus vaccine be up to date (within last 8-10 years). However, we suggest that you visit the CDC website for recommended immunizations for the area you will be traveling in. Typically, the CDC will have a list ranging from Hepatitis to Typhoid to Yellow Fever. They can be expensive, so we recommend that you discuss the CDC recommendations with your family physician and follow his/her recommendation.
Yes! People do this from time to time. However, such plans must be discussed with your team leader and the CMU leader on the front end. Communication will be important as you will be responsible for purchasing tickets that will coincide with the team’s travel plans.
Domestic medical insurance does not cover any medical needs outside the USA. Therefore, the USA passport encourages every traveler to get international medical insurance while you are outside of the country. The coverage that CMU provides for you has these basic benefits:
- $1,000,000 Medical Maximum Benefit
- Zero deductible
- Six months continuation of coverage in the USA as secondary coverage for any illness or injury that began to be treated while on the trip, with a receipt of the treatment received.
- Medical evacuation if needed
- Dental of sound teeth
- Return of mortal remains
- Emergency room services'
- Hospital stays
CMU will exchange money for the team within our first two days of arrival. In some cases, there is an exchange site at the airport. Rates are typically not as good at the airport, but if you aren’t exchanging much money, it may be more convenient for you to take care of it while there.
Yes! CMU always takes one day, usually Friday and some cases part of Saturday, to take in the local sights. Obviously this can change depending on where we are working. Sights can range from the Cultural Center in capitol cities to the beautiful beaches of the Northeast. We will try to take the team to a place you can purchase souvenirs and do some shopping whenever possible.
You may want to research the following: Brazil History – Government – Rainforest – Beaches of Northeast – Economy – Industry – Famous People