Frequently Asked Questions

About Connected Church

What is Connected Church?

Connected Church offers a simple, effective way for your church to give to, pray for and link up with, churches working to bring transformation to their local communities around the world. It's a great way to connect with poverty, to see lives transformed - and a chance to change your own local community powered by inspiration from your Partner overseas.

Watch this 90 second intro to find out more and download it from the vimeo website to show your church.

Connected Church provides a focus for your giving and prayer, a point of connection, an exciting venture for your church, and an opportunity to engage your local community with God's heart for people in poverty.

More on Connected Church

How does it work?

It's simple - you choose a Partner to link to from the selection on offer, and pledge your church's commitment to it.

We'll then keep you updated with all the latest news on your Partner's blog, a quarterly email digest to everyone at your church who signs up with what's been happening and what you can pray for. We'll also give you ideas for engaging your church and community, and offer you ways of connecting with your Partner, perhaps even by going and visiting.

More on how Connected Church works

What do we get?

When you sign up to become a Connected Church, you'll receive:

  • Quarterly emails with all the latest news and stories from your partner with resources to help you tell others in your church
  • A welcome email which will include a certificate and bookmarks to help you launch your link
  • A named contact in our churches team to support your Ambassador
  • Access to photos and other resources to promote your partner
  • Online messaging facility to contact your partner
  • The chance to build a lasting connection with your partner by praying for each other, visiting your partner and making personal friendships, and even inviting your partner to the UK.
  • The opportunity to request a Tearfund speaker to launch your link
  • Your own progress page to see the impact of your giving
  • Access to events and fundraising ideas
  • Resources to help your church address poverty in your local community

Who is Connected Church for?

Connected Church is designed for churches and Christian groups that want to get involved in supporting a project with their prayer and giving through Tearfund.

It's open to all churches and groups - because we're based in the UK, if you live elsewhere please contact us to chat about signing up.

How do we sign up?

It's simple - all you need to do is choose a partner to support and then sign up online. You'll create your personal Tearfund account then will be able to sign your church or group up.

Watch this video which guides you through the sign up process.

You can download this video from the vimeo website

What is a Connected Church Ambassador?

When you sign up for Connected Church, we automatically appoint you as your church's Connected Church Ambassador!

As an Ambassador, your job is to help your church connect with your Partner, to keep them up to date with what's going on and to get them excited about raising money for their inspirational work.

There's a wealth of resources and ideas on the Ambassadors section of the website as well as a role description which will give you some idea of what being an Ambassador could look like.

Our churches team support Connected Church Ambassadors and will get in touch from time to time to see how things are going and to find out if there's anything we can help with.

Can we find out who else is supporting our Partner?

Yes, absolutely. Once you’ve signed up, we’d be very happy to link you up with the other supporting churches – please contact us and we’ll let you know.

Can we go and visit?

Yes, of course: we’d love to arrange a trip for you.

It's best to plan well in advance as arranging trips does take time, and it will also take the people you're visiting away from their normal work.

So, when planning a visit we'll be talking with you about how we can make a lasting impact and get a great return for God’s Kingdom from the money and time that’s invested in going.

contact us to find out more about going on a trip.

Can someone from our partner come and visit us?

Yes, indeed. As with people from here going to visit projects in other countries, if you're thinking about inviting your Partner over we'll need to plan in advance.

We'll chat with you about getting maximum impact from the visit - perhaps by allowing your Partner to visit another church whilst they're here or doing an event for Tearfund.

The main things we'd ask are that you cover the visit costs and that we limit time away to a maximum of two weeks. The best thing is to contact us early on in your thinking so we can discuss it.

Why go through Tearfund to start a link like this?

With over 40 years of experience and connections with the Church in over 40 nations, Tearfund are the perfect partner to facilitate a rewarding link with a project overseas through our Connected Church programme.

You can download this video from the vimeo website

Watch this 2 minute video to find out more.

Linking with an overseas church can be a challenge. Misunderstandings can arise and these can lead to heartbreak and pain in your own church and with your Partner; as well as damaging the work done among the people you are trying to serve.

We understand the pitfalls of working cross-culturally and we know how to achieve real and sustainable transformation in people's lives. Connected Church is all about putting our relationships and expertise at your service to make the experience rewarding, secure and beneficial for everyone involved.

More on how Connected Church works

Who will we be linking with?

We work with lots of different Christian organisations overseas. It could be that you link to a denomination in a country, or perhaps to a local Diocese development department. It always looks a little different and we'd be more than happy to chat through the details of any potential partner with you.

What we can promise you is that you will be Partnering with a group of Christians or churches who are seeking to bring spiritual and material transformation in a poor community. Often this will be a large group of churches, and always it is people that Tearfund has an established partner relationship with.

Our experience is that working and funding at this slightly more strategic level makes the work you support much more effective and means that each local church is treated fairly and the best use of your financial gifts are made.

Can we link to a specific church/church leader?

We link you to your chosen Partner and their staff. The staff are often leaders in their churches and those churches usually are part of the Partners work.

We don't twin or link you with a specific church or congregation as part of your link with your partner for a number of reasons. The high cost of facilitating such a link makes it prohibitive for all but those churches who have Tailored Relationships.

Our experience has shown time and again that we are far better off connecting you to our Partners (such as a Diocese or church movement) to form meaningful links and to make sure such a relationship doesn’t create dependency. This is just one of a number of potential pitfalls in building relationships between churches that we discuss in our How It Works section.

Of course, if and when you visit your partner, you'll spend time in local churches and you may well make lasting friendships on your trips. We are more than happy for you to continue these and with email and other modern communications you may be able to keep in regular direct contact yourselves without placing a burden on Tearfund.

Why not go and visit to grow you connection - we all know that meeting face to face is the best way to kick off a friendship!

Can someone come and speak to us about our Partner?

Yes, we'd love to send you a Tearfund speaker. They'll be able to tell your congregation all about your Partner and the wider work of Tearfund.

We can't guarantee it, but your speaker may possibly have visited your partner. And of course, if you yourself go and visit the project you support, we’d love you to bolster the ranks of those who are willing to speak and encourage others to get involved with it. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out how to become a Tearfund speaker.

I’ve forgotten my password or username

Just give us a call on 0208 943 7972 and we'll help you out.

How long will the projects go on for?

The projects that we’ve selected for Connected Church typically run for several years. We fund them in three-year cycles, and of course over time the focus or location of the work may change in response to the needs of those we're serving.

This is often a sign of success, as it means change is happening and the local church may be able to move on to address new needs.

We always aim to help our partner projects get to the point where they no longer need our financial support. If it looks as though we may need to make changes to your support because of this, we’ll chat things through with you.

Can we send letters and photos to our Partner?

We love helping you connect with your Partner so we'd be more than happy to pass on your prayers, words and pictures to encourage them – they will be blessed to know there are people many miles away praying for them.

Do remember it's best not to expect a like-for-like communication in return! Many of the people you support won't speak English or be able to read and write, so while someone at your Partner's headquarters may send a personal greeting in return, it would be unrealistic to expect a pen pal type of relationship.

For example, if children in your Sunday school wrote letters, the reality is that they wouldn't each get one back in return - writing to the children in general who are being helped by your partner is a great thing to do instead!

Normally, we'll get you to scan in the letter and email us a copy which we can ensure the partner gets and we'll give you their address to post them on too. Of course we'll be doing this within the logistical constraints of your partner's work so do contact us to chat about your plans and we'll help you make them a success.

Can you help us with our own existing link?

We’ve put together some information and advice to help churches building relationships with churches in poorer parts of the world; just go to the Good Advice pages on our site.

We hope you’ll find the information really helpful, but if not – while we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to provide the help you’re looking for – do give us a call on 0208 943 7972 or email us via churches@tearfund.org

Can you help us start a link with some people we met?

If the people you met happen to be already working in partnership with Tearfund, this could be possible – but we can’t guarantee it. The best thing to do is contact us, and we’ll see what we can do.

We'd probably be doing this as part of a 'Tailored Relationship'. However, this approach is generally more suitable if you’re considering major financial support (from £10,000 per year or so). Click here for more information on Tailored Relationships.

Can you help us start a link in a country not listed?

If you’d like to link with a country or partner not available online - perhaps because of your church’s specific interests - we’d suggest you consider a ‘Tailored Relationship’. This is a link that we set up especially for your church.

Read more about Tailored Relationships here.

What is Church and Community Mobilisation?

Church and Community Mobilisation is an approach that our Partners use to help poor communities transform themselves. It includes the church working with its local community to identify needs and resources and then plan actions to bring about the necessary spiritual and material transformation.

We’ve developed a process called Umoja (the Swahili word for ‘togetherness’) which churches and communities use to put Church and Community Mobilisation into effect.

Watch this short film to find out more:

About the finances

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How much should we give?

It's totally up to you! - As you commit to supporting your partner, we’d really encourage you to do two things: commit from your central church finances, and give yourselves a goal for what you'd love to be able to do.

Your central commitment will encourage your church or group members that you're behind this new partnership and we use the amount you commit from your church or group budget as we plan how much work we can support with each partner.

You can download this video from the vimeo website

In addition, we believe that the goal you set can inspire people in your church or group and even your wider community, to get more involved with your partner and their work.

It's ok if you dream big when setting your 'mission support goal' but only get a little way towards it because we only plan in advance to spend the amounts that are committed to centrally. Your goal is something that we can talk to you about and give you with ideas through the year to help you out.

You can also change either amount later - just contact us. Why not watch the 2 minute video to find out how setting a goal got a whole church involved in their link.

How do we make a donation?

To ensure your donations are allocated to the right Partner we would be very grateful if all gifts are sent to us with your church/group name and stating that it is for your Connected Church link.

Donations can be made using the following methods:

How much of the money we give goes to the project and what happens to the Gift Aid?

90% of your donations go directly to your Partner's grant. We allocate the remaining 10% to our wider work.

This 10% contributes to the costs of the supporting your Partner as well as our core administration and governance costs. This amount is essential in facilitating the work of Tearfund as a whole, including all our overseas work and we thank you for this support.

With all gifts that we are able to claim Gift Aid on, we put the Gift Aid to our 'Where the Need is Greatest' fund. This then supports our work across the globe. For example, it could contribute to alleviating disasters or supporting work that we are not able to talk about or provide Connected Church links to.

What is the money we give used for and can we give to specific things?

When you give to a Connected Church Partner, your money is used to support the Partner's work as described on the Connected Church website. This work is agreed between Tearfund and our Partners as part of a plan for eradicating poverty in their countries.

Generally, we cannot accept donations for anything outside of the activities we have already agreed with the Partner we will work on together.

The reason we can only send funds for activities agreed between Partners and Tearfund is because of our commitments to the Charity Commission. We take responsibility for all donated funds and are accountable for them. If we sent funds to partners that we didn't monitor and hold our partners accountable for, we would be in breech of this commitment to the Charity Commission.

What happens if a project doesn't reach its funding target?

Connected Church projects are ones we're committed to supporting. If the total given by Connected Churches and Groups in a year doesn't reach the target, we'll use some other funds to support the project where we need to.

Our aim is to enable you to choose a specific project to support in a way that will be a blessing to you and the project - so not in a way that puts the partner's work at risk.

Generally, the target we're aiming to raise is the maximum that we believe the Partner can use effectively on the project work.

What happens if a project gets more than its targeted funding?

If we receive more donations than our target amount for the partner in a financial year, we may need use them with the partner the following year or perhaps use them elsewhere.

This could be on another project with the same partner or other similar projects in the country or region. It could even be that we use the surplus in our 'where the need is greatest' fund - supporting Tearfund's work around the world that isn't suitable to be featured as a Connected Church partner.

Help, our donation has gone to the wrong thing!

We acknowledge all donations you make to Tearfund and confirm that the money has been allocated according to any preference you tell us.

Please contact us immediately if:

  • We inform you that the money you donated is directed to a fund that you did not specify or,
  • You would like the money to go to a particular fund, but have not previously specified which one.

Notify us of your preference within 21 days of our acknowledgement and we will make sure the money goes to the fund of your choice.

Help, I think our donations are showing incorrectly

You can log in and see the impact of your donations on your Connected Church 'Impact' page.

If you think there’s something wrong with the figures you see, do call us and we’ll sort it out.

Human error could mean the amount shown on the website is incorrect, but don’t worry, we can manually adjust any errors we make if you notify us.

Can we transfer our regular Tearfund giving to Connected Church, and is that a good idea?

Yes you can. If your church or group already gives to Tearfund, we believe that Connected Church is a great way to get it more involved with the work that we and our partners do.

And we're confident that by connecting you with a specific Partner, over time we'll see you deepening your involvement with Tearfund across the board - which could see you raising more money to help people lift themselves out of poverty.

Aren't we restricting you by giving to a specific project?

Connected Church is 'restricted funding' - in other words, the donations can only be used for Connected Church and not for Tearfund's other work without your consent.

We're committed to working with you to increase your church's engagement with Tearfund as a result of your experience with Connected Church. We believe that the benefits a Connected Church relationship can bring, will outweigh any challenges for us of having restricted funding.

Can we make a one off donation or commit for just a short time?

You can make a one off donation at any time, we'd never want to stop you from doing that.

Connected Church is all about relationship though and so we'd love you to make a commitment to pray and give to a partner; and we really hope it will be a relationship that continues and grows over many years.

We hope you'll build a relationship with your Partner and what's going on in the communities you're helping and will want to stay connected. We do appreciate you may at some point choose to cease your involvement with a project and if that's the case, please just let us know.

Traveling with Tearfund

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HOW MANY/FEW PEOPLE CAN GO?

Often we’ll recommend a group size of around 8 people for a trip.

It’s a size that is manageable for most partners and also means that everyone going will be able to interact with the people you’re visiting; after all, you want to build relationships and be able to have conversations with the people you meet.

Please note that if you are expecting a team size of 4 people or less we may well ask you to combine your trip with another church. Otherwise it may not be possible to go ahead as we have to limit the number of trips partners host each year and so need to make sure trips have enough travellers on them.

HOW LONG SHOULD WE GO FOR?

With all the travel involved in visiting with one of our partners (who are often in remote locations) a trip length of around 8-10 days away from the UK is usually a good length of time for a first visit to understand your partner’s work and to start building friendships with them.

WHAT WILL WE DO WHEN WE’RE THERE?

By far the most valuable thing you’ll do whilst you’re on your trip will be to listen.

To spend time with your partner and the people that they are helping is an incredible thing. You’ll be amazed not just by the difference your financial support has made in people’s lives; but also by the impact that you, travelling round the world to come and hear their stories, will make to people’s lives by taking the time to listen to them.

Often a first visit to your partner will be all about understanding their work and gathering stories so you can inspire people when you return home. You might want to think about having a team photographer or even making a video of your trip or the stories of some people that you meet.

Returning trips sometimes do the same thing as often there are completely different people on the trips, but we’re also really open to exploring how you might be able to offer some practical support or somehow get involved with your partner’s work overseas. Just talk to us about your ideas!

WHAT DO TEARFUND ARRANGE AND WHAT DO I DO?

When we arrange a trip for you, whilst we can’t do everything for you, we will talk you through everything we need you to do!

Step 1 - Make a plan: First we’ll check that it’s ok for you to visit and get an idea of what your time overseas will look like from your Partner, including a rough budget. We’ll chat with you about who might lead the trip and if appropriate, talk about any skills travellers have that they might be able to offer in support of the partners ongoing work.

Step 2 - Book some flights: We’ll arrange for a quote for flights from our travel agent which you can pay for directly, or you can see if you can find your own online for less.

Step 3 - Get prepared: About three months before you travel, we’ll send you a little trip booklet telling you everything you need to do to prepare and the things you might want to pack too.

Step 4 - Get trained: We’ll also arrange an orientation for your trip (usually a month or so before you go) when we’ll do some training and tell you a bit more about the trip and how we’ll be looking after your safety and security whilst you’re overseas.

Step 5 - Get going: Just before the trip goes, we’ll give your trip leader a briefing on their role and will make sure they have everything you’ll need; then you’ll go and have a fab time!

Step 6 - Paying and Pressing on: When you come back from your trip, you’ll be fired up and we’re here to help you plan for how you can get your whole church and perhaps even your wider community involved in supporting your partner. Finally, a month or two after the trip (when the final costs have come in), we’ll arrange for you to reimburse us.

HOW OFTEN WILL I HEAR FROM TEARFUND?

If you are leading the trip and are our main point of contact, we will be in touch with questions and updates whenever we have them.

In general, we'll be in touch with all the team members (sometimes via your trip leader) at the outset to get some of your basic details so we can book your flights.

After that, you may well not hear from us for a few months as there's nothing else we need you to do for a while. Please do feel free to get in touch with any questions you have during that time though.

About three months or so before you travel we will send you your trip booklet (which amongst other things, will tell you what vaccinations you need and what to pack) and we'll give you a little update on how things are going too.

We'll then be in regular contact with your trip leader up to your departure date; to prepare them to lead the trip and to keep them informed of any developments or things we may need from your team before you go.

About a month after your trip we should have the final costs of the visit back from your hosts and will be able to let you know how much we'll be asking you to contribute towards your travel.

In all this, please know that you can contact us at any time. We are always here to help!

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The cost of travelling varies from country to country and depends on many factors; from travelling in holidays/high seasons and how remote your partner's location is, to basic things like how long you're going for and if a vehicle needs to be hired to cart you all around!

Including your flights, a reasonable rough estimate could be around £1,500 per person for a group of 8 going for a week or so.

We see this trip in its wider context of journeying with you as you and your church connect more deeply with local and global holistic mission. Because of this, we don’t charge you the actual cost of the time spent in arranging the trip and some of the associated costs; we aim to make a contribution of £50 per person towards Tearfund's costs in the amount we charge you but will always try to manage it to ensure that a trip is not prohibitively costly.

This contribution towards Tearfund's costs includes: Tearfund's staff time in arranging your trip both here in the UK and overseas, support for any orientation and or debrief event for your team as well as our insurance cover (which does not cover holidays - you'll need your own if you tag on a holiday) and 24hr emergency support whilst you are away.

These trips are still expensive sometimes, and we appreciate it can be a financial sacrifice for you to travel, so we try to keep costs as low as possible without putting a financial burden on our partners, who are often volunteering their time to us as they travel with us overseas.

As well as the contribution towards Tearfund’s costs, the costs of the trip generally consist of visas (unless you need to get them yourselves in advance of travel), any medical or security checks that are occasionally required, the hire of vehicles and fuel in country, as well as your accommodation and food while you are on the trip. Do contact us if you have any detailed questions about costs.

The cost we charge you does not cover flights, immunisations and anti-malarials where required, travel to and from any orientation or debrief events, any day trips (and associated required insurance) or gifts bought while in country.

Please note that all costs are subject to change; this is due to the variable nature of overseas travel expenses.

DO WE HAVE TO GET OUR OWN FLIGHTS & VISAS?

Because Tearfund are a charity and not a travel agent, we are not legally allowed to provide a full package to you in supporting your trip.

Basically, we’re not legally allowed to buy flights, arrange holidays or provide a visas service and then sell them on to you.

BOOKING YOUR FLIGHTS

Tearfund has an excellent relationship with the travel company Diversity Travel. We will get a quote from them for flights for your visit that we would suggest you purchase.

You’re completely free to then see if you can find something cheaper online that fits your needs, it’s Diversity’s job to win your business after all - they are a travel agent!

You may be staying on in country after the Tearfund arranged part of your visit in which case you’ll need to change your flights. If you do so, we ask that you ensure that we do not inconvenience your partner with multiple trips to and from the airport due to different flight times of your team members.

DIVERSITY TRAVEL’S DETAILS
phone: 0161 235 5400
email: reservations@diversitytravel.co.uk

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

You are responsible for obtaining your visa but the good new is that often the simplest thing is to get them on arrival in country.

We will let you know if you need to get a visa in advance and Diversity Travel also provide a support service for Visa applications that you’re welcome to make use of.

Tearfund will of course provide any necessary supporting documentation (e.g. contact details and a letter of invitation).

If you do a group visa booking through Diversity it will reduce their fee, and they are experts in getting everything sorted swiftly.

PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS

Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your return, has two blank pages and is machine readable. If you’re unsure of what you need, you can check with the UK government’s foreign travel advice online here.

If your passport doesn’t match these criteria, apply for a new passport immediately and let us know that you are doing so. Once you’ve got your new passport, inform us of your passport number.

We recommend that you scan your passport and email a copy of this to your email account, in case you need to access this whilst overseas (e.g. if your passport is lost or stolen during your trip).

YOUR CONDUCT AND RESPONSIBILITIES

On your trip you will be representing Tearfund to our partners and beneficiaries and so we ask that your conduct be in line with our Partnership Values which are available to read in our Trips FAQs.

Please defer to the leaders of your trip and the partners that you are visiting as the final authority on all matters.

All travellers with Tearfund must ensure that their behaviour promotes and encourages everyone to live free from exploitation, harm, abuse, neglect and discrimination.

Tearfund sign up to the Global Connections Code of Good Practice and are bonded to ABTOT. This means your Tearfund-arranged travel is covered by these policies as well as Tearfund’s travel insurance policy.

In the unlikely event that your behaviour results in a need for Tearfund to end your visit early, please note that you will be liable for any costs incurred.

TEARFUND’S SAFEGUARDING PROTOCOL

Tearfund is committed to ensuring that children and vulnerable adults are protected from all forms of harm and abuse, and are able to live with dignity, respect and security.

Every traveller is therefore asked to sign a declaration confirming:

  • You have read, understood, and agree to adhere to the Safeguarding Protocol.
  • You understand that any inappropriate behaviour or failure to follow the Protocol or the team leader’s instructions will give Tearfund or the Partner the right to stop the visit and take any other necessary action as appropriate.
  • You understand that, if it is found that you have withheld information or included any false or misleading information, this will render you ineligible for travel or if already on a trip, liable for immediate return.

Vulnerable Adult definition:

Any person aged 18 or over who has particular needs because of their age, disability, physical or mental ability, or who is an expectant or nursing mother, or is reliant on others for the provision of basic services (e.g. water, food, shelter etc.), such as in a refugee camp or as a recipient of an NGO relief distribution and are potentially vulnerable to exploitation or abuse as a result of their status or their lack of power and control.

All travellers are expected to assist Tearfund in protecting children and vulnerable adults by adhering to the following protocol at all times:

  • I will only travel to Tearfund or Partner locations when I am accompanied by a Tearfund or Partner staff member, and will conduct myself in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner in all my interactions. If I am unsure of the appropriate behaviour, I will seek guidance from my accompanying staff member.
  • I will not revisit locations and individuals without prior permission from Tearfund or the Partner, and with an authorised staff member.
  • I will not be alone with a child or vulnerable adult, whether in the home or elsewhere, nor engage in any inappropriate / unwanted physical conduct with children or vulnerable adults, but demonstrate compassion and care both in action and speech.
  • I will not share any of my contact details with a child or vulnerable adult or their family, nor disclose any of their personal information (names, addresses, or locations) to any other party without the prior permission of Tearfund.
  • I will not provide cash gifts directly to a child or vulnerable adult or their family.
  • I will not collect any photos, video or stories without the consent of Tearfund or the Partner, and the consent of the child or vulnerable adult (Tearfund has a standard consent procedure). Photos or video can only be taken when the child or vulnerable adult is appropriately dressed. Material gathered must respect the subject’s dignity and their right to privacy.

TEARFUND’S PARTNERSHIP VALUES

Partnership between Tearfund and its Partners is founded on the shared belief that as individual leaders and staff of those organisations we are united in Jesus Christ and equal under the fatherhood of God, and in our common purpose of bringing good news to the poor.

We enter into partnership in a spirit of mutual respect for each other's mission, values, culture and working practices as well as the practical circumstances and regulatory framework under which each organisation operates.

Experience has taught us that effective, healthy, respectful and mutually beneficial partnerships require the consistent application of values that are integral to our faith. We look to practise these values in all we do, embracing servant leadership and rejecting the misuse of power and control. We confess our inconsistency in this, and look to one another and the Holy Spirit for help in applying these values in our personal and partnership relationships.

LOVE

God is love, and love is from God. Jesus was the full expression of this, and he urges us to love one another in the same way he loves us (1 John 4.7-12, John 15.12). Indeed, as we do this God’s love becomes complete in us (1 John 4.12), and we become attractive and persuasive evidence of that love. We are committed to strive for a quality of relationships in our partnerships which expresses God’s love, affirms the God-given dignity of all and proves the reality of our discipleship.

GRACE AND FORGIVENESS

Jesus was “full of grace and truth” (John 1.14), and our experience of this is fundamental to who and what we are. We know that we are called to reflect his grace, bursting with love, forgiveness and patience, in our service to one another (1 Peter 4.10). Inevitably, hurt and offence occur in our organisational relationships. Acknowledging this, we aspire to be more grace-full and forgiving in the way we relate to each other in our partnerships, knowing that this would do much to enrich those partnerships, and the outcomes we are working for.

TRUTH Human relationships and godly endeavour flourish in the presence of truth. We worship the God of truth (Ps 31.5), and are called to love in truth and in action (1 John 3.18). Therefore, we aspire to truthfulness in our partnerships, acknowledging the need for transparency and humility in all our dealings and communications with one another. Our prayer is that by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4.15), we will encourage one another to excellence for the sake of the poor (Proverbs 27.17).

HUMILITY

Humility, nurtured by a proper appreciation and understanding of God, self and others, is critical to Godly partnerships (1 Peter 5.5). We aspire to humility in our partnership relationships that will enable us to learn from each other and value our different yet complementary roles. Such humility liberates us from the need to dominate and own, in order that we might serve one another in love (Philippians 2.1-8).

FAITHFULNESS

The God we worship is “faithful in all his words and gracious in all his deeds” (Ps.145.13). So we will strive to treat with the utmost seriousness the commitments we make to one another in our partnership arrangements, in good times and bad.

TRUST

The giving and receiving of trust is essential to the development of mutually beneficial partnerships. Amazingly, God has entrusted The Group with the awesome responsibility of emulating Christ’s love in a deeply damaged, yet still wonderful world (1 Peter 2.1-12). God’s willingness to place such trust in us is both our model and our motivation in being willing to trust one another in our partnership relationships. We recognise that such trust involves risk, profound mutual accountability, and amazing grace.

JUSTICE

God loves justice, and urges us to be a people of justice (Ps.11.7, Amos 5.24). This is what motivates us to work for a more just world. Therefore, we will strive to deal justly with one another in our partnership relationships, seeking to avoid the pitfalls of both dominance and manipulation.

STEWARDSHIP

There is one Creator, and one Owner (Ps.24.1). It is he who has delegated to us the responsibility to be wise and honest managers of creation. So we will strive to remember this fundamental truth as we transfer funds and resources from one context to another. We do not accept the lie that we are owners rather than managers, and will resist the power of money and position to weaken and distort our partnerships.

ACCOUNTABILITY

We recognise that we are primarily and fundamentally accountable to God for all our actions and thoughts, and it is in this context that we are also accountable to one another (Romans 14.7-12). Therefore, in our partnerships we cannot treat lightly our mutual accountability, nor can we divorce it from humility, patience and grace. So we aspire to a fulsome and transparent accountability, and to making what we do consistent with what we say.

UNITY

We have experienced the profound joy of fellowship and interdependence in Christ that transcends the divisions of race, culture, gender, economics, geography and history. Such joy is at the heart of Jesus’ vision for his disciples and a profound sign of the character and love of God (John 17.20-32). We acknowledge the seriousness of the call to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit (Eph 4.2) in our fellowship for the sake of the Gospel.

PRAYER

Jesus taught us to pray (Matt 6.5-15), and experience has taught us that prayer is vital, especially in addressing the many difficult situations that confront us in partnership. We commit ourselves to pray for each other, recognising that this is an invaluable means of mutual support (Col 4.2-4).

WHAT IF WE WANT TO ADD A HOLIDAY ON TO THE END OF OUR TRIP?

It’s fine for you to do that. You’ll be organising it yourself of course but please do let us know if you are planning something so that we are aware. We’re not experts on overseas holiday destinations but do feel free to ask us if you have questions or get stuck with something!

Once you finish the Tearfund organised part of your trip, you should really be making your own way onwards. Please plan to be dropped off with the rest of your team at the departure airport before you make your way onwards for your holiday. This will minimise the extra work for your partner so is a really helpful way for you to plan if possible.

If you need to change your flights, we ask that you ensure that we do not inconvenience your partner with multiple trips to and from the airport due to different flight times of your team members.

IS OUR HOLIDAY COVERED ON TEARFUND’S INSURANCE?

Tearfund's insurance covers us for our work. As a church visiting one of our partners, you would be effectively travelling with Tearfund as volunteers.

If you were to have "a rest day(s)" in and around the area you are in as part of your trip doing touristy things, it would be covered under our insurance as you are not straying too far from the original purpose of the trip (to visit one of our partners).

If you are visiting somewhere a distance from your trip route or taking part in activities significantly different from the trip (adventure activities, going on safari etc.), these are significantly different from the main purpose of the trip and therefore you would need to use separate insurance.

Generally, if you combine your Tearfund trip with other travel, you will need to arrange your own insurance cover.

Please note there will be no financial benefit to yourselves regarding the trip cost if you do need to purchase additional cover.

WHAT IF I CAN’T GO ANYMORE?

Tearfund's insurance (subject to an excess) will cover the cost of cancellation if the reason for the cancellation is considered valid by the insurer e.g. the person became sick and medically can not travel, there is a death in the family.

The cost of cancellation will not be covered if you simply decide not to travel.

CAN UNDER 18S TRAVEL?

Yes absolutely; whether its having a 17 year old come with you or a youth group trip - many permutations are possible.

The balance of adults to under 18s will vary depending on the individuals involved and we’ll discuss this with you when considering your trip.

Under 18s will need to travel with an adult willing to act as a guardian and we’ll arrange for parental consent forms to be signed.

AM I TOO OLD TO TRAVEL?

There’s no upper age limit on who can go, although those over 80 require their own insurance cover as Tearfund’s policy only covers those up to the age of 80.

We’d also ask that those over 80 to provide a letter from their doctor confirming their ability to travel.

HOW SAFE WILL I BE?

In a word, very! We take a number of steps to ensure the safety and security of our teams whilst overseas.

We consult our Country Representatives who look after Tearfund’s work in each country, the overseas Tearfund Partner that your team is visiting and the latest Foreign Office travel advice, before making decisions about whether a team can travel.

We will always be monitoring things and will cancel a trip if we are not happy with the security situation.

Team leaders are all briefed on our emergency procedures, are able to contact us 24 hours a day and all team members receive a safety and security briefing at their orientation.

SHOULD WE HAVE A TRAINED FIRST AIDER ON THE TEAM?

It’s great if you do, especially for longer visits, but it’s not mandatory.

We know that for many teams it’s not possible to arrange and so we plan for you not to have a trained first aid person.

You’ll get a Safety in Travel briefing before you go which will tell you what you need to know and we have 24hr emergency medical support on hand should you need it.

DO WE NEED SPENDING MONEY?

There won’t necessarily be many opportunities for you to go shopping - that’s not what your trip is about after all! You may have the opportunity to visit a local or tourist market on a rest day or just before you leave though.

So if you're not planning on buying souvenirs, you don't need any spending money. If you would like to buy something, take a few $USD and your team leader will be able to help you get them changed into local currency if necessary.

We recommend that you chat as a team and take money collectively rather than everyone incurring exchange fees.

CAN WE TAKE GIFTS?

You may want to take a gift for those you are visiting. In order for your gift to be a blessing to the community, it is important to do this in a culturally appropriate way.

It might seem odd, but gifts can cause significant problems. For example others in the community might assume that there is always a financial benefit to hosting foreigners, or that your hosts have made a business deal with you.

The partner organisation you are visiting will have to account for any gifts that they receive; financial or otherwise. Usually it would be more straightforward to give through Tearfund. Some of our partners will expressly tell you this - others would consider it rude to do so. To avoid confusion, please do discuss any financial or material giving with us.

Taking interactive presents, like a football or some bubble mixture for children, can be good as they provide a real chance for you to interact with those you are visiting. Avoid giving the gifts directly to the children, unless your partner has suggested you do so. It is much better for your host to look after the football than for it to belong to the biggest child in the group!

If you’re staying with a family for a night or two, consider taking some photos of you with your family and friends. These are a talking point and are also something to leave behind as a reminder of your time with them. It would be wise to not show obvious wealth, instead try and think of areas of similarity or interest – eg a landscape.

It’s also fine to take a gift or two for the family you are staying with, a tea towel with something very British on it can be a good idea, stationery supplies for children for school or one or two items of clothing for the family.

Please ask us if you do want to take gifts and we will try to advise you about what would be appropriate. At the end of the day, your kindness and respect for their lives, your time in visiting and the value you give them by listening to your hosts is always the best gift you can bring.

PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Our insurance cover is comprehensive and as with most companies, some pre-existing medical conditions are not covered, but this is regardless of whether they are disclosed or not.

Tearfund's insurance will cover complications arising on a trip due to many pre-existing medical conditions provided the individual has been checked by their doctor and been approved to travel.

Individuals must ensure that they travel with all their required medication.

For example, Tearfund's insurance will only cover sickness as a result of diabetes, but not the medication to treat the current condition.

Even if your condition is not covered you may well still be able to travel with us; please let us know about your condition and we will check with our insurers.

SHOULD WE CONSIDER MEDICAL CHECKS FOR THE TEAM?

Tearfund’s International Volunteering Team use InterHealth for trips when members of the general public are applying for trips. InterHealth have a wealth of experience with the type of trips that we do so are well placed to do a health check for people we don’t know who want to travel with us.

It is not mandatory and we've often found that for churches who know all their travellers, it can be simpler for the trip leader to suggest that those with any concerns visit their GP.

Being checked by InterHealth or cleared by your GP makes no difference to your cover under our insurance.

One of the things we have found is that using InterHealth does give some people greater confidence and peace of mind, knowing they have been fully checked and cleared to travel. People may well get the same peace of mind by being cleared to travel by their GP and someone who is perfectly healthy may be happy doing neither, and that is okay as well.

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