What I Wish I Knew Before my first mission trip

by Becca Bowers

Hola! Welcome to Misión Hispana. We are so excited for your upcoming visit. Before we get you here on the ground, I wanted to send you this little letter from my heart as our Director of Short Term Missions. 

I too started out just like you, an individual who decided to go on a short term mission trip. My first mission trip was actually here at Misión Hispana about 7 years ago! My life was so blessed that six years later I officially decided to become a full time missionary and move here.

That being said, there are things that I wish I had known or prepared for prior to my first mission trip. My prayer is that these thoughts would allow you to be confident in your time with us, and learn from some of my experiences.

Technical Stuff:

  • 1. Puerto San Jose is HOT and HUMID
      1. I grew up in Florida my whole life, so when I heard about the climate I assumed it would be something like home. Goodness was I wrong. Puerto San Jose averages a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit for 9 of the 12 months of the year – and with that heat comes major humidity. Be sure to wear clothing that is modest, but also lightweight and comfortable!
  • 2. Smells, sights, food, and activities look different here. 
      1. Being in a different culture means experiencing different things! It’s amazing, but it can be hard too if you struggle with change. Be open to trying new foods, aware that you will experience rough smells, and ready when an activity looks different here than you imagined it would.
  • 3. Plumbing, water, and electricity come and go
      1. We try our best to make sure all of these things are working as well as possible at all times, but the reality is that we don’t always have full control over it. Anything that stops working is usually back up and running within a few hours, patience and understanding go along way with this.
  • 4. You will be using Spanish. 
      1. While knowing Spanish is definitely not a requirement to come and visit us, knowing some basic phrases will get you far! I suggest downloading the app called “Duolingo” on your phone. Even just giving it 5 minutes a day can allow for you to learn enough to hold simple conversation.

Sentimental Stuff:

  • 1. You are attending this mission trip with the mentality to serve.
      1. I know this may seem obvious, but  I think it can be hard for us to completely devote ourselves to the mission at hand: serving others. The more you are able to fully encompass this thought process, the easier and more meaningful your time here will be.
  1. 2. Knowing the culture will help you appreciate the people. 
      1. I sheepishly admit that prior to coming to Guatemala I knew next to nothing about the culture, people, or history of this place. I encourage you to do some research, and get excited! Find out about the people you will be spending time with, my bet is your heart for them will grow in the process. If you need a starting point there is a great documentary called “Reparando” you can find it for rent or purchase on Amazon. 
  • 3. You will see and interact with people facing extreme poverty. 
      1. Poverty seems like something easily understood until you actually sit with someone in it. Poverty involves real people, facing real and hard situations. During your time here you will most likely experience the bad, and ugly of it. The more you can prepare your heart and mind for this through prayer, the more you will be able to look past the poverty and see the women, men, and children in front of you.
  • 4. Your gifts and talents will be used and revealed to their fullest, as well as your weaknesses. 
      1. Everyone has been blessed with different abilities, we want to use yours to their fullest – so come prepared to share! That being said, weaknesses and insecurities also have a tendency of coming to the surface during mission trips, so be prepared to see sides of yourself and others that you might not have before.
  • 5. You will feel different after your time here. 
      1. If you give it your all, you will walk away from this trip different than you were before coming – in the best way possible. The Lord wants to use you if you let Him. Embrace the changes, and be ready to return to your life with a new perspective of the world. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new calling ;).

Mission trips are not just a fun and fulfilling adventure, they are SO much more. 

They are at their core an opportunity for the Lord to break your heart for what breaks His in a raw and beautiful way. 

So, get ready and get excited, because God is on the move!


Becca Bowers
Misión Hispana
Director of Short Term Missions, Education, and Worship

  • 1. Traveling/Safety
      • We often get asked “Is it safe for me to travel to Guatemala?” Our short response is – yes. This does not mean that there are no risks involved with coming to Guatemala, it is a third world country, and that means there are always risks. However, we are incredibly concerned with your safety and do our absolute best to ensure your security during your time with us. We do this by having close relationships with local law enforcement, keeping up to date on the latest travel restrictions, staying up to date on the latest news in Guatemala, and being aware of the current COVID situation in the country.


  • 2. COVID
      • As of right now,  there are no restrictions for entering Guatemala in regards to COVID-19. If you have any questions, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Becca at becca@reachingtheamericas.org and she will be happy to get you up to date on the latest COVID restrictions.
  • 3.  Payments
      • We understand that every person has different needs when it comes to making payments for your mission trip. With that being said, we require for all payments to be completed no later than 1 week before your arrival (unless you have communicated with us and are bringing your payment in cash). Additionally, all hotel costs must be completed 1 month prior to arrival in order for us to book you at the best rate and ensure there are rooms available. If you have any questions regarding your trip, reach out to Becca at becca@reachingtheamericas.org
  • 4.  Passport
      • Ensure that you have a passport that is not expired or expiring within 6 months of your mission trip dates. If you don’t have a passport, apply as soon as possible as turnaround times have been delayed recently.