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GO Teams

GO Teams are Horizon’s short-term mission teams that travel to Africa to see and participate in Horizon’s ministries to orphans.

GO Teams provide an up close view of the lives of the children and the challenging circumstances of their lives, as well as an opportunity to have contact with a child a team member currently sponsors.

Horizon firmly believes that GO Teams must be carried out with cultural sensitivity, diligent preparation, and an attitude of serving and learning.

In the sections below, you will find all the information you need whether you are wanting to join a team or organize a team.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions at goteams@horizonorphans.com.

View Upcoming Teams

There are three very important phases involved in the mobilization of a GO Team — Planning, Promotion, and Preparation. The following timeline is given as a suggested guide to assist in achieving optimal results in all of these phases.

Planning

The Planning phase lays out the details of your trip. This phase should begin at least 6-8 months before the desired departure date of the Team. Depending on the culture of your organization, it may be beneficial to begin planning even further in advance than that.

Determine the Type of Team

Are you interested in a few members of your organization participating on a Vision Tour or are you ready to mobilize a GO Team? Work with Horizon leaders and the leadership of your church or organization to determine what type of ministry activity you would like to accomplish. Sometimes, this can be determined after the team is formed and the strengths, gifts, talents, and passions of team members are assessed. Some of the options are:

  • Adventure Teams
  • Construction Teams
  • Conference Teams
  • Professional Teams

Identify the Team Leaders

Team leadership is probably the most critical aspect to the success of a team. A leader must be someone who has good credibility and can take responsibility for communicating regularly with the team and with Horizon. Horizon can provide leadership for Team Building sessions and during the travel in Africa. However, a team member must be assigned the responsibility of organizing and leading the team planning and activities. Team leader coaching and a detailed Team Leader Handbook is available from Horizon.

Determine the Size of the Team

This is more important than it may seem, but experience has shown that smaller more frequent teams have the greatest benefit to everyone involved: the African host (imagine hosting 25 people in your home for 11 days), the team leaders, and your home church or sending organization. For this reason we highly recommend teams of 10–15 members as the optimal size. We encouraged those organizations where there is strong interest to consider sending two or more teams. Two teams of 12 is much better than one team of 24. Teams may be scheduled consecutively.

Determine Date and Location

It is important to work with Horizon to determine where and when you will send your team. Horizon will assist you in selecting a location that makes the most sense for your team such as a location where many of your team members have sponsored children. One of the priorities of all of our teams is that team members are able to connect with their sponsored child/children. This is also conducive to other team members sponsoring children in the same area. There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to scheduling a date for your team. Horizon will work with your team to schedule the preferred date. However, there are peak seasons when travel is much more expensive and there are many teams wanting similar dates for teams. Consulting Horizon early for scheduling is an advantage in securing the date you desire.

Budget and Payment Schedule

When the Team type, size, date, and location have been determined, Horizon will work to establish a cost for each team member. Everyone desiring to participate on a Horizon Team is required to submit an application with a $500 non-refundable deposit. The balance of the cost of the trip must be paid in full before the team departs. Payments can be made through our registration portal or mailed to Horizon.

Promotion

This phase should be scheduled so that people have time to digest the information about the trip and make a decision at least three to four months before departure. Many people will need more time to process the decision, raise support, get passports, make arrangements at work, and so forth.

Global Opportunities Sessions

Horizon staff is available to come to your location and conduct informational meetings to help your organization in the decision-making process. There are many regions available where teams can be sent, so we are glad to assist you in selecting the area that fits your goals.

Promotional Materials

Horizon has promotional materials to assist you with making people aware of the opportunities and preparing to be a part of a team. Contact our office for more details.

Preparation

Once the planning and promotion phases have launched, a deadline for registration will be established and preparation to go can begin.

Requirements

  • At least 12 years of age
  • Valid passport expiring at least 6 month after the trip dates

Registration

All participants must complete the registration process through our Teams portal and submit a nonrefundable $500 deposit to be placed on the team.

Team Building

Team Building begins, depending on your situation, about two-to-four months prior to the team departure. The three Team building sessions will address the three most critical areas of GO Teams:

  • Team Culture — It is important for each team member to understand the dynamics of the team before they begin their cross-cultural experience.
  • Foreign Culture — It is important for team members to understand the dramatic cultural differences into which they will be immersed.
  • Team Purpose — A sufficient amount of time is needed to plan and prepare for the coordination of the activities and work that will be carried out by the team.

Pre-Team Building Packet: For teams doing a single weekend team building, information will need to be read and completed before arrival for the sessions. That information can be found below.

A GO Team is a life-changing experience, giving you the opportunity to experience other places, other cultures and participate in ministries in ways like never before.

Requirements

Team members need to be at least 12 years old, have a valid passport, and a willingness to go. That’s it. No prior experience is required for most teams.

Faith & Finances

One of the main ways team members pay for a trip is through building a support network. There are many people in your life who would be excited about participating with you financially or in other ways.

Why Should I Raise Support?

Building a support network of partners is a very important part of your cross cultural team experience. Most people think of support only as financial donations and become uncomfortable with the idea or think it is not necessary for them to raise support.

While financial support is necessary and wonderful, it is helpful to expand your concept of support to the areas of spiritual and emotional support as well as financial. It is also helpful to realize that there are many people in one’s life who want to be supportive in all the areas mentioned. They want to be a part of something special in your life. Also, most people want to do something special and being involved with you gives them a sense of doing that.

Building this kind of support network also creates many new opportunities for you to communicate your experience with your partners. So we strongly encourage everyone who participates on a GO Team to consider building a support network by crafting and sending a concise, informative letter or email to family members, friends, and associates of all kinds. Your letter should contain all the information about your team and trip as well as all the opportunities for partnering including prayer, finances, and moral support.

The Apostle Paul gladly asked for assistance. He understood the importance of partnership, particularly prayer partnership. In his letter to the Romans, he appealed to them that they might offer prayers with him on his behalf and the behalf of the gospel. Like Paul we need partners in the ministry, whether through prayer, emotional support or through financial contributions.

How Do I Build a Support Team
  1. Pray and thank God for this opportunity and for helping you build a team that will allow you to seize this opportunity.
  2. Pray and ask God to give you names of people He wants to be involved in helping you.
  3. “Namestorm” as many names as God brings to your mind of people in your life whom you could send a letter telling about how God is leading you to be a part of the team. Write down those names no matter how you think those people might respond or what they might think. Very Important! Your letter may be the catalyst for something God is doing in their life. Begin collecting the addresses or emails of the people God put on your list.
  4. Pray and ask God to inspire you as you write a letter with details of how you made this decision, details of the trip such as the location, purpose, cost, etc.
  5. Ask for people to partner with you in this decision by praying, encouraging and donating to your expenses. “Partner” is a key word because it leads people from just giving a donation to actually giving their attention and support.
  6. Pray over the letters and emails and send them out.
  7. Keep a record of those who respond and plan on keeping them updated after you return from your trip by sending a report with pictures. They will feel included and love it and want to partner again sometime and maybe even go sometime.

Make sure to talk about what you will be doing, include the website for Horizon, which is horizonorphans.com. Be sure to point them to your giving page on GO Method. They can also send a check to Horizon International, including your name and trip number in the memo line.

What Does a Support Letter Look Like?

Download a sample support letter.

What are Some Example Fundraisers?
  • Garage Sales – People clean and donate items all the time. Why not ask them to donate them to you? Collect donated items from friends and family and then host a garage sale.
  • Sell Food – Bake anything from cookies, to pies, to cakes especially around the holiday times. Create a whole meal for people for Valentine’s Day dinners. Bake appetizers for Super Bowl Parties. Anything that makes it convenient for people should sell easily.
  • Sell carwash coupons – Many local carwash companies will offer coupons for you to sell customers and they will give you a portion of the profits.
  • Host a dinner – Find a church or venue that will allow you and maybe some of your team to invite friends to purchase tickets to a dinner. Once dinner is served you can share details of the work you will be doing on your trip and further inviting people to partner with you on this journey!
  • Babysit – Offer to give friends and family a night out!
Does This Really Work?

Yes.

Read stories here.

Understanding and Implementing the Process of Debriefing

While they are always rewarding and life changing, cross cultural GO Team experiences in developing countries can be confusing and disorienting to some. People very often are shocked at what they experience in the host country and then shocked again when they return to their same life as different people.

Debriefing is the process of helping people understand what they experienced, re-enter the life they left and then answer the question, “Now What?” We believe that the process of debriefing is vital for every team member so we provide guidance and materials to help with this process. There are three phases of debriefing which take place during the trip, soon after arrival home, and continuing on for some time after returning home.

During the Trip

People need to process the shock of entering a foreign culture almost immediately and regularly. We involve team members in discussions after each day’s activities and more deeply at the end of the trip. Materials, such as reflection questions, are provided at the end of the trip and before the team separates, to help team members begin this process.

After Arriving Home

Team members often experience what is called “reverse culture shock” when they return home. This is due to many factors. The important thing here is to understand this reality and help people work through it. Some of the materials Horizon provides will help with this but we also suggest that the team meet together soon after their return to continue the process of “re-entry.”

Continuing the Process

Letting team members tell their story, gathering them regularly to pray and remember what happened, and encouraging them to keep in touch with the friends they made both on the team and in the new country are all excellent ways to leverage the experience. Horizon staff is available for other sourcing and ideas to facilitate this process.

For more information regarding Team Mobilization, Team Building, Building a Support Network, or other related questions contact Todd Faulkner at:
Email: toddf@horizonorphans.com
Phone: (765) 778-1016 ext. 1502