Preparing to Come

What You Need to Know

Everyone at Youth With A Mission El Paso-Juárez (YWAM EP-J) is excited for your interest in our ministry.

We compiled this page to help give you a better understanding of life along the border and a head start in your preparations.

El Paso & Juárez

The Area

Currency

The national currency for the USA is the U.S. Dollar (USD) and the national currency for Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN). You can check the current exchange rate for both online at: www.xe.com/ucc. Since we are a border community, most retailers in Juárez, Mexico, accept U.S. Dollars for payment. Most major retailers will also accept credit cards.

If you have a bank account, you should be able to withdraw money at a bank ATM. Check with your bank before coming to make sure your bankcard will work in the USA and/or Mexico. You should bring cash, ATM card, traveler’s checks, and/or a credit card (for emergencies) to have access to your own money.

Language

In our area of the U.S.-Mexico border, English and Spanish are the primary languages spoken. Most people on the El Paso side of the border are bilingual, with English as the predominate language. In Ciudad Juárez, the predominate language is Spanish with some people speaking English. Some online language resources are: www.freetranslation.com or Google Translate

Time Zone

El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, are in the North American Mountain Time Zone. To see the current time in our area, go to: www.worldtimeserver.com.

Climate & Weather

El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, are located in the Chihuahuan Desert. The typical climate conditions are very dry and often hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Please be prepared when coming for an outreach or a training school to survive in these conditions. Sunscreen, chapstick, proper clothing, and adequate hydration are very important to having a good stay with us. To view the forecasted weather conditions, go to: www.worldweatherserver.com.

Before coming, please check the average weather temperatures for the time you will be here and bring the appropriate clothing. (Please ask the YWAM EP-J staff for the clothing guidelines for your outreach or training school)

Electricity

The electrical current for El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, is 120V (volts) and 20 amps. The plugs are either two vertical slots or two vertical slots with a round hole centered above.

If you are coming from a country that uses 220V current, you will need to use plug adapters and voltage converters. It is usually easier to purchase these in your own country.

Plan Ahead

Before You Come

Passport / Visa

Beginning in June 2009, all persons traveling by ground between the USA and Mexico need a valid passport. The same requirements apply to all persons flying into El Paso, Texas, and then driving across the border to Juárez, Mexico. Effective January 2007, all persons traveling by air between the USA and Mexico need a valid passport. Your passport must be obtained before traveling from your home country.

If traveling from another country, please check your visa requirements for both the USA and Mexico. You must obtain your visa before leaving your home country and secure it for the entire time you are here. Canadian and U.S. citizens traveling for 6 days or less into Mexico do need a visa to be in Juárez. The visa is obtained at the border when you cross and it’s free. If you are staying 7 or more days, you must obtain a visa at the border with a cost of $25. Your visa will be valid for 6 month and you must return your visa when you are leaving the country

For more passport and visa information, please visit these web sites:

USA: www.travel.state.gov

Mexico: www.mexonline.com/mexcustoms.htm

Immunizations

Before coming, please check to see which immunizations your physician or the Center for Disease Control recommend. We recommend that your Tetanus vaccination is current before coming for a short-term outreach or training school.

For vaccine recommendations go to: www.cdc.gov/travel/camerica.htm

For training school students, additional vaccinations could be required before traveling to your outreach location. Youth With A Mission El Paso-Juárez (YWAM EP-J) does not provide these for you. If you know your outreach destination before coming, contact your local doctor to see if they recommend any specific vaccinations and receive them before traveling. If you do not know your outreach destination before coming, your school leaders will help to research necessary vaccinations during the classroom phase. There are clinics in both the USA and Mexico that provide the vaccinations at a cost. You are responsible for any personal medical expenses incurred during your time with YWAM EP-J.

Insurance

Youth With A Mission El Paso-Juárez (YWAM EP-J) does not provide any travel insurance of any kind (health, accident, trip cancellation, etc.) for individuals or teams coming for a short-term outreach or training school lecture phase. It is the responsibility of each individual, team, church, or organization to ensure that they have adequate travel coverage and to provide proof to our office before traveling. Each person should confirm what insurance coverage they have out-of-state/province/country in case of a medical emergency, accident, or death. Do not assume coverage and have it confirmed in writing! We strongly recommend that you purchase extra health and accident coverage if you have any doubt at all about your coverage.

Health:

USA and Mexican law do not require you to have health insurance during your stay. YWAM EP-J strongly recommends individuals and teams have health insurance for the entire duration of the time spent with us. For international health insurance coverage, we suggest you consider: www.talent-trust.com.

Vehicle:

Mexican law requires valid Mexican insurance for vehicles traveling into Juárez. If you plan to drive your own vehicle to Juárez, you need to obtain additional insurance coverage that is valid in Mexico. Not all companies provide this coverage, so please check with your agent before coming. If you need vehicle coverage, go to:www.e-ici.net or call Insurance Consultants International at 1-800-434-3966 or 1-915-591-8279.

Consent for Minors:

Any minor (a participant under the age of 18) participating in a YWAM EP-J program must submit a notarized consent form obtained from YWAM EP-J before traveling to El Paso, Texas, or Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Plane Tickets

All travel expenses to and from Youth With A Mission El Paso-Juárez (YWAM EP-J) are the responsibility of the individual, church, or organization and are not included in program fees. We ask that you purchase only round-trip tickets and plan to leave at the completion of the program. Please check with your program coordinator for exact travel date and time requirements. Depending on your age and student status, you may be able to find inexpensive national or international flights at: www.sta.com.

What to Bring

This is a list of essential items to bring. Space in our dormitories is limited, so please pack lightly. Training school students, remember that a backpack will work better for traveling during the outreach phase.

  • A pillow & sleeping bag or sheets & blanket for a twin-size mattress
  • Personal toiletries (soap, shampoo, tooth brush & paste, lotion, etc.)
  • Washcloth & towel
  • Personal medications
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher is required)
  • Canteen or water bottle (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  • Flashlight
  • Athletic shoes & shower shoes
  • Alarm clock
  • Bible / pens & notebooks
  • Proper clothing (Please ask the YWAM EP-J staff for the clothing guidelines for your outreach or training school)

Once You're Here

Our Facilities

Location

The administrative office of YWAM EP-J is located in El Paso, Texas. The YWAM EP-J training and outreach facilities and our children’s home are located on our campus just outside Juárez, Mexico. The name of our children’s home is Rancho Los Amigos. This campus is approximately a 40-minute drive from the El Paso office. Visit GuestLife to have an overview of the El Paso- Juárez area and read some interesting facts about our border location.

Telephone

There are no residential phone lines available at our campus in Mexico. Pay phones are within short walking distance if you need to use them (they require Mexican phone cards that you can purchase at local stores). Cell phones are allowed for certain programs with some restrictions. Signal strength varies based on your phone provider and your phone settings may need to be adjusted to avoid domestic or international roaming charges.

Internet

Wireless Internet connections are available at our El Paso office and the campus in Juárez. At this time we do not have a computer lab or Internet café available, so you must have your own laptop and wireless card (if applicable) to connect to the Internet. Certain guidelines will apply.

Mail / Post Office

There is no mail delivery to our campus in Mexico. Send all mail to the YWAM EP-J office in El Paso, Texas; if you are a volunteer, or student, please have your mail addressed here and list the program you are a part of (Ex. – YOUR NAME / DTS, c/o YWAM El Paso-Juárez, 4444 Edgar Park Avenue, El Paso, TX 79904). YWAM EP-J staff will deliver your mail to you. There is a U.S. Post Office near the El Paso office, so you can arrange the purchase of postal supplies with YWAM EP-J staff members traveling to El Paso.