Find answers here to all the frequently asked questions about the Latin Link Stride programme
We are looking for committed evangelical Christians who are actively involved in their church. Applicants should be flexible, able to show initiative, open to learn and able to demonstrate a reasonable degree of independence. The minimum age is 18 years (unless applying as a family) and there is no maximum age.
We read it through carefully and then usually send you an email inviting you to a Stride information day at our offices in Reading. We will also contact your referees and ask them to give us their views on your suitability for Stride.
If you are based in Ireland or Scotland, the relevant Area Coordinator will contact you to arrange a meeting and interview.
We recommend that you carefully consider the challenge of short-term mission and that you pray and seek the advice of Christian friends and your church leaders before submitting your application form.
We also have a responsibility to be confident that you are emotionally and physically able to serve on Stride, and therefore it is important that you are 100% honest with us throughout your application. In some cases we will ask applicants for a second interview, or will seek further advice and Psychological Clearance as a condition of your acceptance on the Stride programme. For all Striders we would seek to have adequate support structures in place for the duration of your placement. We also ask all applicants to complete a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check, as Striders will often be involved in youth and children’s work.
We require everyone who goes on Stride to get medical clearance from Thrive Worldwide before they leave for Latin America.
You will need to have some vaccinations before you go to Latin America. Please note that you are responsible for the cost of these, though we will give you a letter that may help you to get a discount at your GP surgery or travel clinic.
As part of the orientation course there will be training on how to stay healthy in Latin America.
We will give you specific advice about this at the Stride information day, and continuing support and encouragement as you begin your fundraising. There are many ways in which Striders have raised funds in the past, including charitable trust funds, donations from friends and family, church mission committees, sponsored events and earnings.
Pray, trust that God will provide, and actively seek to raise the support – and the money will come in.
Once you have been offered and have accepted your place on the Stride programme, we will draw up a profile of you, based on your application, interview and references. We will then seek to match you with an available placement. Once a placement has been fixed, the Short Term Coordinator (STC) in the country where you will be placed will organise other aspects, such as a mentor, accommodation and language study.
We always take into consideration people’s personal preferences. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet any specific requirements.
We don’t have specific application deadlines because we process Stride applications as we receive them. However, we strongly recommend that you apply five to six months before you hope to go on Stride. This gives you plenty of time to raise support for your Stride placement, to practise your Spanish/Portuguese, and gives us enough time to organise your placement.
The STC who organised your placement will spend some time with you at the end of your placement as a form of debrief, to allow you to reflect on your experiences. Then when you get back to Britain or Ireland, usually a month or so after your return, we will meet with you to chat things through, and help you to reflect in depth on how your experience has impacted you and how it might help you in the future. You will also be invited to a debrief weekend for all those who have returned from Step projects or Stride placements during that year. This is usually held in November, and is a great chance to catch up with others you may not have seen since orientation, as well as to reflect as a group on what you have seen and done, and to think about the future.
Most Striders depart for Latin America in February. We can, however, take into account your circumstances if they would prevent you leaving at that time of year.
We offer placements on the Stride programme lasting for between 6 and 24 months. If you are not fluent in the language, we ask that add an additional 1-3 months intensive language study on to the beginning of your placement, depending on your level. Communication is key to the success of your placement.
Most Striders study the language intensively at the beginning of their placement, so it’s not usually a problem if you don’t already speak Spanish (for most countries in Latin America) or Portuguese (for Brazil). However, we would encourage you to begin lessons before departing for Stride, and to put as much effort into learning the language as you can. You should expect to spend 1-3 months studying the language intensively in-country if you come with minimal or no prior knowledge of it.
Most Striders are placed with a local Christian host family. Couples and families are more likely to rent their own apartment, though this is also an option for some individual Striders.
All accepted Striders must complete an orientation course before departure. The aim is to prepare and equip you for your time away. The cost of orientation is included in your Stride launch fees. Stride orientations split into two sections: the Latin Link residential weekend, held in Wokingham, and the Theological training, held at All Nations Christian College in Hertfordshire.
Yes, but don’t panic! We will help you find good routes and deals through our Travel Management Company and you’re covered by their ATOL licence.
The cost of joining the Latin Link medical emergency and travel insurance policy is covered by your Stride monthly fees. Our policy has been specifically designed to fit the requirements of volunteers on the programme.
You must arrange your own insurance cover if you choose to travel after the end of your Stride placement.
Everyone on Stride becomes part of the Latin Link team in their country. Each Strider has a Short Term Coordinator (STC) and a mentor who are on hand in Latin America and who help to oversee the placement details and offer pastoral support and guidance.
The office team in Britain and Ireland is also available to offer support in various ways throughout the whole process.
To encourage the Latin American Church – years of experience in mission have shown us how much the Latin American Church values the support given by Striders. Not only are churches helped by the practical help that Striders offer, but also through the support, friendship and personal testimony given by the Strider.
To develop as an individual – many Striders return home with stories of how God has impacted their own lives as they served him.
Research has shown that poor preparation is one of the main reasons people come home earlier than anticipated from serving in a cross-cultural setting. We see training at a Bible or mission training college as a key element of preparation, giving your faith a firm grounding and helping you to understand some of the cross-cultural issues you are likely to face. We recommend that anyone going on Stride considers a short course at Bible college; however, it is not compulsory. If you are interested we can give some pointers to particular courses and colleges.
For those looking at longer-term service with Latin Link, we generally require you to complete a minimum of one year at a mission training college, depending on the type of ministry you expect to be involved with. For example, if you are looking at lecturing at a Bible college, you will need at least a degree or more likely a Masters or PhD in a theological/missiological subject; if you are more interested in social action, one year may be sufficient. This training can be undertaken before the initial Stride placement or afterwards; in some cases, it might be possible to do this while in Latin America.
As well as providing self-contained placements of up to 24 months, Stride is designed to be a foundational time for those envisaging longer-term service with Latin Link. Stride gives you the opportunity to see whether you are really suited to cross-cultural mission and whether Latin Link is the right avenue for you. It also allows Latin Link to get to know you, and to see how the relationship works.
If you hope to extend your service, there is a further application process to join the Stay programme. This will usually involve a return to Britain or Ireland, as we want the transition to longer-term service to include a morale-boosting time of vision-sharing with your supporters. The invitation to serve on the Stay programme is made, as with the Stride programme, subject to medical and psychological clearance, and an appropriate placement being found and agreed. This might involve returning to where you did your Stride placement, or somewhere different.