Teams usually leave from the west coast of the United States and travel to Incheon, South Korea. Next is a 2-hour flight from Inchon to the Vladivostok International Airport. There, your passports and visas will be checked, and you will proceed to the luggage pickup area. Your bags may be weighed and opened. You may be asked the reason for your visit. Depending on the size of the team, our drivers and 2 to 4 cars will meet you at the airport. They will be waiting just outside the customs area.
It is about a 45-minute drive from the Vladivostok airport into town. You will be taken to your accommodations and can unpack and rest briefly before joining Fr. Myron or Fr. Dan for dinner. Work assignments and schedules will be discussed, tour and shopping possibilities will be presented, and a question-and-answer session will follow.
Team members generally stay at the rectory/parish office building, which has a number of dorm-type rooms. This building is adjacent to the church. In most cases, 2 rooms share an interconnecting bathroom. The building includes laundry facilities, a kitchen and dining area, a library and TV room, and a lounge area.
Bedding, towels, and toilet paper are provided, but you should bring your own toiletries and personal items. If you wish to use an electric hair dryer, shaver, or other device, you will need to bring an adapter plug suitable for Russian current.
Most days will be taken up with assigned tasks. You will not be working alone, but with others in your group, usually alongside your new Russian friends. You might be working in one facility (such as an orphanage) in the morning, and another facility (such as the church building) in the afternoon. Please plan on being flexible. We will have certain projects scheduled, such as restoring a building or a room in an orphanage, but please be aware that situations change, so things may not always work out as planned.
We will join for Holy Mass in the church each weekday. In the evenings, you will have the opportunity to relax, get to know some of our Russian helpers, and listen to speakers or cultural presentations. On Sunday, we will all join for Holy Mass at 12 noon, followed by a social hour with the parishioners.
Sufficient time will be provided for you to do some touring and shopping. Do not anticipate the same types of restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions that are common in the US. Our tour guides and translators are willing to lead you on organized tours and shopping excursions and will assist you in making purchases.
Mission teams generally prepare their own breakfasts, with food provided at the rectory. The priests join the teams for breakfast and activities for the day are discussed and finalized. Lunch is the main meal of the day and is served at 1:00 pm. Team members might get together for this meal, or, if away on a project, will eat elsewhere. Everyone generally fends for themselves for the evening meal. This may involve eating out, or preparing food left over from the large midday meal.
Meals hosted and cooked by parishioners are an option for a charge. These are home-cooked meals, safely prepared, and served in a friendly atmosphere. They afford women an opportunity to make a little extra money, and the parishioners love to have visitors as guests.
Your drivers, translators, cook, and guides will be covered by your daily room and board fee. You will cover any of your own personal needs such as bus transportation, meals out, or admission to cultural events or historic sites. The priests can give you advice on the best local places to visit, how to get there, and what to expect when you arrive.