—By Father David DO921 7 July 1980
1. (MARIA: IS EVERYONE SUPPOSED TO TAKE CARAVANS & CAMPERS TO SOUTH AMERICA? Even if they can afford it & manage to get them on a boat, they're going on run into all kinds of troubles & exorbitant import duties worth more than the vehicles, & still not be allowed to keep them there! They're going to be completely surprised at how difficult & expensive it is, if not impossible!) "Mobility in South America" might be a good title for this one, a special notice & warning to those hoping to take campers & caravans to South America!
2. THE CAMPING & CARAVANING SERIES ON THE MOBILE MINISTRY WAS WRITTEN PARTICULARLY FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE REMAINED AT HOME or had to return home to North America or Europe because you couldn't make it on the field or for various other reasons. It was to try to keep you mobile & still ministering though at home, where campers & caravans & camping is common & places to camp are plentiful, & of course, anywhere else in the World where it's practical & possible.
3. BUT TO TRY TO SHIP YOUR CAMPERS OR TRAILERS OVERSEAS‚ such as from North America or Europe to South America, can be a monumental extremely expensive project if not totally impossible! Besides‚ you would have to keep travelling from country to country as your tourist time or visas expired, to keep from having to pay exorbitant & extravagant import duties on your vehicles, which can amount to even more than their actual value or original prices, & the cost of shipping overseas can also amount to almost the original prices!
4. SO YOU COULD BE TRIPLING THE ORIGINAL COST OF YOUR CAMPER OR CARAVAN BY TRYING TO SHIP IT OVERSEAS to the field of your choice! So unless you are able to drive it there overland yourself to such countries as Mexico & those of Central America, leave it home! Actually, normal housing is very inexpensive in most of Latin America compared to most of Europe & North America.
5.--AND FOR SECURITY, YOU WOULD BE MORE INCONSPICUOUS & FIT IN BETTER WITH THE LOCAL SCENE IN AN APARTMENT OR COTTAGE or even in a villa in Latin America than in a camper! Camping is North America's & Europe's national family pastime & you are lost amongst the millions! But in Latin America you could stick out like a sore thumb!
6. HOWEVER, IF YOU MUST BE MOBILE IN LATIN AMERICA & prefer it, then you'd be money ahead to go there first & buy your camper on the scene; or better yet, buy a bus or truck there & convert it into a camper. Then you've not expensive shipping to pay & no excessive import duties.—And then you also won't look as much like one of those "muy ricos Americanos"!
7. ONLY THE RICH CAN AFFORD CAMPERS & CARAVANS IN LATIN AMERICA & you'll be a target for theft, robbery & everything else travelling around in campers & caravans in those poor countries, as has already happened to some! The camper & trailering series was obviously based on our own personal experiences in North America & the later experiences of others in Europe‚ & was not designed for the poorer countries of the World, including Latin America.
8. CAMPING & CARAVANING ARE FAIRLY COMMON IN MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA, to which you can drive yourself, but quite uncommon in the countries of South America & the Caribbean Islands, to which you would have to be rich enough to afford to ship your vehicles to begin with, then rich enough to pay the heavy duties equal to the value of the vehicles, & then rich enough to travel around from country to country to keep them from being confiscated, & strong enough to defend yourselves from thieves & robbers!
9. SO FRANKLY, I DO NOT CONSIDER THAT CAMPING & CARAVANING ARE NECESSARILY THE BEST CHOICE OF A MODE OF MINISTRY FOR LATIN AMERICA, particularly South America or the Caribbean Islands, except perhaps in a few exceptional cases. Some have made it & perhaps you can, but normally I wouldn't advise it.
10. LEAVE YOUR VEHICLES AT HOME parked in relatives', friends' or neighbours' yards to come home to for that much-needed & well-deserved furlough, to travel around in & continue a mobile ministry at home raising more support for your field.
11. OR LET OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS USE THEM while you're gone, keeping them as a home base, or sell them to help raise your fare & support abroad. I would not normally advise camping or caravaning in South America. It is both too expensive & too dangerous as well as too conspicuous, & it will draw more attention to you than living in an apartment or a cottage, & be more trouble than it's worth.
12. LEAVE YOUR CARAVANS AT HOME!—Or sell them for your fare.—Or drive them to Mexico & Central America only. Don't try to ship them overseas or import them into those foreign countries—it's entirely too costly! It will cost you much more than they're worth‚ & will be much less useful & practical than at home, & more dangerous!
13. OF COURSE, IF YOU'RE ALREADY THERE & MANAGED SOMEHOW TO BRING YOUR CAMPER OR CARAVAN with you & are managing to survive, God bless you! Let us know how you did it & how it goes. But for the most of you & for most places in Latin America, I wouldn't advise it.
14. KEEP IT FOR A HOME BASE OR SELL IT FOR YOUR SUPPORT, OR GIVE IT OR LOAN IT TO A FAMILY at home that needs it. Don't try to take it with you, I wouldn't say you can't take it with you‚ but it's most likely going to cost you more than it's worth & not be nearly as practical to use there as at home.
15. IT MIGHT BE USEFUL FOR NATIONALS OF THOSE COUNTRIES who can buy or build their own for local travel, but it's not likely to be practical for strangers who must go from country to country through all the customs‚ import taxes, duties & so on of the various borders.—Not to speak of the horrible roads in some places & the highwaymen in others, where people are so poor they are tempted to kill you just for your shoes!
16. SORRY‚ BUT CAMPING & CARAVANING ARE NOT PRACTICAL OR SOMETIMES EVEN POSSIBLE IN MOST SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES. So I'd advise you to leave them at home. You probably won't need this advice when you find out how much it's going to cost to ship them, & how much that country is going to charge you import duty to get it into the country, or what a short time they'll let you keep it there!
17. SO YOU MOBILE MINISTERS IN CAMPING CONSCIOUS NORTH AMERICA & EUROPE‚ ENJOY YOURSELVES while you can where you are, as camping & caravaning are really not for South America. Rent an apartment, cottage or villa, & a truck when you have to move‚ & leave your campers & caravans at home for future furloughs.
18. THEY MAKE GOOD PLACES TO COME HOME TO so you won't be so dependent upon the home folks for housing when you do come home. But better yet, give, loan or sell it to other members of the Family who are staying at home or only going as far as Mexico or Central America, so they can continue to be useful in the Lord's Service.—Amen? So praise the Lord anyhow!
19. IT WAS FUN WHILE IT LASTED!—HA!—Wasn't it? It was a great idea for North America & Europe, but it doesn't exactly work well in most other places in the World, except perhaps Australia, & it would certainly cost you more than it's worth to ship it there! Besides it's too difficult for foreigners to remain in Australia‚ & the Australians have their own.
20. SO GOT BLESS & KEEP YOUR CARAVANS AT HOME! P.S. We've receiving some amazing report of some who are making it with their caravans in South America, having gotten them there by some miracle, but these are definitely the supernatural exceptions & not the rule! So unless you've had some direct revelation otherwise & have unusual faith to perform miracles, my advice to you average Family members is still the same!!
—LEAVE YOUR CARAVAN AT HOME!—Let some other Family members use it who can't go.—It'll be so nice to come home to on your next fund-raising furlough!—And for a good well earned rest! Until then, having heard all the pros & cons, my average advice for the average is still:--LEAVE'M HOME!—Love Dad.