Happy Throwback Thursday, dear readers! Today is a special edition as we focus on 2006. It was nine lovely years ago when YFBC launched the Mexico Mission Trip as part of our current ministry programing. (Let's just take a moment to thank the Lord for the past seven amazing trips and for letting us be a part of His work in Mexico!) This time next week we will be on the road again - day one of our 3000 KM journey to Tijuana, Mexico!
The idea started with a desire to take junior staff members on a mission trip in order to train and develop them as servant leaders for our camp ministry and in our churches. Being a camp staff member means making sacrifices in order to serve. A trip to Mexico to build a house for a deserving family seemed like a great way to put the idea of sacrifices into perspective. We have so much and we need to be thankful for it. As a camp we need to be thankful for all we have as well, and as a camp organization we desired to look for more ways to help those less fortunate -both across the street and around the world. We are all about sharing Jesus and providing a place to serve. (Read more about our Mission and Vision here) Why should this stop in our local communities and not expand to our global communities? A mission trip to Mexico seemed to accomplish these goals!
True evangelical faith cannot lie dormant. It clothes the naked, it comforts the sorrowful, it shelters the destitute, it serves those that harm it, it builds up that which is wounded.
In 2006, Mark and his trusted co-leaders, Conrad Jantzen and Kendra Fehr, meet 8 sleepy-eyed but EXCITED teenagers in Saskatoon at 6am in order to begin the adventure ahead. Traveling down the familiar Saskatchewan highways, crossing the US boarder, and onto the winding roads through the Rocky Mountains 11 faithful followers could only imagine what was in store for them. Late that first night, Tim Satterfield welcomed the group to First Mennonite Church in Aberdeen, Idaho. (A huge THANK YOU to Tim and his church. This has continued to be the first place we rest our heads on the trip and we are so grateful for your hospitality and kindness!) After another long day of driving, a good nights rest, and a Sunday morning in San Diego, California, the 11 faithful followers arrived at Amor Ministries Headquarters, ready to cross the boarder into Mexico. (Read more about Amor here) A few short hours later the moment had arrived, the 11 faithful followers stepped into their temporary home, a simple bit of land, ready to become their campsite.
Monday morning rose with anticipation and readiness. The Estrafon Chavez family had been eagerly awaiting their arrival. The deserving family whose house the 11 faithful followers would build. The Estrafon Chavez family of six lived in a community called 'Lomas del Valle' in Tijuana. They were buying the land to live on but a small total family income was not enough to put a house on this land. Their current 1 room 'house' was in poor condition, made of used lumber with an unusable roof made of tar paper. They had stated their gratitude in advance with a message to the team, "Thank God for ministries like these that help the poor families."
The YFBC team was ready. Ready to build a solid foundation, four sturdy walls and a reliable roof. How would they know what to do, you ask? Howard Major to the rescue! Howie worked for Amor at the time and guided the 11 faithful followers in building this new home that would keep this family together, and encouraged the team as their hearts would change because they had come to serve, and as their lives would be transformed by hope. All of this was, and is still, done without the help of power tools, empowering the families with examples of what they can do for themselves to maintain and improve their homes once a team is gone. Thank you, Howie, for your leadership, guidance, and passion. We caught your mission and vision and keep coming back for more!
Above: The 11 faithful followers: Brittani, Kimberly, Mitchell, Angie, Dawnette, Tegan, Clint, Tabitha, Mark, Conrad, Kendra, and three members of the happy home owning family.
A home was build, tents were packed up, the dust remained on the shoes of 11 faithful followers. It was time to head back to Canada, 3000 KM of highways ahead, to process the experience behind them. All tired, but the good kind of tired. All ready to get back home, but a home that was more than just the stuff in it.
This time next week, we will be heading out on that now familiar highway, 12 faithful followers, ready to build a home for a deserving family, the Yañez Soriano family, eagerly awaiting our arrival.
Please pray for our team as we finish preparing for our trip, pray for safety as we travel down to Tijuana, and pray for a transforming service experience as we build this home. Check back here for blog updates as we write daily about our 2015 trip. (Read more about our Mexico Mission Trip here)
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. - Luke 9:23-26