Hear & See What God Did Last Year
Mexico Mission 2018 Recap
Over the past several years, New Harbor Church’s Mexico Mission Team has been partnered with full-time missionaries from a Christian organization in Baja California called Genesis Diez. Each summer their organization invites hundreds of children from the community and local orphanages to attend their summer camps - ALL PAID FOR BY SPONSORS and CHURCHES LIKE OURS.
For the second straight year, our team had the privilege to invite and minister to kids from a farming community called Santa Juquila. Material poverty exists in this community, which is why our church felt the need to raise money to buy clothes and shoes for the kids earlier this year. I’m happy to report that the clothes and the gifts were successfully delivered, and they will be put to good use. As you will see from the pictures, most of the kids did not have a change of clothes during the week. They played and swam in the same set of clothes throughout the week. Last year we also discovered that spiritual poverty also exists in this community. The children knew very little or have no knowledge of Jesus or the Gospel.
This year, 48 kids from Santa Juquila were able to come to the camp and we got to spend one week with them doing Vacation Bible School activities, games, arts & crafts, and we also took them on fun outdoor adventures. This was a week where the kids got to experience the love of Christ, learn Scripture and learn basic teachings from the Bible like love, gentleness, respect, kindness, and God’s incredible love for all His creation. And, this was a week where the kids got to be kids and experience new things for the first time with people who genuinely love and care for them.
"This was a week where the kids got to be kids... with people who genuinely love and care for them..."
Most of the Santa Juquila children live life as adults on a regular basis – they work for a living or they’re in charge of taking care of their younger siblings on their own. As you read this, the majority of the children are working in the fields earning money to help their families. We met kids who are uneducated and are living life in material poverty. We met kids who, instead of finishing their meal, they wanted to save it, so they knew they would have something to eat the next day. We met little girls who probably haven’t had their hair washed and brushed for a very long time. We met kids who were being bullied and we met kids who were the bullies. We met little girls who were so closed-off that they wouldn't speak or look at you. We met little boys who got into fights – one can assume that being hit or hitting is just a normal occurrence for them. We met young girls who are living life thinking that they’re not valuable or that they’re not as important as the boys or the men. We learned that the large majority of these children are growing up with no fathers – that in their community, it’s common for men to have multiple wives or partners.
I think that we, as human beings, can look at these kids’ broken situations and instantly feel hopeless and helpless. At times, it did feel like ministering to these kids was such an impossible task. And I’m not even including the communication challenges with our different languages. How could we possibly make an impact?
But throughout the week in Mexico, one central theme kept coming up. The theme was, “God, or faith in God, can move mountains”. In Matthew 17:20 it says, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing is impossible for you.”
We had to keep reminding ourselves that it’s not us who were going to save these kids or give them hope or rescue them from their situations. We’re weak and we are not saviors. It’s our job to lead these kids to the One and Only Savior. It was our job to love, but it’s God’s love that gives hope. Only God can take people out of the most tragic and broken situations because there’s no such thing as “impossible” with Him. We just need to have FAITH in Him!
Everything we did with the kids throughout the week, from the games we played to the field trips we took to the hours we spent just being with them, were designed for barriers to be broken, to develop trust, and to build relationships. All of these experiences led up to our final evening with the kids, when we had the chance to speak to them one-on-one, with the help of a translator, to express our love for them in words, to tell them about God’s love for them, and talk about God’s special invitation for them to be part of His family.
One of the most impactful moments from this year was when Pastor Josh, with the help of Martha Thomas, spoke directly to the kids. You can see a clip of this in the recap video above.
We ask that you please continue to pray for these kids and for the full-time missionaries who will continue to minister and disciple them. There’s so much more work to be done.
This mission trip was a true team effort. We want to thank our church family and all of those who supported us financially and through prayers. We want to thank New Harbor’s Children’s Ministry and Melanie Robbins for raising money to buy backpacks full clothes, shoes, hats, underwear, socks, art supplies, and Spanish Bibles for the kids … we showed you photos of that earlier. Jennifer and Tracy, we thank you for collecting extra white t-shirts and AWANA t-shirts from the church attic. The kids did not have a change of clothes after the beach, so we used them. So, the next time any of you visit the Ensenada area and you happen to see kids wearing bright red New Harbor AWANA t-shirts, you know how it got there. We want to thank Raymond and Denise Armstorff and Daniel and Lisa Malabuyo for lending us their vehicles. You don’t want to know where your cars have been so we’re extra thankful for your generosity. And finally, to God be the Glory! This is all His work. We just get to take part in it.