Green Valley Community Church has been serving down in Baja for the past ten years on a Missions trip to spread the love of Jesus Christ to the people of Mexico; by building two homes over two weeks, while serving in an orphanage and taking day trips to the former garbage dump of Tijuana (Canyon).
This year, 92 of us that call Green Valley Community Church our home, served on this Missions trip. We had 48 participants week one and 44 serving week two.
During the first week, we built a home for Hilda and her family, Hilda has been on the list for a couple of years. She speaks English and is quite a fun person to be around, as was her incredible nephew Kevin. Hilda is one of 21 children. While her son was in school with the plan to be a Doctor - the plan changed. They just could not afford it and so he is going to pursue another passion - cooking. He will soon be starting culinary school.
On the second week, we built a home for Antonio and Alejandra and their two young children; this family has been waiting a long time for a home. Antonio works on a horse ranch and Alejandra does not work outside of the home. They were living with their parents and two others in a very small house.
One of the requirements of being on the list to have a house built is to have a slab pre-poured. This is very expensive and most cannot afford it. They must borrow and make payments on the money. Antonio and Alejandra have been waiting 5-6 years since having the foundation ready. They found out about a week before our arrival that Green Valley Community Church was coming down to build them a home.
These homes are built with love and meet all the building regulations of a home being built here in the States. Each home took about 3 ½ days to complete! If that seems pretty fast…. it is! It’s amazing what forty plus people can accomplish with great construction leaders and a common goal. Each house consists of 3 bedrooms, one bath, 600 sq. ft. wood-framed structure on concrete foundation, complete electrical, finished sheet rock, shingle composition roofing and plywood siding.
While building a home for someone that has little to nothing is an awesome experience, it doesn’t compare to doing it in the name of Jesus Christ! Sharing Christ’s love and giving hope and compassion to those who truly do not possess many physical things is something that is hard to explain, but is something that I pray everyone has the opportunity to experience.
DOOR OF FAITH ORPHANAGE (DOFO)
While serving in Baja, we had the pleasure of staying at the Door of Faith Orphanage (DOFO) in La Misión. This orphanage is run by amazing people of faith. And, while the 100 +/- children there do not have a traditional family, they are very fortunate to be growing up in a family-style atmosphere with “parents” that truly love them and allow them to be kids with individual personalities.
My wife and I and our two sons went on our first Mission trip to Baja four years ago; upon our arrival at DOFO, I was expecting to feel sorry for a bunch of sad, dirty children living in a sterile, unremarkable institutional complex. What I discovered was a bunch of clean, happy, God loving, silly kids that were living in a very caring family-style environment rich in color and personality. I truly believe that while these children may not be living with biological family, they are living with a very large loving family and may very well be some of the lucky ones, both in Mexico and the USA.
Our trips into the Canyon were very emotional. While we know that poverty exists in too many places around the world; I’ve never seen poverty to this level before. In my youth, my family lived in the projects and looking back, to American standards, we were poor, but that kind of poor doesn’t compare to the poor living in the retired garbage dumps in Tijuana. We went there to serve and Minister the word of Jesus Christ. But, in reality, we were served and ministered to. We met some very amazing people who taught us the true meaning of Faith. I am very strong in my faith and I have a very close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ who I’ve accepted as my Savior. But, many of the people in this community have the kind of limitless faith that I desire, a faith that is without question. The love of Christ is so strong for many of the people that we encountered; it makes me examine my own faith and makes me want that kind of a relationship with Jesus, one without question. When asked how he is doing, a well-known gentleman raising his family in the Canyon responds “I have good days and I have very good days”. I want that kind of faith.
Just as we found at DOFO, there are amazing Christians serving the “least of these” in the Canyon. I won’t mention their names because I don’t want to make them uncomfortable, but God has moved them and they are making a difference in the lives of this community. I am grateful for their unwavering love and commitment to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ’s name and for being great ambassadors and examples for us.
We went on this Missions trip to spread the love of Jesus Christ and to give these people living in extreme poverty love, hope, compassion and to share the grace of Jesus. And, while I’m sure that we were successful in doing so, many of us received so much more in return.
I feel very fortunate to be born in the USA, not by anything special that I’ve done, just like the people we encountered in Baja are living in extreme poverty, not by anything that they’ve done wrong. I do not feel guilty for being blessed and living where I live with all of the conveniences that I take for granted daily. I pray that you don’t either. I will challenge you to read Matthew 25:40 and ask: What are you going to do with the blessings that God has put in your life?
We have many needs in our own community. This is an area that I truly love about Green Valley Community Church, and you don’t need to look far to find somewhere to serve. You certainly don’t need to travel to another country, although if you do, God will most certainly wreck you and break your heart for what breaks His.
If you’re not currently serving or would like to check out other serving opportunities, please check in at the Welcome Center in the lobby and get connected. Or, simply show up on any Saturday at Common Ground.
Common Ground is our Saturday Outreach where we get to serve our community of senior citizens, low income families and our friends without homes every Saturday, 52 weeks a year. We serve an average of 270 breakfasts, assist 130 families with groceries and distribute about 1,600 articles of clothing every Saturday of the year! No need to register or schedule, just show up at 7:00 AM, we serve until 11:00 AM.
By Bruce Lacher
Community Care Director
at Green Valley Community Church
2017 Mexico Mission Dates:
Week 1 - July 8 - 15
Week 2 - July 15 - 22