Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Day In Mexico


Last week my son and I accompanied others from our church on a one day mission trip to Mexico.  AMOR Ministries (American Mission for Orphans and Refugees) works to alleviate the plight of migrants worldwide. 

Original home of family, the blue barrel is their drinking water

Throughout Central America millions of migrants seeking a better life have streamed to the northern border regions of Mexico.  Maquiladoras (foreign owned factories) are expanding to provide much needed jobs in these regions, but the migrants keep streaming in and joblessness is still rampant.


These migrants form an especially poor underclass within Mexico.  Some will stream across the border, but most will stay and try to make it in Mexico.  A curious thing I have noticed is that in San Diego, the valleys have been long filled in with housing and businesses.  Newer, more upscale housing is being added, but the only place to build is in the hills.  In San Diego the higher you are the richer you are.  In the hills surrounding Tijuana the opposite is true.  The higher you go the poorer and more desperate it gets, because that is the only place to build a house.

We met at the church at 6:30, drove about 15 miles to the AMOR office in San Ysidro to get our escort.  We were at the border, a half hour later.  The Federales pulled us over to the secondary inspection.  There is something unnerving about seeing soldiers with M-16’s wearing masks, but that is what is needed to keep these soldiers and their families safe.  A quick check in the back of the van and they let us go.  I am often asked why I take the risk to go to Mexico, and why would I take my son.  The truth is that sometimes we have to take risks in order to serve people.  I would also like to point out that AMOR takes precautions to keep their volunteers safe.  I feel safer in the neighborhoods overlooking Tijuana, than in parts of San Diego.

The worksite was very close and today we would be laying the foundation for a new house.  The thing that always strikes me is what the family is living in.  The new house is built in three separate trips to the worksite, but the number of trips can be lengthened if the work group is slow or inexperienced.  I have no technical training in construction, but most of the work requires no technical training.  If your group doesn’t have this training, then the AMOR staff will lead you through each step.  You just need to go once and you will be hooked.

The homeowner (left w/ son) helps us build

My first trip with AMOR bothered me a little in that it felt like our work was just a drop in the bucket, but once you begin to recognize the outline of an AMOR house you can start to see the effects of hard work over time.  AMOR has completed over 15,000 houses for families in need!!!  Now I can just look around a neighborhood and pick out the houses.  In addition, the families that were help are overwealmed with gratitude.

  The other thing that brings me solace is knowing that AMOR allows the local pastors to choose which families are in the most dire need and determine the order in which families get their house.  Our effort in building these houses empowers the local pastors in their effort to bring people to Christ.  Our job as missionaries is to just show the love of Christ.

            It was a little harder to walk away from this trip, because I knew the family would have to wait a little longer to move in, but I knew that other faithful servants of Christ would be there to finish the job.  

 I was so proud of my son Spencer.  He worked very all day hard filling wheelbarrows with sand and gravel.   The Sunday prior to the trip, Spencer had been baptized by his own choice. I had the privilege of leading him to Christ following our church’s Vacation Bible School when he was six.  I can see that the love of Christ dwells in him fully. There is no greater feeling to see your children choosing God.