Last Sunday, 57 junior highers and 9 adults finished a trek across America in a charter bus, rented vans in San Diego, and crossed the border into Tecate. The sheer size of this group enabled us to plan a massive project in an inner-city neighborhood in Tecate. No other mission organizations or social programs have ever worked in this neighborhood besides Experience Mission, and our contacts in the area were extremely excited to have this group paint and refresh parts of their community.
During the week so far the group has transformed a drab, rundown neighborhood into a brightly colored, cheerful place for children to play and people to gather and socialize in the evenings. The basketball court has been freshly painted, two playgrounds have been renovated with fresh paint, wall murals, sand, new swings, and fences. The group even thought to use old tires as stair steps down a steep hill.
While it is exciting to observe the work the group has down in this community, even more importantly it is extraordinary how many relationships have been formed with the locals. Children have helped paint the walls, adults have opened their homes for us to use their restrooms and store our supplies overnight. Several youth have begun attending the evening programs, and we have been able to translate the messages. During free time, there is always a soccer game going on in the street with both youth from the community and the church group.
We have been able to help a community in need this week, which is exciting and a privilege to be a part of God’s work, but the lessons that both us as an EM staff have learned this week and this group has experienced has reminded us that through love we can all learn from one another. The generosity the people of Tecate have extended to our group this week has been tremendous and a powerful lesson for these youth to experience and strive to model with everyone they meet.
We’ve had a great first week – thank you for your prayers, and we are excited to see what God has in store for the remainder of this week.
May 24 through May 28, 2008, Miracle Camp in Lawton, Michigan opened its doors to interns from all over the Midwest, Washington, California and Canada to engage in their training with Experience Mission. Interns will be serving this summer with Experience Mission in sites and communities all over the United States, Mexico, Jamaica, and Costa Rica.
This week Team Tecate/Seattle finally met in person. The first two days were spent learning first aid, CPR, and wilderness medicine skills so we can ensure that all trip participants are kept safe. We learned that Yonathan is scared of blood so the girls will handle any emergency. We also spent time discussing the various responsibilities that interns have, and we divided these up amongst ourselves according to our prior experiences, skills, and passion for the area.
Experience Mission’s founder and director Chris Clum also spent an afternoon going over the philosophy and values of Experience Mission, and we took time as a team to discuss how these would be reflected in the work and relationships that we will be building in Tecate and Seattle. While there was a lot of business to be taken care of at training, we also found time for some team bonding through creative activities such as video projects, scavenger hunts, and boat building.
One afternoon, we had a scavenger hunt that lasted five hours and took us all over nearby Kalamazoo and Portage, Michigan. The last step of this scavenger hunt was to build a boat with at least four different supplies, on a limited budget, and the boat had to hold all three of us and be able to paddle around a quarter mile course on the lake. We built a very successful boat, and our team placed second. This activity was a lot of fun, and helped us to learn how to work together during situations that require efficient problem solving skills in a short period of time.
This summer will be an adventure, but we are ready to handle any curveballs that come our way and are looking forward to meeting the communities in Tecate and Seattle as well as working with the participants on our trips!
- Yonathan Moya, Sarah Lacy and Allison Butelo