They had just returned from their journey to Tijuana and Ensenada, Mexico. Spending hours a day building, painting, cooking, teaching and assisting could wipe anyone out — especially for two full weeks. But the youth at New Hope Church were ready to share their experiences, including the hopes of further extending their service in the future.
Partnering with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), 38 participating members of New Hope, ages 5 to 60, split up to serve at the two Mexico locations. In Tijuana the volunteers worked on updating and making repairs to an orphanage. Those who did not participate in the actual structure maintenance played games and soccer with the children living there. A church building, as well as its sponsored halfway house, received care from the members in Ensenada.
But builds were a very small part of the trip as New Hope members served the communities through a variety of means. They cooked 35 gallons of soup and served it to thousands of deportees who are now living in ditches, taught young children basic hygiene skills and even prayed over the Red Light District.
Through participating in these events, the youth learned a lot about the culture and some even learned more about themselves.
“I kind of expected gangs and corruption,” said 16-year-old Connor. “But we felt comfortable walking down the street.” Youth Pastor David Hickman added that many members of the congregation worried for the group’s safety and were hesitant about the trip’s destination. However, all who went had nothing but good to say about the locals.
“I was impressed by how they care for their own,” said congregation member Melisa.
“They have nothing, but share everything they have,” remarked Hickman, recalling a Tijuana family who prepared food for their neighbors. Many New Hope members enjoyed the interaction, finding it was amazing they were able to communicate with those who did not speak the same language.
Both Cooper, 17, and Katie, 20, expressed interest in participating in YWAM’s short-term summer staff next year in Mexico. Katie, who has served in other international missions, suggests to those seeking out a location to volunteer and to explore all opportunities.
“You think your heart is somewhere,” she said, “but really your heart is just in serving.”
Until their next expedition, members of New Hope Church will continue to serve their community as well as their own households.
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