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Mexico Mission Trip 2006
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    On July 8, 2006, forty-six people from Grass Valley, Auburn, Paradise and Orcas Island, Washington sat in a small Seventh-day Adventist Church in El Cereo, Mexico. We sat on wooden pews, freshly painted a light taupe color, by our mission group the day before. The sanctuary was only about 25 ft x 30 ft, and packed full with our mission group and the local Mexican Adventists—all of us praising God and singing hymns in our own language. It was a hot, sunny day, about 90 degrees with no air conditioning, yet none of us there would have wanted to be anywhere else at that time. The reason was because of the remarkable week we had just finished.          >>
    We all met at the San Diego airport the Sunday prior. After a 2 hour drive south, we arrived at the Bethseda Mission in Uruapan, Baja Mexico. The mission, on top of a hill with beautiful views of the green valley below, is operated by Mission Network International (MNI). MNI is based in Lynden, Washington, with a board primarily comprised on Seventh-day Adventists. Mission teams from Walla Walla, Loma Linda and various SDA church and school groups had preceded us. We were greeted by Angela, the caretaker/cook/hostess, who runs the mission. She is an excellent cook, preparing fresh, homemade Mexican food every day. The handmade tamales and sopas were a particular favorite.
     Our work week, Monday through Friday, was extremely busy. We would have breakfast by 7:30AM, followed by morning worship, then out to our projects by about 9AM.  The group was divided up into teams on a volunteer basis.  The medical/ dental team ran a clinic in Uruapan, and then took a mobile unit out to the local migrant camps in the afternoons or evenings.  We saw about 150 patients during the week, with dental and vision being the most popular. Though we wish we could have seen more patients or done more for their needs, we were told by the director and founder of the mission that our medical service was the most effective to date.  Praise God for that!
      The construction work was headed up by David Filipps and Garrison Chaffee, who gave out work assignments and helped supervise the work. The orphanage being built is one of ten planned for this site.  It also has an excellent location on a hilltop with spectacular views of the valley.  Our team poured two concrete pads, built trusses, dug ditches for sewage lines and leech fields, helped finish the rough electrical, painted trim and began some brick and mortar work. It was impressive to see people doing work outside of their trained professions, working with such skill and enthusiasm.
     The Vacation Bible School was lead by Sara Griesert and Jeanette Wahlen.  VBS was held in the Uruapan Community Center during the week, and also taken as a special program to an orphanage in Ensenada.  This team also participated in sorting out all the clothes and toys donated by our church family.  One of the highlights was handing out these supplies to people who desperately needed them.  The appreciation on their faces was priceless and unforgettable.  This is only one example of many experiences that gave us an opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities and renew our relationship with our great and generous God.
      Each night we would gather for evening vespers.  The theme was service to God, but somehow the stories and lessons seemed more relevant in this setting.  Working in the mission field re-focuses our attention away from ourselves, and towards those around us.  In response to all your prayers, God truly blessed this trip, providing us with divine appointments, protection from harm, and granting a deep sense of joy and satisfaction that can only come from service to Him.  We felt a true sense of humility that God could use our limited talents and resources and multiply it to become a blessing to others.  It is true that through God all things are possible!  We look forward to the opportunity to serve Him on future mission trips.

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