(scroll to end to see more Baja photos)
On December 28th at 8am, our team met up in Carlsbad and piled into four 15-passenger vans, loaded with our luggage and supplies. We headed south, went through the border without a hitch and made our way down the beautiful Baja coastline, into the agricultural region. By 3pm we arrived at our destination — Vicente Guerrero, about a quarter of the way down the Baja peninsula.
Our team was the joint effort of four different ministries: Kids Around the World, Baja Christian Ministries, Foundation for His Ministry, and 19 of us from Circle of Concern. All together we were over 50 strong, more than 15 under the age of 18.
Thursday morning we started bright and early and made our way to Open Arms Ministry in Camalu, about 15 minutes up the road. We met the directors Daniel and Heidi who are an amazing couple!
Daniel shared his story with us and why Open Arms exists. Because Daniel grew up in an orphanage, beginning at the age of 7, he has struggled with feeling abandoned and unloved. Instead of holding onto his bitterness and hurt, he decided to try to make a difference. Through Open Arms, Daniel and Heidi help keep children who have at least one living parent out of orphanages, and care for kids who would otherwise wander the streets while their parents are at work. They provide a no-cost daycare service to them, touching the lives of the families and preventing childhood abandonment one child at a time. For more of their story visit, openarmsmexico.org
The team was blessed to install two playgrounds at Open Arms, one for older kids and one for younger. Saturday morning we had a dedication ceremony, and then opened them to the kids to play on. Watching the kids rush onto the playground with such joy is a great feeling of accomplishment! These playgrounds will be a great tool for Open Arms and their future.
We also held our free Eyeglass Clinic, Family Photos and Kids Ministry both days. These always provide the community with love and care and gives great exposure to our local partner, this time Open Arms.
This trip Eric and Heather from Baja Christian Ministries joined from Tijuana to help us. BCM’s goal is to see one million disciples in Mexico. Along with sharing the Gospel, they also provide a free discipleship “Purple” book and partner with a local pastor to follow up with folks to help them in their walk with Jesus.
We went house to house and invited folks to the local park. Both days this gathered about 100 people. A few of us shared a short testimony, and then the gospel message was shared and folks and we prayed for their needs. This was the highlight for many of us, and knowing that the Pastor will be following up with those who said YES to Jesus is such a great feeling. COC is honored to have had the opportunity to bless this community. We thank each of you for your prayers and financial support! Together we are making a difference!
We hope to see many of you at our Santa Ana Park Day April 29th!
May 2017 be a year of spiritual growth and blessing for you,