Back to Mexico

The very first thing we did as a youth group when the Farra Tribe moved to Texas in 1995 was take a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico…before we even unboxed things in our new apartment. That yearly spring break trip would shape our personality as a youth group and influence who we became as a whole church for over 15 years.

For years, we raised money, stockpiled tools and camping gear, collected donated food, and mobilized teams of kids and adult leaders to make our yearly 1300-mile round trip through west Texas nothingness, to build houses for people living in poverty.

We would load vans and trucks and trailers and buses full of nervous expectations and servant hearts.  We would always come back changed people with a different view of ourselves and the world we lived in here in Lewisville.  On those trips, we always felt a little closer to what Jesus called his followers to do in the world and a little better prepared to do it at home, also.

Then it all changed.

In March of 2010, we made our last youth group trip to Juarez. That was the year the local drug cartels made open war with each other and travel to Juarez became too risky.  Even though things got back to normal in just a few years, Amor Ministries (the organization that always managed our trip) had decided to close down mission trips in that area for good.

I had always hoped we could take kids back to Juarez.  A couple of weeks ago, that hope became a reality as we took a small group back to where our life in Texas began 24 years ago.  I am grateful to Amor Ministries for making the trip possible…for connecting our youth ministry to the group of Mexican pastors in Juarez who have continued the work of building homes for people in need and to the local church that hosted our group.

The trip was very different than the way we used to do it back in the old days.  We stayed inside a nice church building and shared fellowship with some pretty sweet church folks.  Gone were the dusty tents and bucket showers and temporary banos. It was anything but roughing it.

The work project was like old times, tho.  We raised a bunch of money to pay for building materials and supplies.  We cut and hammered and nailed and mixed and rolled and stretched and spread.  And in the end, we passed on a set of keys and a Bible and some hope of a better life for a young family and their parents.

The house isn’t much by our standards.  It’s an 11-foot by 22-foot, wood framed, stucco coated, asphalt roofed building.  Not much bigger than a bedroom or a backyard storage shed here in our burgh. But to the family that received it, the gift is a treasure.

It was good to be back.  It was good to get our priorities realigned.  It was good to be reminded we have more than enough and that, as a church, we spend way too much money and attention on ourselves, our building, our technology, and our experience…all in the name of kingdom building.

I’m glad we get to go back. We’re better now.


4 thoughts on “Back to Mexico

  1. “It was good to be reminded we have more than enough and that, as a church, we spend way too much money and attention on ourselves, our building, our technology, and our experience…all in the name of kingdom building.” This comment hit the nail on the head for me. Just had a discussion in our church bc of a Saturday activity that is scheduled to take place after the weekly cleaning of the building and the concern that things would not be perfect for Sunday morning. I said better that someone come in and see ministry and life happening in the building than to see a perfect building and dead ministry.

    Yes I get we have to take care of the building and all that, but often the building become way to important. I don’t think in the judgment line (and I could be wrong) but I really don’t think anyone is going to say “well you failed to dust and vacuum after Saturday class and bc of the untidiness of the building people were not saved”.

    Loved your story. Thank you and your church for serving.

    1. I’m 64 and have been doing this church leadership thing for 46 years…and I’m still amazed at how much we love us some church buildings! Smh.

  2. Those trips were some of the most humbling, rewarding, transformative weeks of my life. Thank you for having the vision and perseverance to make them happen.

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