On Jan 14/10 a small caravan of 4 vehicles (2 pick-up trucks, a truck camper and a motorhome) and its 16 passengers – 14 field workers (Erma, Dennis, Norm, Sharon, Christina, Tim, Warren, George, Victor, Josephina, Hannibal, Nancy, Abram & Emily) and a couple who needed transportation to Guerrero Negro, left Erma’s compound at 6:00 a.m. Guerrero Negro-bound, the first leg of our mission trip. It is about a 4 hour drive south of Vicente Guerrero. Abram drove the motorhome as he was the most experienced driver for this task and it was used as his residence shared with Emily & Odessa. Emily was in charge … … of the kitchen which provided food for the team. It was a pleasant drive until we reached Nuevo Rosalito where a fairly intense dust storm was brewing. This was our first stop (except for a coffee at the Los Pinos Pemex and regular fill-ups at the available pumps along the way. There we delivered a truckload of clothing to a new church built last year and where a layman holds services . It is a community of only a few hundred people and is in need of much assistance. While the dust storm continued to rage, we took a break to have our lunch there. The motorhome proved to be a real blessing, not only providing transportation for Abram, Emily, Erma & Dennis, but by serving as the mobile kitchen for our team. It was well stocked with staples and perishables were purchased as required along the way. No one went hungry for the 3-day trip. We arrived in Guerrero Negro that afternoon and everyone except Abram & Emily checked into a motel for two nights.
Odessa (our well travelled Shi-Tzu) was with us and is not always a welcome guest in all places.
This trip was arranged by Hannibal Reyes, a local Mexican minister who
knows the people and area well and takes assistance to needy folk in remote areas often neglected by other mission efforts. His enquiries resulted in our first relief mission to Mulege in October 2009 soon after the hurricane devastated that area. Hannibal knows a number of influential people in civic or government circles and has done much to promote the cause of the gospel. These community leaders, in turn, are
able to assist our efforts by providing direction and advice on how to best use our limited resources while at the same time, providing assistance to the neediest of the needy. This brought us to the home of Juanita Patron – a city councillor and believer where we were
treated to a super fish taco dinner, served by her family. She also served breakfast for all for the two mornings we spent in Guerrero Negro. We left for Santa Rosalia on Friday morning where, again, Hannibal arranged for us to meet at the “Major’s”Home – Che Murillo.
We left the motorhome there (with Odessa in it) and proceeded into the
hills to the school at Sierra San Jose de Magdalena. It is about an hour’s drive into a very remote & hilly part of the area on a narrow & dangerous road with some breathtaking views. Here, we saw firsthand the devastation wrought by the hurricane in September 2009, as the entire mango plantation was wiped out and with it the meagre
livelihood of its inhabitants. A short distance beyond, we came to the residential school where children come from the remote hill areas to live during the week, going home after school on Friday and returning on Sunday nights. It is a government funded project and is
in good repair providing adequate housing and protection for its young
inhabitants. What a beautiful sight it was to see – a neat row of modest buildings which houses and schools these children. Smiling, laughing, well cared for children greeted us as we entered their gates with our caravan of provision. We arrived at noon and a “picnic” was arranged and provided by the California team of Norm, Sharon, Tim & Christina. Soon a pot full of weiners was cooking and chips and pop
complemented the hotdog feast. Everyone (including the growing number
of adults) was treated to one or more helpings of food while viewing the “Jesus” video. Norm’s truckload of toys was unloaded and displayed in one of the classrooms and each of the children was permitted to select 3 gift items, in addition to a backpack filled
with school supplies. What radiant faces emerged as each child clutched a doll, soccer ball or whatever selection they made. It was a memorable and priceless experience it itself just watching their
facial expressions and hearing their laughter. Tables of clothing were set up and indeed, it resembled one of our local “mini-markets” as women and children rummaged through the items available. We were told that about 70 families live in the remote hills and were in dire need of food and other necessities. The rest of the EFF team provided packages of rice, beans, cooking oil, face soap, toilet tissue, etc.
and distributed to each family for their personal use. We spent about 4 hours with these folk but needed to return before dark set in on the long and dangerous road back to San Jose de Magdalena and to our motel in Guerrero Negro (about 2 hr. drive). It was a very full but enriching day. We were exhausted but happy as we pulled into the motel parking lot, knowing that we not only blessed others but, that we were equally blessed to have had the opportunity to serve in this mission.
It is one thing to support a mission project but to be “there” is quite another – to see the sights, to hear the sounds, to smell the aromas or stench makes a lasting impression. It will not be forgotten ever.