During spring vacation, Calvary Baptist Church of Concord, California, and First Baptist Church of Walnut Creek, California, teamed up take 60 young people and adults to Baja, Mexico. Under the leadership of Pastors Russ Belmont of Calvary Baptist and David Miller of First Baptist, the two churches raised $30,000 to carry out construction and ministry projects. Roger Ward, a missionary who grew up at First Baptist, flew from La Paz with his wife, Diana, to give leadership and help in the various outreach activities during the week.
The teams loaded up their food and construction gear on Saturday afternoon. After the Easter service on Sunday, the teams drove several trucks, two trailers, and an additional 13 vehicles to San Diego to spend the night. After crossing the border on Monday, the teams arrived just prior to noon and unloaded their things. By early afternoon, the teams had finished constructing the walls of the worship center.
On Tuesday, teams of young people went to an Indian reservation, where they told stories to children and taught adults. By Tuesday evening, the worship center’s roof was finished. On Wednesday, the teams worked on the inside of the building. Meanwhile, another team visited a small area of Tecate, where they used flannelgraph to tell stories to children, shared Christ with adults, talked to and encouraged women at a women’s rehabilitation center, and gave clothes to people in the neighborhood. On Thursday, the interior was being wired and painted while many people in the community came to eat lunch, have fun, and receive food that was being given away. On Friday, the teams installed audio speakers in the worship center and provided an overhead projector. The teams also built a kitchen that included needed appliances. Meanwhile, other teams went to Ensenada, where they baptized about 20 people. Later that day, the team held a dedication service of the building. During the service, their worship leader received a new guitar as a gift from those who made the trip.
The teams returned home to Walnut Creek and Concord on Saturday. The next day they shared their experiences in their churches’ morning services. Many lessons learned were learned for both the adults and the young people. Some had experienced their first cross-cultural trip; others learned how to share their faith and reach out to those who were not as well off as themselves; others learned the lessons of working together in sometimes hard and trying circumstances. Some learned how quickly their skills and talents could be used to help people reach their goals; others saw how they themselves can easily fulfill their mission in life through their own local churches.
The team members were invited back to Baja, and most of them are planning to repeat this experience either at Baja or another site next year.