Two of our PCS staff, Mrs Katrina Baines and Mrs Susan Gorman, share their experience of the Mexico Missions Trip during the Easter 2023 school holidays to support Open Arms Mexico, a non-profit organisation that provides free child care to families in Mexico.
Our wonderful trip to Mexico, started with two days in Phoenix, Arizona, at Imagine Nations Church Phoenix. We were able to work with them to feed the homeless, feed their large youth group and build relationships with the team from their church. A few members of their church joined us for our trip to Mexico, so it was great to spend some time getting to know them.
We arrived at Camalu, to the campus of Open Arms Mexico, in the afternoon after travelling for many hours in the van. We unpacked all our items into the dorm accommodation and then travelled another hour to the new Los Pinos campus. We were given a tour of the new facility and then divided into groups for that night’s Bible study. We ran the kids’ program, prayed over the women and prayed over the men. An amazing amount of people in a not-yet finished building.
The following day we were divided into 3 teams – kids ministry, painting and gyprocking. I had the pleasure of running the kids’ program for the day. We introduced Australian culture, played games, sang songs and shared stories. We also introduced them to Australian food, e.g. lamingtons, tim tams, minties and vegemite. That night we cooked and served food to over 100 youth for their youth program.
Our next day consisted of us all joining together to paint at the new campus. We all drove the hour, and then divided up into small groups and tackled room after room. We were able to paint one coat of undercoat, and two coats of colour throughout the day.
Sunday was church day, and we served in the kids church and the adult service. We took on roles in the music team, preaching, prayer and running the kids program. We had so much fun that the children let us know that they didn’t even realise they were learning about God because of how much fun it was. In between church services, we gathered together and visited the local corner store. Here we purchased items to put together food hampers for the community. We created 45 food hampers in total. Once completed, we went into the community and walked the streets, knocking on doors, offering to pray for them and handing them the food. This was one of the most impactful moments of the trip, as it cemented how little these people have, yet they are so happy and open to Jesus.
On Monday, we split into teams again – painting, gyprocking, kids team and staff training. It was so wonderful to sit with the educators that run the rooms in the centre; to hear their stories and to understand the true poverty and abuse that some of these children come from. To hear stories of hope and inspiration that have occurred through the generosity of Open Arms and the amazing systems they have in place to protect, support and restore children and families. Their full time psychologist works with the children to work through the trauma of their early years experiences, and the educators love and support these children in such a wonderful way.
In the afternoon, we said goodbye to the children and gifted them all with a small, snaplock bag of our excess resources – a pencil, clip on koala, a TimTam, Minties, some small chocolates and some stickers. The image that will stay with me forever is of one little girl: when we gifted her this small bag, she held it to her chest and cradled it, as if it was her most treasured possession. It was such a powerful image for me of the fact that these children have nothing and so desperately need the Open Arms ministry to support, love and care for them.
The amazing work that Open Arms carries out each day in caring for, educating, feeding, counselling and loving these children and families is only through the generosity of churches and people in those churches. We are blessed to be a blessing and I have now seen first hand the fruits of sharing my abundance. Children’s lives are changed because I have stepped into what God has called me to do.
I look forward to forging further partnerships with the children at Open Arms through a pen-pal system with our Prep children, and can’t wait for them to start sharing letters and drawings with the children on the other side of the world.
If you are interested in further information about this amazing ministry, please visit Open Arms Mexico, where you can find more information or step into child sponsorship if you feel led.
Here to serve, not to be served. Mark 10-45.
I love how God uses everyone with a servant heart, from all walks of life, with different gifts and skills—students from PCS, right though to highly qualified professionals. Each one of us were able to work as a team and be Like God's hands and feet to speak life though serving dinner at a refuge, going out on the streets to feed the homeless, helping with painting, providing training for the Open Arms staff, to leading fun Christ centred holiday programs, as well as kid’s church programs.
While we were away, we delivered food hampers to the poor; this was very humbling for me, as we got to see how some lived in very poor conditions and very different lives than we do in Australia. Imagine living with no electricity, no running water and no septic system. These are services we take for granted.
The town we were in have up to 6-8 people living in a little bedroom-sized house. We were able to share food and the gospel. Many accepted prayer, and were so grateful for all of this.
For me it was a time of incredible stretching. Many times I felt completely out of my comfort zone, so was constantly in prayer and dependant on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance.
This is why I believe mission trips are the most satisfying, life changing adventure you can go on. You get to bless/honour God, bless others, and finally get blessed yourself.