Faith Evangelical Bible Church High School Youth group went on a recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, July 5th– 12th, with eight students attending. Crale and Rachel Swanson are the youth leaders.
The purpose of the trip was to assist missionaries David and Karina Lopez, while making new connections in their home city of Oaxaca, Mexico, and the coastal village of Ventanilla. The group helped with hurricane clean-up, which was very devastating.
“The Lopez family has been praying for an opportunity for their church to partner with a town on the coast to build relationships and actively engage in evangelical outreach.”
The youth group’s support helped purchase food and necessary items along with clothes bought and donated to give to the people of Ventanilla.
“David and Karina used to service and gifts to develop relationships with the village leaders and 3-5 other families in the village.”
Back in Oaxaca City, the youth group helped at the community center where English is taught to students.
“We helped with painting around their landscaping and repainting the yellow safety lines around the parking lot. Later we spent the evening playing basketball and soccer with some local parents and students.”
Crale said one of the prominent roles throughout the trip was for the youth to bring opportunities for David and his family to faithfully develop new relationships and plant seeds for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip and was able to experience the Oaxacan culture, and we look forward to hearing updates from David in the upcoming months about what God is doing through the work we started.”
There were so many highlights of the trip. Still, some of the group’s favorite experiences were the beach, the local tour of Ventanilla, releasing baby turtles into the ocean, playing basketball and soccer in Oaxaca, and worshiping at David’s church on Sunday morning.
Hunter Perez was one of the students to attend the trip. He came home with many stories but narrowed it down to just a few of his favorites to share.
“One of my biggest takeaways from this trip, now that we’re home, is to never take anything for granted. You leave America for one week and realize just how much you have back home.”
Hunter said after helping with the hurricane clean-up, they gave out gift bags with supplies and a New Testament Bible.
“Some work we did was going to a beach where there was lots of hurricane damage. We helped clean and picked up for them. Back in Oaxaca, Mexico, we painted the outside of the English Education Building.”
Being able to experience a different country and the culture tops one of Hunter’s favorite experiences, alongside being able to develop deep friendships.
“One of my favorite days on the trip was when we painted the English building because it was one of the first full days in Oaxaca, we got to see so much of the city, plus some kids from Oaxaca helped us paint, later that night we went with the same kids to go and play soccer and basketball.”
Andrew Franz was looking forward to seeing what Mexico would offer but could not fly into Oaxaca, Mexico. He still saw God work in mighty ways.
“What I felt that I learned while being in the airport all day after the group flew off, I never felt like I was alone. I felt the comfort of friends and family texting and caring, and God was there with me. I knew that he would make everything turn out all right. I spent the remainder of that week at my grandparent’s house.”
Anna Janzen didn’t know exactly how the trip would look, but she loved being able to serve in any way they needed her. The group threw Anna a surprise party to celebrate her 16th birthday while on the trip.
“Serving doesn’t always look like what you want it to look like, and I went into the trip thinking we would be doing a lot of projects and serving that way. I was very disappointed when I realized that wasn’t how we would be serving, but God works everything for his good, and that’s exactly what he did!”
Brady Goertzen had many favorite parts of the trip, but one specific day stood out to him the most.
“My favorite trip day was when Crale was fighting off the alligator and smacked it in the face with a paddle.”
These kids have the heart to serve the Lord anywhere they’re needed, and their willingness to show up when required proves their love for the Lord and people.