Within the last few decades, many US churches have established a tradition of serving in Mexico over spring break. Baja California was the destination for the first “mission trip” that my family and I experienced back in 1985. It was this trip that spring-boarded my passion: to get students involved in serving outside of their comfort zones and at the same time being challenged in their personal walk with Jesus.

Early this year, our government issued an alert to not go to Mexico over spring breaks as there has been increased violence due to drug trafficking. Sadly, many groups canceled their trips or made other plans.

Within the SI mission we have been discussing the possibility of offering an SI outreach right here in the Central Valley of California. We are aware of the great need around us. Our valley has been identified as the poorest pocket of people per capita in the U.S. Our board chairman, Mike Alipaz along with his wife Carol, and good friends Joe and Rosie Torres “stepped up to the plate” this past Easter Break and hosted the first ever central California outreach. Heritage Bible Church of Bakersfield, California had to cancel their Mexico plans and they contacted us to see if we had any alternative sites for ministry. We were excited that we could tell them we we had a great place in mind! Youth Pastor, Joe Brown, said the trip was incredible, and he was encouraged by the involvement of the students. Many of the students were amazed as their eyes were opened to many great needs close to home. Thank you, Heritage Christian.

Cornerstone Reformed Church of Chowchilla, CA also had to change their plans as their trip to Mexico was canceled one month before Easter break. Youth pastor Logan Beardsley called the SI office “just in case” we had an opening in any of the countries over spring break. Earlier in the year a team had canceled for that specific week, and it remained available. In speaking with both Lowell Troyer, the DR country director and to Logan after his return, the trip proved to be a great blessing for all involved. Thank you DR staff, and thank you Logan for pursuing the trip with us.

Collectively, we all watched as the Lord continued His good and perfect work in the building of His Kingdom.