This update is from Lee Berger, director of Crossing Borders, a GenMin mission organization.
We recently completed our 22nd mission trip into Mexico. Twenty-six missionaries spent two very busy, productive and inspiring days across the border, distributing 1200 shoebox gifts to needy children in extremely economically poor neighborhoods.
Our missionaries are a varied lot. We had four pre-teens, three teens, and adults ranging up to 72 years old. Men and women of different races and backgrounds, we came from eight states. But we all had one purpose: To share the good news of God’s love for everyone demonstrated in his Son, Jesus.
On the first day, part of our group helped out with a special youth church service. We shared in some lively and fun worship with the kids and their families, helped feed the kids, participated in a prayer session, and hand-delivered shoebox gifts to the children and special tote bags filled with baby items to mothers of infants.
The other part of our group spent several hours visiting a children’s home we have “adopted”—we visit them on all our trips. With just a slight break in the cold and drizzly weather, there were lively games of soccer (Mexican football) and American football. Some of our ladies painted the girls’ fingernails, everyone played inside games, and mostly we just listened, hugged and showed the kids some extra love (and fed them Little Caesar’s pizza—what a treat for them!).
In the afternoon, our whole group came back together to share in a neighborhood outreach service with a pastor we have worked with for over 10 years. His church was packed as we shared a Christmas message of hope, fed some snacks to the group, and distributed about 150 shoebox gifts. We were able to leave more gift boxes for the pastor to take to three small churches about eight hours farther into the interior of Mexico. As a bonus on day one, we spent some time visiting with a family for which we had built a new house a few years ago. It is great to see their three kids growing up; they call us their “American aunts and uncles”—what an honor.
On our second day, we served at two churches and at a state-run children’s home. We are just getting to know the two pastors and their wives. They are amazingly faithful and loving servant-leaders to their flocks. We were able to distribute over 600 shoeboxes filled with love and practical and fun items for the children. We also gave out dozens of new, hand-made blankets and quilts. I wish you could have seen all the smiles and felt the gratitude from these people who live in very dire circumstances.
At the children’s home, we took the kids to a nearby park for some outside fun. Back inside, three of our youngest missionaries serenaded us with their violins and flute. Then they let the orphan kids try their hand at playing the instruments—a very sweet time. After more visiting and pizza for dinner, we watched them open their shoebox gifts, and we left them a second box to open on Christmas Day.
These mission trips inspire an amazing sense of unity. A strong bond is formed among all the missionary participants, even after just a couple of days together. We refer to it as the “CB family” where there is great unity between our missionaries and those we serve. Interestingly, we don’t know the denominational affiliation of most of our ministry partners, and they have never asked about ours. We are all one in Christ, focusing on the big picture and the core beliefs of love and service in his name.
Thank you to the hundreds who support Crossing Borders through your prayers, finances, packing shoebox gifts, helping sponsor people to attend the trips, making blankets and more. Even if you never attend a CB mission trip in person, we consider all of you part of our extended CB family! Our next trip is scheduled for June 17-24, 2017. For information, click here or call Lee Berger at 903-746-4463.