Youth Of Calvary Chapel In
On A Shortterm Ministry to Mexico
by Daniel Gaiswinkler, Germany, August 2007

Our group - from left to right:
Edmund + Martha and Gina Coronel, Lea Hofmann, Samatha Barnes, Jackeline Keller, Laura Tackay,
Dominic Kunz, Sebastian Durm, Daniel Gaiswinkler, Katharina Menger, Lena Brandt,
Margot + Ullrich Weitzel, Ralf Lotz, Hannes Petzendörfer

God sometimes leads ways you don't
think possible ...

... and it should turn out exactly such an "impossible" way for me, leading our team of 15 youth to Mexico!

Almost every year, the German Herborn Church of the Calvary Chapel sends out ministry teams to different countries of the world. In the year 2006, they planned a trip to Mexico. Back then though, this wasn't even my own church - I came to it crabwise! In February 2006, I had left my church for some personal reasons. Yet church is a very important factor in my life and so I accepted the invitation of a friend of mine to his Calvary Chapel church in Herborn. There I found a list for this said Mexico trip and my friend suggested I should subscribe. Well, I did it - after all, such a ministry trip had always been a dream of mine!

Preparations began in March 2006. Pastor Edmund Coronel made a strong point of meeting very often to ensure we would grow together as a ministry team. Most of the people knew each other already, yet for me, things were all new.

Certain questions had to be cleared, such as: where do we hire a van, in the US or in Mexico itself? The plan was to drive 7 to 8 hours from Los Angeles down to San Quintin in Baja California. Where shall we buy the goods? Are blankets and groceries cheaper in the US or shall we rather get them in Mexico?

For we wanted to distribute blankets and rice and beans among the poor for the upcoming winter season. Furthermore, as pastor Edmund stated, Mexicans adore German stuff like Caps, pens and all sorts of stuff like that. Since the World Football (Soccer) Championship was still in progress, we were able to get a lot of this as gifts!

We had also planned some theater plays, which took a lot of time and effort, but also a lot of fun. We intended to rehearse four plays which all members of this theater group had to memorize...! I had the privilege of playing the part of Jesus and I was also the only man in this theater group!

For many of us, this trip was breaking new ground, like for myself, yet others had already participated in such ministry trips and we were all closely connected because of the desire to tell people of Jesus.

On October 14, 2006 time has come:

Baja California acts untamed and beautiful, rejecting and yet friendly. Mexico's Pacific peninsula is bigger than Italy and twice as long as Florida. And yet it seems like it would have jumped off right out of God's hand! For Baja California is adventure, solitude, heat and fascination all at once. It is the most impressive proof of the desert being alive!

Whatever is able to wrest its existence from this hot spot of the earth, is overcoming everything else, too. For Baja California, this pathless peninsula south of US tourist strongholds such as Los Angeles and San Diego, rain has been sort of recessed. And the consequence is a permanent sun. It tints the sky into a dark blue and dries out everything without mercy.

At first glance, Baja California does not seem to be made for people. This 1150 km (715 miles) long peninsula is one of the least populated parts of the world. Though population of the federal States of Baja California Norte and Baja California Sur is four million, yet alone two million live in Tijuana and around 140 000 in southern metropolis La Paz (picture left). For hundreds of years, La Paz had been the center for pearl divers, yet in 1936, the oysters were affected by a mysterious illness and died out. Nowadays, tourism is the number one income source .

The peninsula was long considered as untamed yet now it attracks more and more people. 90% are US American tourists. They bustle in northern duty free border areas and in southern places between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. Tijuana holds the lonesome worldwide record of 30 million frontier crossings! Here, people slather their money on restaurants, bars, nightclubs and of course on bull fights. Two worlds are clashing: USA and Latin America. The capital of Baja California, Mexicali, leaves no doubt: having a Mexican flair, it is a big modern city of 800 000 residents.

By all means, a visit to the Museo del Estado is worth a while. You'll find good information on nature, culture and history of Baja California. Special attractions are the Bask ballgame Jai Alai and of course, the bull fight
Picture left: Ensenada, in northwestern Baja.

Concerning Christian life, about 90% of the Mexican population is Roman Catholic and this is why the Calvary Chapel of Herborn chose this place to send their youth ministry group to.

Ten days full of action all around Jesus should become an unforgettable event for our group! Our goal was our partner church in San Quintin Capilla Calvario.

Upon arrival in San Quintin, we first visited Basilio Nunez. He is only 1,65m tall (about 5'4), but apparently the greatest bundle of energy in all of Mexico!

Basilio pastors this Calvary Chapel church in San Quintin of more or less 250 people. He is happily married and dad to 5 sons, whose talents can already be seen at church. One of them plays the drums and the other one guitar.

This is the Capilla Calvario in San Quintin
San Quintin is a small town of about 20 to 30.000 residents living widely spread over the whole place. There is also a local TV station that should still become of some importance to the group.

San Quintin suffers the same problems as almost every city, like drugs, alcohol and prostitution.

Pastor Basilio knows very well where help is needed and planned all of our activities and God Himself opened more than just one door!

Unfortunately, US American ministry teams are not allowed to minister at Mexican schools, so this was what we concentrated on. Doors opened toward schools, this TV station and even the university.

This here was our first visit to a school, of which we saw several. At the beginning it was a little weird for us, since no-one of our group knows Spanish...

But pastor Basilio helped out wherever he could; he translated everything!

We had one hour where we could tell the students all they wanted to know about Germany, football (soccer) and most of all, about faith!

In order for the students to get confidence, they could ask us whatever question, such as, how does winter feel like in Germany? Or how fast are you allowed to drive on German raods? After some time, our pastor swiftly turned the subject and talked about important faith matters and we would seamlessly proceed with our theater plays.

In this play here it is about a person who is living their life and is confronted with several temptations. Temptations and problems as seen everywhere: drugs, alcohol and prostitution. Man tries everyhting and after a while becomes bound by each one of them, which is clearly seen in the photo below.

Pastor Basilio explained missing links caused by the lack of language and the
students were all visibly impressed by the message.

This is pastor Edmund Coronel preaching after the plays and the students listened attentively. Afterwards they had the opportunity for individual talks with the group.

It was impressive for us that despite our language barriers, God opened the hearts of young people who, in turn, gave their hearts to Jesus!

Next to several visits to different schools, we could also see the local
TV station where we could introduce our team and mission to the town.

Pastor Basilio had all necessary contacts and the team did the rest. Some 20.000 people were to be reached in San Quintin with a video about Germany and the theater plays.

We also had some nice feedback for some days after that event. For the local newspaper had reported on us. Pastor Edmund worried for his fosterlings not to get detached, after becoming the new Mexican TV stars !!!

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