21st Work and Witness mission adventure proves to be a blessing

     The Christmas blizzard that hit the middle part of the U.S.A. right at Christmas time made travel difficult but a hundred people still managed to participate in the 21st edition of Commission Unto Mexico, an 8-day mission trip organized by Southern Nazarene University.  Closed airports did prevent four people from making the trip to Chihuahua, Mexico and delayed by one day the arrival of a nursing student from Indiana Wesleyan University.

It was a trip worth making. As the 21st edition of this "Work and Witness adventure for all ages" drew to a close, the 100 participants, flanked by pastors and members of their host churches, were officially thanked by a government official while a newspaper photographer moved around snapping photos.

Seven Mexican churches (six in Chihuahua and one in Casas Grandes) hosted the team, which included almost 20 medical professionals.  The group helped the churches hold Vacation Bible School type ministries for children, conduct free medical clinics and work on construction projects that ranged from pouring concrete floors to putting in bathroom facilities.  The group also donated school supplies to needy children as well as giving away used clothing.

The trip was "amazing," said Liliana Jaquez, an RN from Oklahoma City who was on the medical team, "What I loved the most was being able to ask people if I could pray for them and then having those people allow me to pray for them as they accepted the Lord."

Two consecutive days of free medical clinics were held in five neighborhoods.  The medical team’s two doctors, a physician assistant and more than a dozen RNs, nursing students and pre-med majors, treated more than 300 patients.

A "first" for this year’s trip was an "extreme" component.  The eight participants in that extreme group spent most of the week in a mountain town called Casa Grandes.  The week for that "extreme" group included sleeping in sleeping bags and some horseback riding.

Participants came from as far away as California, Michigan, and Maine. The youngest participant was 10-year-old Mattie MacDonald who came from Yukon, OK with her family.  On the other end of the age range were two people in their seventies.  Several of the SNU students on the trip received class credit for the experience. The middle school and high school students on the trip rang in the New Year with ice cream provided by Emily White, SNU admissions counselor.

"This was fabulous," said one of the trip participants.  "It was so well done.  I’ll be back next year!"

Commission Unto Mexico is organized by Southern Nazarene University and co-sponsored by the Nazarene Youth International and Nazarene Missions International district councils of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.  Three pastors received some scholarship help from their districts while the Southeast Oklahoma district gave full scholarships to four high school young people.

Facilitating the trip in Mexico were Steve and Debbie Baker, head of the Nazarene Border Initiative, as well as Gavin Fothergill, Nazarene missionary and Work & Witness volunteers Tom and Lori Werner and Mark and Chris Miller.

For more information e-mail spiritualdevelopment@snu.edu or call us 405-491-6693.  Write us: Commission Unto Mexico, Southern Nazarene University, 6729 NW 39th, Bethany, OK 73008