This article on the Long Beach (CA) Grace Brethren Church (Lou Huesmann, pastor) appeared in today’s Long Beach Gazette.com. To read the entire story, click here.
Sixteen young adults and members of Grace Brethren Church of Long Beach didn’t need to know a whole lot of Spanish to be able to connect with a group of young orphans from Tijuana last month.
It was the church’s first time visiting Mexico for a mission trip, working alongside a ministry called Genesis Diez, A.C., from Aug. 7 through 13.
“Basically what we did with this ministry (Genesis Diez), was put on a summer camp for kids in orphanages,” said associate pastor Jesse Krohmer. “We got the children to come out into nature for a week and have real summer camp experience.”
Genesis Diez is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide learning experiences for orphaned and migrant children in Baja California. The group helps boost self-esteem, while teaching the children Christian values.
Each member from Grace Brethren Church was assigned to work with one or two of the children for the week. It was member Wisdom Morm’s first time out of the country, and he said he is looking forward to returning to Mexico to continue to help the orphaned youngsters.
“I’ve always wanted to go and do a mission trip to serve somewhere, but I never found the opportunity to go until I started going to Grace,” Morm said. “I’d love to come back again next summer and see how the kids are doing.”
While understanding each other proved to be somewhat challenging, Morm said he had no trouble finding another way to bond with the children.
“Communication was hard, because not a lot of people knew Spanish,” he said. “But when you’re there, you have no choice but to try to get on same page as the kids… I think what was most important was our ability to show them love, and it was universal.”
The children’s camp was set on a rural ranch, just outside Ensenada. While there, the children played games, made arts and crafts, participated in a vacation Bible school seminar, and told stories over a campfire.
“On Friday night, we had a campfire and the children shared the things that they did and saw,” Krohmer said. “There wasn’t a dry eye that night. Seeing how much those kids appreciated and soaked up the love that we gave them was phenomenal.”
Many of the children had never seen the Pacific Ocean before, and Krohmer and his group made sure they got to visit the beach and take hikes along the mountainside.
“They’re from a densely populated city,” said Grace member Camille Jones. “For them to get away and be in nature and relax and enjoy their week without much craziness was nice to see.”
The church said they hope to rejoin Genesis Diez, A.C. next summer to check up on the youngsters, and continue to spread the love, according to Krohmer.
“You realize that there are people in tough situations,” he said. “It’s definitely nice to get away for a week and put things in perspective. To get out from business and schedules, and love a human being on a pure level, everyone needs that.”
For more information about Grace Brethren Church, visitwww.gracelb.com. The church is located at 3601 Linden Ave.