CommunitiesMission Trip to Tecate Changes World Perspective
March 29th, 2014
Rich in What Really Matters Evermoor Living: April 2014 By Erin Marshall
“We thought we’d be showing love to them, but they ended up showing love to us.”
With these words, Faye Harrison described the experience she and her daughter Isabel had while on a mission trip to Tecate, Mexico. In 2010, Faye and Isabel began their mission trip experiences with a trip to Kenya, Africa. Since then, their interest in mission trips has blossomed, and now Faye’s husband Dave and son Evan join them on their yearly trip to Tecate.
In late 2009, the Harrisons were moving from Farmington to the Westport neighborhood of Evermoor. While in the car one day, Faye and Isabel heard an ad on the radio for a mission trip to Kenya. The trip was through World Servants, a mission organization with offices in Richfield. They were both immediately struck by how extraordinary the trip sounded, but the only way they could afford it was if they sold their house in Farmington. “We committed it to prayer every single day,” Faye said. The house sold and closed three days prior to the sign-up deadline for the trip.
Faye and Isabel had an amazing ten-day experience in Kenya. While there, Faye met Yolanda, a woman who owns an orphanage and runs a free clinic with her husband in Tecate, Mexico, a city forty-five minutes southeast of San Diego. “I was amazed by what she does and the love she has. She calls all the orphans her children,” said Faye.
Approximately six months after returning to Minnesota, Faye received an email from Yolanda via World Servants. The orphanage in Tecate was burdened because of the difficult condition of the economy. Yolanda needed help, and the World Servants volunteers provided it.
In February of 2011, Faye, her daughter, and about five other women traveled to Tecate to provide assistance to those at the orphanage. According to Faye, the passion for the orphans was immediate. “We fell in love with them,” she said.
On the first morning at the orphanage, the group made breakfast for the orphans and the other volunteers. However, a busload of volunteers from California suddenly arrived at the orphanage. The group grew very nervous and hesitant regarding the amount of food available. Yet their worst fear never occurred: everyone ate, the children got second helpings, and there were plenty of leftovers. “It was an incredible, incredible experience. We knew it was a miracle,” Faye said.
After the first trip to Tecate, Faye and Isabel knew that they wanted their whole family to take part in the experience. “We wanted Evan and Dave to see what we’d been telling themabout,” said Faye. The whole Harrison family has been making the yearly trip to Tecate ever since.
Although Faye and Isabel went to Mexico in February, the Harrisons now go to Mexico for seven days in the summer. World Servants typically coordinates their programs for the summer months so that families can travel together. Teams of about twenty people assist approximately fifty orphans. The trip is intergenerational and people of all ages can help in a variety of different capacities.
The group makes improvements to the medical center and the dorms, but volunteers also coordinate a kids’ club in which they play games, have story time, and do projects with the children. Despite the language barrier between some of the volunteers and the kids, Faye mentioned that the children have been very eager to get involved and interact with the volunteers.
The Harrison family also does volunteer work in the Twin Cities, but they love reaching out to a variety of people in a variety of places. “It’s good to think globally,” Faye said. “We should be generous and help people in other places, too.” Faye hopes to participate in other mission trips through World Servants to locations such as the Dominican Republic.
The trips have been especially impactful on Isabel Harrison. After graduating from Rosemount High School this year, she plans on studying global studies in college so that she can help people in need. Isabel also hopes to intern with World Servants this summer.
“You come home and you’re just thankful. You’re blown away by your perception,” said Faye. Traveling to Tecate has drastically changed the Harrisons’ perspective, and they’re thankful that they have such a remarkable opportunity to make a difference in the lives to the children at the orphanage. But above all, the greatest aspect of the trip is seeing the children’s faith in action. “They have such a faith and trust in God above all things,” Faye noted. “Even though they don’t have much, they’re rich in what really matters.”
For specific information about serving through World Servants in Tecate, Mexico contact Pattie Juarez, Community Specialist for Mexico, at firstname.lastname@example.org.