2019 Summer Internships Open!

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Introducing 3 exciting new internship roles for Summer 2019!

 

Anyone who has been involved in a home building trip with Project Mexico knows that our faithful and hardworking interns are at the heart of everything we do. Interns from across the nation dedicate their entire summer to living in basic conditions in Mexico. They work diligently alongside our home building coordinator to facilitate 600+ volunteers to build homes for impoverished families in Mexico.

 

They become part of daily life on the ranch, helping maintain and prepare all that is needed for the arrival of volunteer groups. Not least of all, they become family to the boys of St. Innocent Orphanage. Our internships can be a milestone of spiritual growth and maturation. For many it has been both a transformational and life-defining experience.

 

If construction isn’t your thing but you desire to serve with us next Summer, then we have some great news for you! In addition to our homebuilding intern positions, we have expanded our program to include the following new positions:

 

Group Facilitator (must have youth leadership experience): Your main responsibility will be to mentor, supervise and facilitate the other interns, conducting debrief and processing groups, provide one to one guidance, assisting in coordination of intern activities and trips and facilitate volunteer group discussions.  Seminary, teaching, youth work, camp staff experience would be very helpful. This position may suit school teachers or seminarian students/graduates.

 

Media Intern: Your main responsibility will be to document through photographs, video and writing: the volunteer groups, home builds, families, events and activities of the boys of St. Innocent Orphanage. You will also be responsible for hospitality of Volunteers both on the build site and ranch.  Depending on your skill you will be assigned to a media role and work with Project Mexico’s marketing team. You will also work in other areas as needed.

 

Medical Intern:  If you have medical training, such as first aid, CPR, EMT, Nursing, please indicate the experience, any certifications, experience, or training you have.  We hope to have several trained individuals on staff each summer.

 

The positions above may overlap depending on a volunteer’s skills and experience and the number of suitable candidates who apply.

We are now accepting applications, please submit your applications before November 30th, 2018.

Update Me!

Fill in your contact info and download HomeBuilding 2019 Internship Application Form.

Summer 2019 Home Building Registration Open Now

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Hurry Up and Register Today!

Home Building 2019 

Wow! We’re at 50% full for Summer Home Building 2019 and Weeks are filling up quickly!

Time to gather and register your group before all the spots are gone!

Week 1 Thursday, June 6 - 12 (25% full)

Week 2 Tuesday, June 18 - 24 (90% full)


Week 3: Thursday, June 27 - July 3 (80% full)


Week 4: Tuesday, July 9 - 15 (55% full)


Week 5: Thursday, July 18 - 24


PM OCMC‌ Building A Home For Missions ‌week

Week 6: Tuesday, July 30 - August 5 (90% full)


Week 7: Thursday, August 8 - 14 (OPEN)

Building Homes and Relationships by Olivia Neslusan

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As I sit on an old wooden bench, warm Mexican sun beating down on my hair, and the laugher of young boys playing on the soccer field in the distance, I cannot fathom the fact that my time here at the ranch is winding down. This summer has gone by in the blink of an eye, but contrastingly, it feels like I have been here forever. Looking back at this time last year, I was an eager group member dreaming about being accepted into this internship position. One week simply just wasn’t enough for me, and I couldn't wait to apply and spend three months here at this incredible ranch.

I had so many expectations of what I thought this summer would be like based on my past experiences here and what I heard from past interns, but quickly I learned that it is so important when doing mission work similar to this, to have no expectations and have an open mind. The summer was full of laughter and tears, and certainly was exhausting at times. Building a new home every week and having the energy to greet each new team like it was your first is something that is both beautiful and challenging. But more than the build, this place and this summer for me has been about building relationships.

Theodora and I arrived two weeks later than the rest of the young adult interns that would dedicate their summer to leading home building. In my journal on the first day of arrival I wrote about how I was nervous that close relationships and friendships had already formed, and perhaps we wouldn't get to know the other 17 interns as well. This trivial worry quickly faded within the first couple days. It is so beautiful and easy to connect with other young Orthodox Christians. Growing up in the faith and sharing the same values is something that allows us to truly connect on a deeper level, and I know that these will be people I stay in contact with long after this summer is over.

Connecting with the 19 boys here at the orphanage, though, has been by far the most rewarding part of this experience. Boys ranging in age from eight to eighteen live on this ranch, and each of them have their own vibrant and inspiring personalities and stories. Between group activities and home builds, we get the opportunity to spend as much time as we please with them. Despite their backgrounds of neglect, these boys are some of the most loving people I have ever met. They are eager to learn more about you, make you laugh, and if you are lucky, they sometimes share their personal stories about their past.

This summer the ranch was blessed with three new little boys ranging from eight to ten years old. Immediately after arriving here in this new home, the boys were always eager to participate in church and had so many questions about the faith. It was truly something special to see how they transitioned with such grace. It is a challenge, however, especially with these three new little boys, to connect with them without getting too close and allowing them to get too attached. It is so obvious that they need love from the way they run up to almost any female who they are familiar with and cling to them calling each one “Mama.” Although this can be tough at times, it is comforting to know that the family here at the ranch will indeed give them the love and permanency they so desperately need and want.

That is what is so special about this place.

It is a community where everyone is a part of the family that makes up St. Innocent Orphanage and Project Mexico. It is going to be bittersweet to leave this country and its people, but I leave knowing that this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and also knowing that it was not really me who made it, but rather God who called me to be here.


Home Building Registration Opens October 18

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2019 Home Building registration opens Thursday Oct. 18, 2018 at 9 am Pacific Standard.

We're excited to build hope with you next year!

Summer 2019 Dates:

  • June 6 - 12

  • June 18 - 24

  • June 27 - July 3

  • July 9 - 15

  • July 18 - 24

  • July 30 - August 5

  • August 8 - 14

St Innocent Day

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On October 7th 2018 we humbly ask that you join us alongside parishes nationwide to pass an offering tray in commemoration of the Feast of St. Innocent.

Join us this day for a collection unified in one hope to make a difference for the boys of St. Innocent Orphanage. 

  • Sign up at the event link HERE

  • Pass a collection tray at your parish

  • Share or post this flier in your parish bulletin

  • Share this flier with your friends and family through email and social media

We can't do this without you!

30 Years - The Beginning by Father Nicholas Androchow

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When we look at the history of Project Mexico we can see the message of hope shouting out at us.  Hope in that we are not alone. Hope in what the future brings. Hope in the fact that God is active in the world. Since 1995, I have been involved with the Orthodox community in Tijuana, Mexico. Ten of those years have been as a full-time missionary living in-country. I have spent at least one week annually in the field either building homes for the needy families or ministering to the young boys who have been orphaned. The impact I have witnessed is layered and expansive. The Lord works through our humility and out of weakness God creates miracles. God has used Project Mexico to do great things and it is obvious that the Lord is not finished yet. Through the power of God these 30 years are just the beginning.

Out of the compost
Three decades of ministry has brought countless challenges and blessings.  In the early years, the ministry was nothing but a dream where two inspired Orthodox Christians, Greg and Margaret Yova, persevered to establish a community where Orthodox believers could live the faith while bringing comfort to the afflicted of Mexico. To maneuver between two countries, two cultures, two languages, two currencies and various economic levels is extremely complex. As St. Paul said “our battle is not against flesh and blood … but against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12).  

In 1994, after building homes for six years, the doors of the St. Innocent Orphanage were opened for the first time. Unfortunately, the hired director never arrived, the donors who planned to cover the mortgage expenses could not fulfill their commitments, and after eight months the Mexican government removed all the boys living on site because the bureaucratic demands were too vague in order to comply. Those days were dark and difficult. It nearly resulted in selling the property and focusing solely on the homebuilding ministry.

The tides began to change in 1995 when Project Mexico received the relic of St. Innocent. Shortly afterward, a new Orphanage Director was hired who brought stability for 17 years to the program.  Through tremendous labors, the mortgage was slowly paid off by the donations of hundreds of sacrificial believers.

Today we have a 16-acre ranch, which houses the largest Orthodox cross-cultural missionary movement in the world. The Gospel is being lived and is flourishing by God’s grace via Project Mexico. These fruits are the outcome of years of struggle and sacrifice that provided soil for the ministry to grow.

Exponential Growth
In the fast-paced modern world, we see the extreme growth of economies and societies because of better communication and technology. In the past several decades we’ve seen the world’s population, reliance on technology and consumption of increase three-hundred-fold. This type of growth can be overwhelming but at the same time, it can provide opportunities to capitalize and make the world a better place. This is essentially the message of the Gospel, to make the world a better place. God has come to save the world, to show all creation the path of light and love, to put an end to the curse of sickness, anxiety, and death. 

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Project Mexico is a ministry within the Orthodox Church to bring the message of God’s hope to the faithful and the afflicted. In the past six years our short-term missionary numbers have nearly tripled and the number of families annually who have received a home has more than doubled. The children impacted by the orphanage are experiencing a stability that is unprecedented. The Orthodox faithful living and ministering in Tijuana has hit record highs. Summer homebuilding interns are at full capacity. 

Cautiously we give thanks to God for providing such results. I say cautiously because we need to keep our focus always on the ONE goal of salvation, not on the accounting of people being shuffled through.  With all this in mind, we take to heart the Lord’s words...

“…open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). 

Project Mexico has the capacity to not only maintain this growth but to expand it significantly. The foundation has been provided through sacrifice, prayer and three decades of developing reliable infrastructure on our 16-acre ranch. Faithfully we persevere in doing God’s will. We pray to God that we are provided with the laborers and resources to continue and to grow the ministry of sharing the Lord’s compassion and love for the world. 

Project Mexico and the St. Innocent Orphanage has 30 years of blessed history and with the Grace of God we will continue to labor in His Harvest for generations to come eagerly waiting for His glorious return.

Building Lasting Friendships by Tina Cooper

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This summer, in celebration of our 30 years of homebuilding, we’re launching our online community for home building alumni of Project Mexico! We recognize the importance of relationship and community to help us stay engaged and connected to the things that really matter. On projectmexico.360alumni.com members will share stories, photos and nurture friendships built during their service. Keep up to date with the latest news and information from the ranch and home building. Our goal is to help volunteers remain connected to acts of mercy before, during and most importantly, after their time building homes for families.

This Summer, volunteers are assigned to a group on our Alumni site along with all other parishes and volunteers from that week. Simply log in to activate your account. You'll have your own space to help finalize the last-minute details of your trip and connect with other groups coming out in the same week. You can share your experiences and stories and better yet, the ways in which God is moving you to live your faith in your own community.

None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful. - Mother Teresa

Organizing your own event? You can do it right here and share opportunities with other active Orthodox Christians all over the country. 

At Project Mexico & St Innocent Orphanage, we want to keep the momentum going in whatever way you feel lead and sometimes all it takes is stepping out with a community behind you.

To sign up, contact tina@projectmexico.org or set up your account below.

Growing Up Project Mexico [VIDEO]

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Alex was accepted to Hellenic College and began his journey recently.

Alex is a great inspiration for how supporting our School Buddies program can improve and change a life.

Check out this video shot and edited by John Touloupis.

 

School is just around the corner for our boys!

Please consider supporting their future through our School Buddies program.

Recurring or one-time donations can be made at 👉🏽http://weblink.donorperfect.com/schoolbuddy

Striving for Good By John Touloupis

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I pulled out a greasy old aluminum pan and kicked on the stove. Searching the fridge, I finally found my eggs. I tossed a little bit of butter into the pan along with two slices of white bread. For the past two months, whenever I wanted a little alone time in Mexico, I cooked a small breakfast for myself. I found peace and harmony in the kitchen amidst the morning chaos as my nine roommates ran around brushing their teeth, checking tools for the worksite, and looking for missing work boots.

However, I wasn’t in the 800-square-foot intern house in Mexico cooking up my favorite breakfast meal, but rather back in my sweet home state of Alabama. There were no early morning shouts for keys to cars or people asking to borrow a pair of socks. Only silence and the sound of eggs frying in the pan.

I thought going home would be easy. I was wrong.

While I missed my family and friends dearly, I found comfort in my life in Mexico.

I got to go to church twice a day, a rarity for a college student like me. I spent time getting schooled in soccer by the boys on the ranch. A local man befriended me and helped show me the ways of construction, culture, and life in Mexico.

I saw poverty I’ve never seen before. People living in shacks made of scraps of plywood and garage doors. People living in holes on the side of the highway. Children with special needs peddling chocolate bars in the streets.

In the midst of all of this though, I saw some of the purest happiness I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ll never forget the excitement on a four-year-old’s face as we finished painting his new red house.

Words cannot do justice.

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Each and every week when we started leveling the rocky terrain to pour a concrete pad we gave families hope. As I learned during my time in Mexico, we were not simply building homes, but building futures.

The houses we built for people like a loving grandmother, hard-working factory employees, or a mother trying to build a better for her four children were going to be more than a home to them. Not only did their new house allow them to stop paying rent on other's property, they now had a safe, secure place to protect them from weather, diseases, and intruders. Finally, the families had somewhere to build the rest of their lives.

I’ll never forget the joy a tough, young construction worker shared with me as we put the finishing touches on his roof one day. Through a crooked smile and soft tears in his eyes, he exclaimed how much he loved his new big house (Project Mexico houses are 13 feet by 26 feet).

Every single week, no matter the family, I saw tears of joy. They were tears of relief, comfort, and peace. While we served the families, they would serve us, cooking meals as an offer of thanks for our work.

It took seeing with my own eyes to learn happiness doesn’t come with material things. Since returning home, I have been living in a totally different world. But just because I’m home doesn’t mean my mission is over. I’m still learning the importance of our Orthodox faith to navigate these worlds.

While I’m not building houses anymore I know I’m going to take the importance of service and humble leadership I learned in Mexico and apply them to my life in the United States. I know just because I’m in a different world now doesn’t mean I have to change my lifestyle. The world is a pretty messed up place.

As Orthodox Christians, we should all strive to do just a little bit of good.

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Opportunities for volunteering are now available