mission work abroad

UPDATE: Life at the Border

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I wanted to take a moment to share a little peek into our life here south of the boarder.  My wife—or presbytera in Greek circles or kuria in Antiochian circles or matushka in Slavonic circles—and I have completed seven years living at the St. Innocent Orphanage.  Yes, it has been an adjustment, especially for my presbytera who was raised in a traditional Greek family—an experience very different than life in Tijuana. 

In our years here we have had many new experiences that come with living in a third world country and in a foreign culture.  One of these experiences was the immigration of thousands of Latin Americans traveling through Mexico hoping to find asylum in the United States. It definitely did not go as well as most of them were hoping but I would like to share some of the realities we have seen being on the ground.

Recent statistics tell us that the vast majority of the migrants have chosen to seek Mexican work visas or returned to their home countries. According to the Associate Press (see link below) of the 6,000 migrants in the caravan 1,300 people have returned to their home countries, 2,900 have received Mexican humanitarian visas that permit them to work in Mexico, and 1,300 migrants have been detained. The temporary shelters in Tijuana have been closed and migrants have integrated into the community, living in permanent housing accommodations.

At the height of the Migrant Caravan event, the city of Tijuana had several pockets of migrants waiting in tents looking for guidance for the next step.  Because of the hundreds of displaced that were in these temporary camps, the local municipalities were burdened to say the least.  Despite the sheer numbers, Mexican authorities handled the situation well and at no time did it become a national crisis for the country. 

Yes, the border was closed for several hours coming into America, but everyone forgets to mention that there was another border crossing that was kept open less than 20 miles to the East.  At no time did any of the missionaries feel “trapped” or in danger.  We are grateful that the situation has calmed and that those individuals and families are finding stability.

So people always ask me, “Is it safe to travel to Tijuana?” or “Will I be able to get back into the United States?” 

The answer to both these questions is, “Yes.” 

As an Orthodox priest, husband and father, and the Associate Director of Project Mexico, I would not be living here with my family if it wasn’t safe or we couldn’t travel freely.  And, I definitely would not bring hundreds of youth to the ranch every summer unless I could ensure their safety. 

We understand the fear people have.

How the nature of media can exacerbate and fuel those fears. But I encourage all us who have been called to help the families, orphans and widows to come and live the gospel.  Let us not be controlled by people’s biased opinions or false perceptions, rather, let us be guided by strength and love to courageously give and change the lives of those who are truly in need.

Thank you for your support of the ministry and please if you have any question you can contact me on my cellular phone which works perfectly fine in Mexico.

In Christ,

 

Fr. Nicholas L. Andruchow

Priest

Project Mexico & St. Innocent Orphanage

fnicholas@projectmexico.org

cell. 619-309-8745

 

Spagat, E. (2019, January 16). Last year's Central American caravan dwindles, new one forms. Retrieved from https://www.apnews.com/be98c131631d49f0943e1f7ac6a4993b

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

Five Essential Items for Mission Work Abroad by John Touloupis

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The Essentials

After a beautiful month of building homes in Tijuana, Mexico, my fellow interns and I have compiled an essential packing list of must-haves for your trip. 

We’ve been able to learn from first-hand experience and compiled what we believe to be the top five most important items to bring for your trip. 

While not 100% essential, we think it’s good to bring the following:

  • Sunglasses (preferably cheap ones, not your favorites)
  • Sunscreen and Aloe (especially if you burn easily)
  • Chapstick/Lip Balm
  • Basic toiletries (you would be amazed by how many people forget soap)
  • Chacos or Birkenstocks, a solid pair of shoes or work boots for build days
  • Donations for the boys of St Innocent 

 

Below are the Top Five essentials for your Mission work in Mexico!

Number 5: A Solid Hat

The sun in Baja can be especially brutal during long days on work sites. A good hat that covers your face and/or neck definitely helps keep the sun off of your face so you can maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

 

Number 4: Your Favorite Water Bottle

Like I said I said previously, it gets REALLY hot. Staying hydrated throughout your time on site and on the Ranch is absolutely crucial!

 

Number 3: Small Bills (No currency larger than $10) 

During your trip, we may visit the city of Rosarito for lunch or dinner at the local taco shop, or for cool treats at an ice cream parlor. Most vendors don’t accept big bills, so having a couple of smaller bills in your pocket is always a smart idea.

Pro tip: If you can exchange dollars for pesos find the best rate with a simple google search and bring some! 

Number 2: Snacks

After a long day of hard work, it’s good to have some of your favorite snacks back at the ranch. And even though the food on the Ranch is delicious, if you know you are the type of person who likes to snack late at night then definitely bring some.

Your fellow Interns will certainly be grateful if you remember to bring enough to share!

Number 1: Warm Clothes/Sweats

Yes! You read that right.

Surprisingly, the temperature drops into the 50s and sometimes as low as the 40s during the night. Also, the Ranch gets a cool breeze from the Pacific every now and then. Definitely have enough layers so you feel comfortable at night hanging and when it’s time to sleep. 

All of us interns hope this list helps and we can’t wait to see you!