About 5 years ago I was serving alongside our missions partner in Haiti and this thought came to mind: We need to bring this partnership thing to Baja.
To say that churches in Baja have a complicated relationship with the American churches who come for short-term trips is complicated would be an understatement.
But that was true in Haiti, too. For generations American missionaries came to the Caribbean with well-meaning missions intent but unfortunately created dependencies on American missionaries instead of strong, vibrant local churches.
While not always the case– this is something that churches in Northern Mexico struggled with, as well. And knowledge of that historic baggage of dependency was what kept bringing the idea of doing short-term mission trips with Praying Pelican to mind. I’d think, “If they could build legitimate, locals first partnerships that built up the local church in Northern Mexico the way I’ve witnessed them doing all over Haiti… I think something truly awesome could happen.”
Flash-forward to August of this year. A couple of staff members from PPM flew into San Diego and together we spent five days in Ensenada and Tijuana getting to know pastors who might be interested in partnering with us. They were reluctant… they’d been burned before… they feel like things are going really well for their ministries WITHOUT partnering with Americans… which was really the signal we were looking for with our partners.
We loved that they were suspicious. Maybe even a little cynical. One pastor went on to explain to us his entire philosophy of why he thinks most short-term missions run a well-worn trip do it backwards. After he finished explaining it to us we stopped him and said, “Pastor, we’re not bringing that program. We’re not looking for that kind of partner. Our mission is to build YOUR church, not for your church to support what we’re already doing.”
Mind = Blown.
This conversation ballooned into a rather mind-blowing weekend. We’d hoped to meet one pastor, one church, who might be willing to partner with us. But as we explained how our trips work, the philosophy on ministry connected, pastors started pulling out their phones to connect us with friends. First they’d show us their church then they’d introduce us to someone else.
This is where you come in
I’ve personally committed to leading trips in Ensenada and Tijuana alongside our missions partner, Praying Pelican Missions. (I’m that convinced this needs to happen.)
Have questions? Leave a comment or drop me an email. I’ll do my very best to answer any question you might have.