A total of 97 people participated in the 20th summer Church of God missions trip to Poza Rica, Vera Cruz, Mexico. This trip, coordinated by Tony Lane, focuses on the Casa Hogar Alfa y Omega orphanage in Poza Rica.
The group was multigenerational, including team members from ten different states. The youngest member who is only two years old, traveled with her parents and siblings and the eldest team member was 78. This missions trip provides great opportunities for crossing generations as everyone serves together, side by side.
“The trips, which started in 1999, continue to provide individuals and church groups exposure to life outside of the United States as they pursue fulfilling the Great Commission through acts of service,” Lane stated. “At the orphanage, a variety of service opportunities enabled the team members to participate by utilizing their gifts and talents. Work projects included the construction of new desk units for the students in the school on the campus, tiling the bathroom in the girls’ dorm, painting the exterior of the school, assisting with concrete work on the new boys’ dorm that is being constructed, tearing out a concrete wall between two classrooms in order to make a larger learning center. The roof of the school also had a coat of sealer applied. All the projects materials were purchased by individuals and churches on the team who graciously came prepared financially to help.”
A day camp was held and children at the orphanage were able to select three days of specialized training which included knitting and crocheting, Martial arts, self-defense, dance and drama, instrumental music, hair and nails, and even kick-boxing. Ministry opportunities included participation in church services, preparing and serving meals, cleaning, and serving in an outreach ministry called Church to the Streets, a weekly service in the park in the central part of town to drug addicts, alcoholics, and prostitutes.
A highlight of the week was a birthday party for everyone at Casa Hogar and also for those in the Church to the Streets Rehab ministry.
Team member Dawn Lipsey, from the South Cleveland Church of God, stated that the thing that touched her most was hearing the story of how the orphanage began as told by Teresa Herrera, the founder of Casa Hogar Alfa y Omega. “To think that children who were abandoned, neglected, and living under a bridge, including a one year old baby is incomprehensible,” Lipsey stated. “To experience God’s faithfulness through the years and hear the stories of God’s provision is a lesson that will never be forgotten by those on the team.”
The team included participants from several Church of God churches, including Bay Harbour in Brunswick, GA; Calvary Worship Center in Swannanoa, NC; Fort Mill in Fort Mill, SC; Healing Place in Birmingham, AL; Liberty Christian Center in Casselberry, FL; Love’s Crossing in Trafford, AL; North Spartanburg in Spartanburg, SC; Odum COG in Odum, GA; Princeton Pike COG in Hamilton, OH; South Cleveland in Cleveland, TN, Southern Blvd COG in Bronx, NY; and Valley View COG in Clanton, AL and Iglesia de Dios Ebenezer in Virginia Beach, VA.
In November 2017, the first international Kidfest was held in Poza Rica, Mexico. Over 500 attended. The 2nd International Mexico Kidfest will be held on the campus of Casa Hogar Alfa y Omega on November 16 & 17. In May 2018, the first FOCUS Mexico Leadership Conference was held in Poza Rica with over 250 in attendance. The 2nd FOCUS Mexico Conference, a leadership training conference for children’s ministry, youth ministry and pastors will be held in May 2019.
Teams are already forming for the 2019 missions trips. There will be a winter trip on January 2-9, 2019 and the summer trip is scheduled for July 12-19. Limited space will be available on both trips. For more information, contact Tony Lane at [email protected] or call 423.478.7017.