Mission: Ensenada

by Sean Fitzpatrick '04 & Melissa Nicholas '05

On Friday, February 14 at 5 a.m., 189 APU students from 19 missions teams and 3 music ministry groups left APU to go to Ensenada, Mexico for the three-day weekend. The purpose of the trip was to both serve the local community and build closer relationships among team members, who will be embarking on additional mission trips this summer. Ensenada is located two hours south of the border along the coast of Baja California, and is a popular attraction for American tourists.

The students stayed at Rancho El Refugio, a serene piece of land located 30 minutes from Ensenada. The ranch is owned by the Institute for Outreach Ministries, an Azusa Pacific program that seeks to create life changing cross-cultural opportunities for young people.

After setting up tents and sleeping bags, the teams made their lunches and then headed off for their ministry sites. Service ranged from pulling weeds to digging ditches.

The members of teams Utah, Uganda, and Slovenia went to a local elementary school to repaint two of the school’s buildings. After school was out, the APU students were able to interact and play games with the children. "Doing missions work in Mexico really helped bond us together," sophomore Aimee Stump said after a long day of ditch digging.

While in Mexico, each of the teams had time to bond and learn more about their mission. Team Utah experienced substantial growth as they learned more about the people they will be ministering to on their trip. They played icebreaker games, watched videos, and participated in simulations teaching them how to share their faith.

On Saturday night, the missions teams went into the thriving city of Ensenada, finding out more about the area through a scavenger hunt and then eating authentic Mexican food at a local restaurant.

After experiencing serene Mexico sunsets, night time worship under the stars, and daily acts of service, the different teams established a greater sense of community within their groups and a better understanding of their future ministries.