Mexicali 2005: Surrender

by Kyle Richardson '06

It's 6 a.m. and the sun shines brightly into your tent as you desperately try to catch a few more winks of sleep on the rock-hard ground. No shower or hot water greets you in the morning; rather, you are welcomed by a hyper-active mob of college kids with a microphone. You crawl our of your sleeping bag, grab your toothbrush, and head out to prepare for a day of service. This is the daily routine of a Mexicali volunteer.

For more than 30 years, Azusa Pacific University's Mexico Outreach Program has sent thousands of students south of the border to volunteer their time and efforts. Whether they are preparing sack lunches, driving high school students to various work sites, or simply painting a building, APU students keep the program alive and running.

On March 19, 2005, nearly 5,000 high school students arrived at four different locations for a week of camping and serving in Mexico. The following week, more than 2,000 students headed out on a second trip to two locations. Churches from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Alaska, Minnesota, Hawaii, and numerous other states as well as Canada join APU every year to minister in Mexico.

This year's theme, Surrender, was based on Luke 9:24: "If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." (NLT) The volunteers were encouraged to put their own personal interests aside in an act of service to others.