Mexico missions not tripped up by violence

Despite the danger that faces them, students cross the border to aid others.

Alondra Urizar, Writer

Despite news of violence in Mexico, missions teams still head across the border to assist people in orphanages, churches and helping feed the poor.

With the Tijuana Ministry taking their next trip on May 2, the only major violence that recently happened in Mexico was in the border city of Reynosa near McAllen, Texas, which left three people dead. The team keeps in contact with Biola’s Risk Management department to make sure the trip is still safe.

The Tijuana Ministry visits Niños de la Promesa right next to the border and takes day trips about once a month with around 20 to 30 students each time, but no more than 35. Co-directors of the Tijuana Ministry, Nicole Webber and Brandon Mancini, have learned to navigate Tijuana from the previous director of the ministry without the assistance of guides.

Mancini said that so far there have not been any trips canceled due to dangerous conditions since he joined the Tijuana Ministry. Since students never stay overnight in Tijuana, they volunteer to drive to San Diego on Saturday where they get on a bus managed by two men the team has known for 10 years — Jorge and Luis. The students never enter the red light district of Tijuana.

“Between [Jorge and Luis], they honestly have just taken care of us every single time and if it’s not them then they have very clearly given other drivers instructions and procedural stuff to care for our team as well,” Webber said.

Students on the trip are unphased by the potential dangers. Sophomore Christian ministries major Danielle Heath has been going to Mexico for the last three years between Tijuana with the Tijuana Ministry and Tecate with her church and feels very safe.

“I definitely feel safe…With my church we build a house so we go to the location, site and then we usually stay a week in Tecate so we stay at…a really safe ranch so I always feel really safe,” Heath said.

Maritza Amaya, senior psychology major has only been traveling to Tijuana since the semester began, but she expects to continue returning with the ministry. Amaya said she enjoys helping the children by forming friendships with those going through hardships. She said she enjoyed her experience the last time she went to Tijuana and will continue to return with the ministry team.

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