Northwest Teams Continue Project in Uruapan, Mexico
The mission trip began early Sunday morning, March 14, from Hood River, Ore. The destination was 1,300 miles south to Uruapan, Mexico, about 40 miles south of Ensenada.
Curt and Elaina Mathiesen began planning this trip after returning from the same location last year. Happy to go back to Uruapan where homes are being built for orphans, they organized a crew of nearly 30 students and adults. So far, the first home is occupied by nearly 16 children plus staff. The second home is almost ready to be occupied while the third and fourth buildings need to be finished.
Ralph Staley, Hood River Pathfinder leader, helped find the needed workers for the many different jobs. Staley invited other Pathfinder clubs and leaders in both Oregon and Washington to join the Hood River group.
Each year the Lord supplies Curt Mathiesen, dentist, with helpers for dental care. A makeshift room is quickly fixed up in Uruapan. Nineteen-year-old Michael Do, an aspiring dentist from South Korea, was able to take leave from his college classes to assist. Angelena Marx served as the hygenist and Alicia Mckenzie was the receptionist and interpreter. The team helped more than 200 patients in just five days.
Meanwhile, Jim Rickabaugh and Lisa Giebel organized the teens to hand out 20 cases of literature and 200 Bibles. They visited every home in the town and approached people on the street. When everything had been distributed, the teens said, "People are so happy and hungry for literature and Bibles, we wish we had more to give out." They shared wonderful stories during worship time and felt God had surely watched over them.
A team of Walla Walla students arrived during the project and the two groups enjoyed working together.
Also special time was shared with the orphans and staff. At departure time, the team left a gift of 30 beautiful blankets made by White Salmon (Wash.) and Hood River church ladies.
Eight and a half days at the orphanage did not seem long enough. But plans are being made to return to this beautiful area again next year.