Making a Mission A TCGH Team Shares God’s Love in Mexico

July 01, 2007 | Shawna Malvini

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.

The mission of Tillamook County General Hospital (TCGH), like other Adventist Health hospitals, is to "Share God's love by providing physical, mental and spiritual healing." The team at TCGH took that mission international by sharing God's love on a mission trip to Mexico.

In late March, 20 missionaries from Tillamook, Oregon, left the comforts of home and headed to Bucerias, Mexico, near Puerto Vallarta. Their mission? To build Sabbath School classrooms and fulfill the dreams of a church family in need. Through the sponsorship of Tillamook Church, TCGH chaplain Danny Parada coordinated the trip, enlisting help from hospital staff, church members and students from Tillamook Adventist School.

"We took what at first glance appeared to be a team of people with very different personalities and talents and then prayed for the Holy Spirit to bring us together. Wow!" Parada said. "It's amazing how God has his own way of doing things. I went to build four rooms, but God added more, bonding together our group. We became a very changed and charged-up team."

Triumphing over Challenges

Before they could get going though, the group members faced a $50,000 hurdle—airfare, travel and project expenses for each person. Letter writing campaigns and fundraising projects began in earnest. "I learned that you don't make just money from dinners, you benefit from team building. Personal contacts provided most of our funding," Parada said.

As with all major projects, the team faced many challenges along the way. Some included getting the site prepared before the team arrived, finding housing for the group and dealing with conflicts during the construction.

"I worried and worried about these things," confessed Parada. "But I was reminded once again that God appears at the last moment sometimes—to teach us patience and dependence on him."

The Tillamook team worked hard every day from 6:30 a.m. until siesta (lunch) time, and then all afternoon in the hot, humid weather, which can take a toll on a Northwesterner! Despite the difficult job and killer climate, the team worked steadily and after five days had completed the foundation and put walls halfway up. (Another mission group will follow to assist on the project.)

Transcending Culture with Kindness

In addition to building a solid physical foundation, the team formed friendships with the church members and local Bucerias community. "I was especially impressed by the kindness and generosity of the Bucerias church members," said Lyn Morris-Holman, R.N., case manager at TCGH and member of a local Nazarene church. "Several members came after working at their own jobs to work with us and to prepare us incredible traditional Mexican meals."

The church pastor and his 40 members were very excited about the construction project and to see a longtime dream start to come true. Soon, instead of meeting under an awning beside the church, they will have new classrooms!

"It was a very special time for both my husband, Doug, and myself, especially the morning and evening devotions," said Morris-Holman. "Devotion time gave the group a chance to reflect on why we were there and to share our experiences. It was an incredible experience, and we would both go back again!"