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Members of the White Rock Baptist Church are hosting a vacation Bible school this summer, but unlike other programs, this one will not be held down the street. A team of 20 people will travel to the edge of Chihuahua, Mexico and venture to the isolated community in the Sierra Tarahumara.
The goal is to impact residents’ lives – both in lifestyle and in spirituality.
Beverly Basey-Jones and her husband have traveled to the Sierra Tarahumara several that times in the past. This will be their third year.
Basey-Jones explained they collaborate with Rosendo and Rosario Cordoba. She and her husband met the Cordobas while working at Casa de Amor para niños in Puerta Palomas, which is a shelter for abused, abandoned and neglected children. The first year, she said, they just assisted the Cordobas. The second year, Basey-Jones and her husband took food dispensers, water purifiers, backpacks and other items.
This year, Basey-Jones said they want to “up the ante” and bring more volunteers, more donations and more of a presence in the community.
The group will be at Sierra Tarahumara July 23-31. “We just decided we wanted to become more involved … they are just a very beautiful and unique people,” she said.
With the support of White Rock Baptist Church, the team will engage the community in arts and crafts, games and other activities associated with vacation Bible school. All the programs will be held outdoors and will be simple, handheld activities.
While activities that require scissors or glue will be impossible to conduct, Basey-Jones said children will be introduced to new things such as Nerf balls and parachute sheets.
It’s a different culture in this area in Mexico, she said.
If Mexico implemented a caste system, then the residents of Tarahumara would be deemed the untouchables. Some have been denied entry into businesses and as a result of this attitude; they have isolated themselves and do not receive much outside interaction. Homes are simple wood structures that are oftentimes not chinked and have dirt floors. The poverty is rampant in this area. In fact, Basey-Jones said, it is quite high compared to the rest of the country. So it is not just supplies such as soap, school supplies, purified water equipment and food that the team will bring this community ,but also hope.
“We believe people who know how much Jesus love them have a hope that is incredibly strong,” Basey-Jones said. “There is a lack of hope in Mexico.”
Through this mission, she said, hope will offered to these people. The group will work with the Cordobas to accomplish this goal. Basey-Jones said they worked for two years to get permission to share the gospel with the community. Plus, they will have translators who will work with the team. The vacation Bible school will impact not just the people in the Sierra Tarahumara but also team members. For children who accompany their families, it is a chance to be introduced to mission work. She said coming from a culture that has so much, will be an opportunity “to get exposure to the extreme poverty that exists in the world.”
Poverty, Basey-Jones said, does have a face.
See more pictures of previous trips to the Sierra Tarahumara, see page 7.