The spring break trip of a lifetime

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By The Staff

The United Church opens a mini mall Sunday with its annual Mexico Mission auction. The silent and live auction is a large community event to raise funds to send a home-building crew to Mexico during spring break.

Many local youth and adults find spring break as a time to recharge  the batteries as the school session heads into the final stretch. The United Church members and other community residents also find it a time to refill the spiritual well by providing services to others.

Recently, the United Church congregation looked at Risk Taking Mission and Service in an effort to refocus what God is calling them to do in their community, the nation and even the world.

The annual trip, which has been in existence for many years, was in jeopardy recently with unsafe occurrences taking place near the usual Juárez “vacation spot.”

The planning team, along with Youth Pastor Keith Lewis was about to break the news to the youth group that the annual trip would be considered too dangerous for this year.

“When we were set to tell the kids that Mexico was off, I felt like a parent who had to tell their kid that the most awesome event of the year, perhaps Christmas, wasn't going to happen,” Lewis said. “The understanding that we were about to spread mass disappointment was excruciating.”  

There’s an old saying that when God closes one door, he opens another, but it’s hell in the hallway. At the last minute, the United Church discovered they had not one, but three options before them, for a life changing spring break.

The options included: a Habitat for Humanity build in Santa Fe, a coastal rebuild from hurricane damage or a slightly different excursion to Puerto Peñasco. The third option won out as the relationship to Mexico isn’t just a one time event, but one that has gifted so many homes for a country so close to and so different from our own.

The Mexico Mission auction is the biggest event the church holds each year with the sole goal of being able to purchase the materials, food and other supplies to take care of their 70-plus member team during the week-long excursion.

As economic times are tight for many, they couldn’t possibly rival families of four or more that make less in a month than many in the community make in a week.

Auction co-chairpeople Albert Elder and Lisa Reader have amassed a team of volunteers to pull off the annual auction.

“The youth have worked very hard for this event,” Elder said. “They have gone out into the community asking businesses for items to auction.

They will also do most of the heavy lifting for setting up the auction.”

The goal of the auction is to raise $15,000, which will build about four homes throughout the week and feed the masses of both the work crew and sometimes the local families, too.

The silent auction includes everything from stuffed animals to jewelry and local services and opening bids begin as low as a dollar. It begins at 2 p.m. and includes a preview of the live auction items. The silent auction ends with the last bids placed and bid sheets collected at 3 p.m.

For the live auction, bidders sign in, collect their paddles and receive the show catalogs with details of items for the 3 p.m. event.

This preview time is also a social gathering opportunity to snack on treats prepared by church members and includes beverages to wash them down, all prior to the start of the bidding.

A mock “celebrity,” auctioneer is scheduled to appear to lift the gavel and call the bids. He or she will begin the bidding on a variety of items from furniture to art. The auction highlights have always included special dinner celebrations prepared by church members.

There is still time to make contributions to the auction with Mardel in the church office. Call 662-2971.

The auction and Mission Trip are special times for the church and community to come together to help those less fortunate. “I look forward to the entire Mexico experience, the long sweaty trip to Puerto Peñasco, serving on behalf of our wonderful Church, Concrete Day, campfires, shared language of experience, lots of laughter, great food, small groups and an appreciation for all that I have and the reminder that material things do not bring happiness,” Lewis said. “Reflecting the love of God through work is an amazing thing.”