I just returned from a weeklong mission trip with my church, Richmond Hill United Methodist. We traveled to Tapachula, Mexico, where there is a ministry for children called Mission on the Move, or “MOM.”
Some of the folks reading this article remember Adam Balduff, a teacher at the Richmond Hill High School who recently took a giant leap of faith and left his teaching position to move his family to Tapachula so he and his wife Jennifer could take over this important ministry.
Adam met us at the airport and throughout the week we had great discussions about his family’s decision to be a part of the mission field. It is a “calling” to be sure.
Tapachula de Córdova y Ordóñez, simply known as Tapachula, is a city located in the far southwest of the state of Chiapas in Mexico, near the Guatemalan border and the Pacific Ocean. Most of the city’s economic importance has come since the late 19th century with the establishment of coffee plantations.
Even though the area is of extreme economic importance to Chiapas, the people conserve water and resources out of a desperate need rather than a desire to be environmentally conscious. Things that we take for granted, like flushing a toilet, taking a hot shower and having clean drinking water and air conditioning, are all luxuries to say the least. The first thing I realized after my first day there was how good we have it in the U.S. and how spoiled I have become.
Beyond all the physical conditions, however, was a keen sense of how important it was for us to be there. This spiritual work of service, which started more than 15 years ago for Hope and Steve Shearouse, began when they were working in the field of prison ministry and has evolved into serving children in Honduras, Kenya and Mexico – where we served in three group homes caring for children that have come to them as young as 4 years old.
Some of the children living with Hope and Steve today have been with them through their entire time as missionaries and are now working to finish college and hopefully break the all-too-familiar cycle of pain, poverty and suffering.
MOM’s mission statement reads: “Called by God to go and serve vulnerable children believing the love of Christ brings hope, transforms lives and strengthens communities.” The tag line on their Facebook page is: “Changing lives for Christ, one child at a time.”
That’s why we were there – to share the love of Christ and give them hope. It’s why Adam and his family have decided to take over for Hope and Steve, who are from neighboring Springfield, Georgia, and now in their 70s. It’s why churches in various parts of the country plan mission trips to Tapachula each year to continue to be Disciples of Christ.
I can honestly say this trip has changed me, and there is not a day that goes by that I have not thought of the children and the mission work that is ongoing there. I share all this to hopefully create a desire in your heart to want to experience the same.
Whether it’s in Mexico or in your own back yard, there is an opportunity for everyone to serve in the mission field. What can you do? You can pray, you can give and you can go. It will not only spread hope to many, it will give meaning and purpose to your life.
If you have a pulse, you have a purpose, my friend!
For more information on MOM, you can email Rich at SeniorMomentsWithRich@gmail.com.