Mexico 2024

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Day 7

Mr. Ernie Mitchison:

I had the privilege to be a small part of the Crossroads HS Mexico missions team for a few days. Saturday was pretty much a travel and settle-in day. 

Sunday we went to church where Avery and Rami shared their testimonies and they did an amazing job; the congregation listened to them intently. After church, we did a skit and the kids did it all in Spanish, which was very impressive.  

That evening back at Basecamp, there was a competition between all of the kids from other churches, and they had to answer questions in Spanish and the Crossroads learners did Mrs. Oddo proud by winning the competition. 

Monday we went and started to build the house, becoming familiar with construction work. I would be lying if I wasn’t a bit scared of high school kids with hammers and power tools, but I will say they were all eager to work anywhere they were needed. Watching Erika cut out the windows with a Skil saw was very impressive. 

One thing that sticks out in my mind from the trip is one evening we were all sitting around in a group, talking and sharing.  One young girl shared that she enjoyed the trip because she was able to talk to and interact with people that she normally doesn’t get to at school and I welcomed her. I pray these learners keep the same compassion to serve others when they get back.

I hope the learners realize how much of an impact they have made on the family that they built the house for as well as the impact they made on me.   

Mr. Joe Vargas:

Embarking to Mexico with an energetic group of high schoolers proved to be both a fun and transformative trip for all the learners. We embarked on a mission to build not just a house, but to live out our faith.  In addition to building a house, we did outreach where we shared the message of Jesus, with orphans and neighborhood children. I loved the empathy and care the learners demonstrated while playing games and other activities with the children. I have no doubt the experience will  leave an indelible mark on everyone’s hearts. 

At the center, I met a young girl who was 14 years old and the primary caregiver to her and her three siblings. She was there to pick up her sisters. I learned she had to quit school when she was 12 so her parents could work to support them. She was younger than our learners and already shouldering the responsibilities of an adult. My prayer for her is that the center will be able to care for her siblings so she can return to school.

Mr. Scott:

We had an amazing mission trip to Mexico! From the moment of walking across the border, the team did a great job of being aware of their surroundings and purposeful. Once we arrived at the YWAM base in Ensenada, the team had an excitement for what was in store. On Sunday, we went to church and three of our learners shared their testimony while others performed a skit for the kids. On Monday, we started our house build project. I was so impressed by all of the learners and how they jumped in with both feet to help however they could! It was amazing to see this house go from just a concrete slab to a modestly furnished three-room house in just three days! It was also a blessing to work alongside Javier, the man whose family we were building the house for. He spoke English well and I was able to talk to him a lot. It was quite emotional to hear how grateful he was as he was handed the keys (which had been blessed by everyone on our team) to his new home! Our last day of ministry, we went back to the church that we had attended on Sunday. We served the church and local community by cleaning the church, serving food at their soup kitchen, sharing testimonies, and performing a skit. We then asked if anyone would like to receive prayer and prayed for several gentlemen for varying issues. We prayed for a man who was experiencing back pain, and after we prayed for him, he said the pain had decreased. God was definitely moving throughout this trip and we made numerous friends with the YWAM staff. It was an experience I will never forget. 

Mrs. Oddo:

I’m so blessed that I was able to spend 6 days with CCHS learners in Mexico! I’m very proud of them, their hard work, and their dedication. YWAM leaders kept telling me what a great group of learners we had. They worked very hard and without complaints showing the love of Christ to everyone they were in contact with! One of my favorite parts was when they were playing with the little kids at one of the houses we went to, making animal balloons, face painting and recreating Noah’s Arc story in Spanish.

Whatta week! Our learners have grown so much and have created such a bond with each other, Mission Adventures Staff, and the community! They have built a home, said their testimonies, played with kids, impacted a family, prayed, worshipped, served, shared meals, jumped rope, and done everything all for the glory of God. It was only a week long, but this trip created lifelong lessons and memories that we will never forget!! So grateful for our learners and staff! 

Day 6

Josh Yoder (10): 

Today my group went to a church we served at and helped clean and get ready for their soup kitchen. There was a lot of cleaning to do and after we cleaned it all up, we started handing out the soup to the guests there. Then after the soup kitchen, we went to a park and did a prayer walk.

Also, the day finished off with fun activities and opportunities to get closer to God. We did a lot of worship and we had a great dinner. The dinner was pizza and it was really good! The worship was amazing because everyone was jumping and praising Him.

JV Valenzuela (12): 

Today we served at a soup kitchen here in Ensenada Mexico. At the start of the day I was feeling a little ill and was hesitant to want to serve since I was not feeling well. Instead, I prayed and God had directly asked me to get up and serve.


Throughout today, I served at a soup kitchen and tried my best to help in any way possible. I started by sweeping the patio to try and clean up the surrounding area. I then started to entertain some of the children and ended up playing with one of them with a ball that was laying around. I was also able to explain to some of the children how Jesus walked on water and how we need to trust in Him. Overall today was worth serving and I am glad that God called me to serve even if I was discouraged by my sickness.

Solomon Colon (12): 

Today was definitely one of the most fun days for me out of this week. I was able to bond with the kids at the church we went to and played around alongside them. We played games and sang songs and I even taught some kids how to dance. I was also able to share a part of my testimony with the kids on how I got to where I am today. It was really sad when I had to say goodbye and leave. 

This morning, we went to the beach and I told myself I was going to go all out today and serve wholeheartedly and with intentionality. I feel that today I definitely did that and I do not regret a single thing that I did today. Normally I am serving on a stage but it was nice getting out of that comfort of just playing a guitar. Today I realized that I don’t just enjoy serving with worship but I truly enjoy serving where God needs me and I feel that is why I was sent on this trip.  

Day 5

Josiah Llamas (10):

Today was a fantastic day for all of us as we were able to finish building the house for the family. Whether we painted, moved furniture, or did simple things such as taking out trash, everything we did all contributed towards the house. At the end of the construction, we were all blessed by homemade ceviche made by the family, and it tasted wonderful as they were willing to give back to us. At the end, we all passed down the keys to each servant as we all said a word of encouragement or prayer to the family, and allowed them to enter the house, which was a wonderful moment. Doing some reflecting, we might have built a house for the family, but it wasn’t a home until the family went inside, and it was a special memory that will last forever in their hearts and my heart. The day wasn’t over, as at the end of the day, we had session where service was held, along with the opportunity to go around the room to different stations to strengthen your faith in Christ. This moment, in my opinion, allowed me to get closer to God and to speak with Him as He is able to guide me towards this path of servant hood, as Jesus made the sacrifice for us, we make sacrifices of our comfort to serve others. It has been a fantastic day, and while the trip is almost over, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to go serve in Ensenada.

Kaleb Hertica (11):

Today was day three of our house build. We woke up and had chilaquiles for breakfast. After that we had our morning chapel and devotion time. After that, we went to the build site. Señora B took a few learners and I to the grocery store with the family to get household supplies and food for their new home. Once we got back, the Varela Alegria blessed us by making us lunch. They made ceviche which was really good. 

After lunch we had a ceremony where we prayed for the family and talked about our experiences. 

G Severino (10):

Today was the final day that we were able to work on the house, and it was an amazing experience. Seeing everyone work together so fast and efficiently was great to see. I feel like it was great to see everyone work together, especially for the common goal of helping this family out. To see the house fully built was another amazing thing to see; and we got to see the result of everyone’s work put together.

I feel like this experience of serving was something new and unlike any experience I’ve had. We all had the opportunity to help a family and make a difference in their lives and build them a house. I never thought I could serve others like this and I am so glad I was able to. 

Jaclyn Paul (11): 

Today our team had the pleasure of finishing the house build. I started off by painting the sign for the Valera Algeria family home, then I had a lot of fun painting the roof of the home with Claire and Brandon. I got more paint on myself than I did on the house (I’m still picking pink paint out of my hair), but that made this experience even more memorable.

After we were all done building the house, the family and neighbors gifted our team and the workers with delicious homemade ceviche and Little Caesar’s pizza. We then all had a ceremony where we thanked the family and passed them the keys to their new home. Although I got severely sunburned through the days of the house build, it was worth it because I made so many memories the past few days here. I realized how truly grateful I have been to be here and how the days here have changed the way I perceive the world and people around me.

Day 4

Milan O’Neil (12):

Today was the second day of building a house for the Valera Aegria family. I continued to do the work I did yesterday until I was able to go up on the roof of the house and work on nailing the wooden pieces to the actual beam of the house. It was an amazing view from up top and it was nice to work with Dean, JV, and Kaleb. I pretty much spent the whole day up on the roof with the exception of lunch. I think the best part of building the house was being able to work with the workers that only really spoke in Spanish, which I was really nervous about but somehow we were able to come together and finish layering the house with the water proofing paper and shingles. 

Tomorrow we will continue finishing the roof and then I will continue to try my best with whatever is needed. I am so thankful that I get to use my skills and experience to build this house with my team. I can’t wait to see the finished look of the house and see how everyone’s hard work was put together as a result. 

At the end of the day when we got back to base we got to walk across the street and get tacos! The tacos tasted so  amazing and fresh. The sunset was so beautiful and the weather was perfect. It was so fun to be able to go out as a family and go eat tacos and buy stuff from the gas station with the whole Mexico team. When we got back to base after eating tacos we had a team debrief in the prayer room and got to go around in a big circle and talk about why we felt led to come to Mexico. It was so eye opening to see all of the different reasons why the team felt God led them to come serve in Ensenada, Mexico. We then had the option to come together and worship in the building. I felt so much joy being able to sing a few songs with my leaders and friends. I am so grateful and blessed to be able to feel at home and comfortable here even though I’m so far away from my family and school.

Dean MacRitchie (12): 

Today was day two of our house build. We woke up in the morning and had sausage and egg English muffin sandwiches for breakfast, which were super yummy! After that, we went to our morning session where we had worship and devo group time. Right after that we got on the buses to go to the build site. Yesterday we were able to put up the walls and trusses along with some of the roof panels and drywall. I am on the roof team, so today we went up and helped nail down the roof panels as well as staple down the waterproofing and nail the shingles on. I feel like everyone on the roof got into a good rhythm and we were able to get a lot done. We had lunch on-site and after we were finished for the day we took the bus back to base.

Everyone was really tired but we had an amazing dinner of some local tacos. We also went by a convenience store so everyone was able to stock up on snacks or anything they needed. With all our snacks and a couple hours of downtime before bed, we were able to relax from a day of hard work.

Erika Ortega (12): 

As the bright Ensenada sun brought us warmth from the cool ocean breeze, our team gathered for our second day of building a house for a deserving family. Upon arrival, everyone quickly got to work, adding to the progress from the day before. At first, I struggled to find my place since Mr. Ernie had left after breakfast and the day before he had provided a lot of encouragement and guidance for me. But after lunch, I found myself atop the roof, hammer in hand, driving the nails into the shingles that would soon provide protection over the heads of a family. With this in mind, a sense of determination and purpose filled me, and for the rest of my time I spent on the roof, the structure started to take shape, embodying the collective efforts of our dedicated team.

Later on we got treated to some delicious tacos. Joe encouraged me to try something new so I ordered a Tripas taco and my eyes were opened to such a delicious, crispy, and savory meat. I immediately sent a photo to my dad to show him that I tried one of his favorite tacos and he was very proud. We then went back to the compound and we all sat together in a room where we all shared what we thought our purpose for being in Mexico was. Hearing everyone’s purpose brought me joy. It showed how God can bring random people together, who might’ve had no interaction before, to truly make an impact in a different community far from home. This trip impacted me right away from the moment I stepped foot in Mexico and will continue to do so until the end. The connections I’ve made with the construction workers, the family, MA staff, and my fellow learners on the trip with me, I will forever be grateful for and have the memory of this trip kept with me forever. I hope to take this experience and all that I’ve learned as guidance for my own life and future mission trips to come!

Day 3

Tegan Smith (10):

What a wonderful trip so far it has been! Today we worshiped, worked, and grew a lot as a team. Our morning devotional topic today was about God’s love and how we allow the identity of God to shape us and what that looks like. This was a great reminder to be constant running through my brain as we began to build a house for the Valera Aegria Family. I was anticipating myself to jump into the painting group because it seemed the easiest but, as soon as the building group sign ups came I offered myself right away no hesitation. I know that what I signed up for would be the thing God wanted me to do for a specific reason. I learned how to properly use tools after trial and error but then I got right into building the house walls alongside many others. It turned out to be so much fun and fulfilling as I was able to practice and remember God’s love whenever I wanted to take a break, I kept going doing whatever I could to help. It was very special because the Valera Aegria family was there, as well as their neighbors, so I was able to talk to them all and laugh and smile with them as we prayed for this house to be a blessing. We packed up and headed back to YWAM after the day of building and I felt so overjoyed with all the beautiful conversations, long waiting working jobs, and getting to know each team member around me in a different way of helping each other out.

Aaron Hoogenraad (10):

I had a blast today helping out on the mission field and here are some of my personal highlights. I had a late start as my entire room woke up at 7:15 in the morning when we were supposed to be at breakfast at 7:30. Once breakfast was over we had a chapel service where we worshiped, had devotionals, and played a game. After that, our entire group went up to where we would be building a house but got lost on the way and got there late. Once we got there, we met the family whose house we were building for and introduced ourselves. We then divided ourselves into 3 smaller teams, which included the roof team, the paint team, and the structure team. I was assigned to the paint team, where we worked on painting roof shingles and the exterior walls of the house. We also had help from everyone in their neighborhood in helping build the house, including kids as young as 10 years old. We then took off after a few hours of building and headed back to our base campus, when we changed and got ready for dinner. Afterwards we debriefed the day’s building and got ready for evening chapel, which was really deep and talked about heavy subjects. Everyone hung out outside and enjoyed pizza for the rest of the night before heading to bed. 

Ally Hoenig-Lopez (12):

Today we had an amazing productive day! We started off with our daily devotional and chapel. We arrived and met the family we are building a home for. Plenty of us had never used tools, painted house supplies, or traveled this far from home before, so it has been an incredible experience. We are all so grateful to be able to make a difference in this family’s life. Even though some of us don’t have the experience in these types of things everyone had offered help no matter what. Everyone has stayed so positive during this whole trip. We had a lunch prepared by the YWAM staff which was turkey, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We were able to meet plenty of people like the neighbors who gave us a lot of help.

We went back to base and had enchiladas for dinner and ended the night with an impactful chapel. We all received a text to quickly come downstairs to the common area and didn’t know what it was. We were surprised with Señora and Mr. Ernie with a delicious snack! She came back with Little Caesar’s and everyone ate and went to bed. 


Brandon Rayson (12): 

Today we got the opportunity to build a house for a family. It was amazing to get to work with not only the learners but also with the neighbors to work together to work on the house. Although we made some mistakes in the building process, we got to learn from them and it gave us a chance to grow not only in our skill, but in our relationship with each other. 

At the end of the day, we went back to the base and got a chance to reflect on what we’ve experienced and had chapel. This chapel talked about some tough topics such as depression and anxiety, but this helped open our eyes to how no matter what we’ve done or what we’ve experienced, God will be there to love us unconditionally. This realization helped us become more open with each other and our experiences. Today as a whole has helped me know how blessed I am to be there to help serve others, but at the same time, I’m blessed to be served because of the people around me that are always pouring into me.

Day 2

Maddie Shaver (10): 

Today we had the opportunity to go to a church located here in Ensenada. I had so much fun during their worship. People came up to the front and danced and had tambourines. The message was also very powerful, talking about the woman that washed Jesus feet with perfume. Getting to witness a church service in a different language makes such a difference on how you can see God and how He works through other people. 

I was also able to share my testimony with the people who were attending the service.  This was a very cool experience because I was able to hear my story being spoken in a different language as well as hearing people that I have never met respond to my testimony. It was moments like that where I know God’s presence was there and is working in everyone’s life. 

Chris Scott (10): 

Today, we spent the day at a local church. We started the service by doing worship. It was amazing to see the locals be so involved and into worship. After worship, me and a few other learners got to share our testimonies with the church while someone translated for us. We listened to the message and sang a few more worship songs throughout the service and at the end.

It was a very powerful church service. The main message was from the story of the sinful woman that pours perfume on Jesus’s feet while Jesus is visiting a Pharisee. The preacher talked about how it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, what you have done, and where you came from; God always loves you and will always forgive you no matter what. It was really fascinating to see how our testimonies all related to the message, despite us not knowing what it would be. I believe we were able to make a huge impact on people today.

Avery Prospero (12): 

Today was our first full day in Mexico and we got to go to attend a local church. After arriving in the neighborhood of the church the team got to walk around and invite families to service. After fellowshipping with the community we went back and started the church service. We got to worship together and then I got to speak to the attendees. I shared my testimony with the church and highlighted how God is intentional with his plan for each of us. After speaking we were able to take communion together then put on a skit about Noah’s Ark for the kids. It was really cool to experience church here, as it was a very different experience than church back home. Today I got to watch a community come together and wholeheartedly praise the Lord and it was beautiful to witness.

Rami Cochran (10): 

The Mexico team had an excellent opportunity to attend a church service held at a family’s home. Before the service, we were offered time to meet the family. It was an absolute blessing to get to know their stories and spend time with them and their children. The service then began and Avery and I were called to share our testimonies about how God has always been working throughout our lives. It was so inspiring to hear what Avery had to say and how her path in life has constantly led her towards the Father.  After her and I spoke, the family held a worship session and it was one of the most beautiful experiences. It was so different from what we are accustomed to, but to understand that they were led by their hearts was a call to action that is more than words. After this, we all shared a time of communion starting off with a reading of Scripture, bread, as well as grape juice, to represent the Body and the Blood. One of the families were then prayed for and received anointing. Lastly, our team went outside to present a skit about Noah’s Ark with many learners and facilitators playing the role of Noah and the animals to tell a spectacular story – all in Spanish!!! The family then shared a time of music with us, along with some singing and dancing. It was nice to be prayed over by the family once we left shortly afterwards and said our goodbyes. All in all, it was an incredible experience that we will never forget, and may they be blessed each and every day!

Day 1

Claire Ketchum (10)

The team came together at 7:30am at the school. Many people came with excitement and nerves. Quickly the teachers helped everybody make sure they had everything like passports and itineraries. Then we were off on the road, and the team started bonding. We went to the YWAM office first, and then switched buses easily and efficiently. We took those buses to a food court and got to choose between Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out, and Chipotle. Then once we had our lunch. Many of us got ice cream at Handles and hung out for a few more minutes at the tables. Then we made our journey to cross the border.

Many were nervous about this part, however, it went smoothly and it was unproblematic. We got in our boarding groups and had our papers ready, then walked through the gates. Many of us through the rest of the drive looked out the windows and admired the beautiful beaches and scenery. While looking out the windows we saw an old pirate ship, a huge statue of Jesus, and many colorful buildings and signs. Then we finally arrived in Ensenada and got a huge welcome from the YWAM team. They showed us around and we started getting settled into our rooms. We then had carne asada tacos for dinner and a worship service on campus. All in all, it was a great first day, and I can’t wait for the next!

Matt Soto (12):

The start of yesterday began with a sense of excitement and nerves. The thought of leaving the country and entering into this new set of life for a week had me feeling multiple emotions at once. As my worldly emotions started to weigh heavy on me, I remembered one thing, I’m not here for me but I am here to glorify the One and only God. 

As we began to cross the border, all senses of stress and anxiety began to dissipate, a sense of peace went upon me and the presence of God was within the team. As we continued to drive along the coast, I started to admire the beauty of God’s creation. After admiring the waves I began to reminisce and remember that all creation sings His praise and worships Him.

As the time went on, we all gathered in the church to sing praise and worship. I’ve never seen an environment so full of pure worship and perseverance. After worship, we began to plan out how we can spread the Word of the Gospel to the children of the church. Our team chose one of my all time favorite stories, the Great Commission. After hearing that, I felt called to read and narrate that story for the kids to emphasize the importance of people being called by God.

Cameron Johnson (10):

Yesterday, I woke up early around 6 and got in the car around 7 and then arrived at school to get ready to take off on the bus. When the team got on the bus, I was excited to go and serve in Mexico. I also knew that it was going to be a long ride in the bus to get to the border. When we got to the border, we got off of the second bus and then crossed showing passports and paperwork. Then, we got back on the bus after we crossed over the border and headed to the compound that we were going to be staying at. 

When we were in the bus, I saw a lot of the people just outside of the border and it was heartbreaking. There were a lot of people that looked like they were struggling and it looked rough. Then, when we were in the bus, we saw a lot of cool stuff when we were driving on the coastline, the water looked so nice and pretty. And then we saw statues and a cool shipwreck. Then we got here and they welcomed us with open arms and they were all super excited and pumped that we were coming. Then we worshiped for a while and then had a cool service and planned what we were going to do the next day. Then we went back to the rooms and slept.