Harding’s City of Children spring break mission team is joining with a team from Pepperdine University for this year’s trip. The two teams will be traveling together to Ensenada, Mexico from Feb. 27 through March 4.
According to junior Jenna Harris, one of the leaders for the year’s trip, the City of Children is a safe haven in Mexico for homeless children from birth to 18 years old. Some children are orphans, while others have families who cannot financially support them or who are not allowed to have custody of them.
Harris said that different groups arrive to work with the City of Children each week of the year to serve in the compound, provide the children with a Vacation Bible School and take advantage of various other mission opportunities. Harris said the teams choose where they want to serve, but are there, for the most part, to interact with the kids.
“The purpose of the groups is just to come in and teach and expose the kids to different love and affirmation, and also to give the groups that are coming in an opportunity to see a different culture,” Harris said.
Harris said the two schools will try to blend as much as they can. Once they arrive in Mexico, they will go over the curriculum, collaborate, teach it to each other and then have unified teaching groups between the two teams. Harding’s group will also divide up into eight small “family groups” each night.
“At the end of the day before a group devotional, we’ll come together and kind of decompress from the day and say where we saw God, where we struggled with anything we were frustrated with, but mostly focus on how God is moving in us and through the kids,” Harris said. “That’s a very beautiful time for the group, and we are hoping to incorporate Pepperdine (University) into that too.”
Senior Dylan Prato, another leader for Harding’s team, said that he is excited because teaming up with Pepperdine University gives him and the rest of the group an opportunity to meet more people.
“I’m not saying that people from the West Coast are extremely different than Southern people, but it is going to be different and nice,” Prato said. “We don’t completely know everybody in the group anyway, so it’s just a chance to intimately get to know people in a setting besides Harding.”
Dusty Breeding, who is assisting with Pepperdine’s campus ministry retreat, said that they are excited to combine with Harding. He also mentioned that trips outside the U.S. provide growing experiences for faith and cultural awareness.
“Being someone who is constantly seeking to grow and improve, I always enjoy service trips like this and think they play an important role in the development of our students,” Breeding said. “I’m confident this trip will be a great opportunity for us to serve and grow.”