It’s been so exciting to watch the ministry of Love Your Neighbor grow over the years. Not only has this Pulpit Rock “bunk bed ministry” expanded from bi-monthly build days to include woodworking and mentorship classes, but this growth has also created opportunities to send LYN teams to other countries!
And just a few weeks ago, a Love Your Neighbor team returned from training a local team in Mexico!
Luke shares about this recent trip to Capácuaro…
Imagine, as a father, having to leave your family for months at a time to learn a trade… You don’t have a choice, because there is no training in your town and back and forth travel to the training is not an option. You have struggled until now to provide, but have decided to learn a new skill and provide a better life for your family.
Would you be able to leave your family for months at a time, knowing they are not in a safe town and will struggle to get the basics they need to survive while you are gone?
Would you risk falling back into the substance addiction that has been a major cause of your struggles to learn skills and find steady work?
This is a reality in a small town in the state of Michoacán, Mexico called Capácuaro.
So, local (to Mexico), missionaries, Scott and Isabel Somerville have decided to team up with some skilled people in their church to build a trade school to fight this problem. This is a plan that has taken over 10 years to come together, but is now starting to make some tangible progress.
The team from Iglesia Vida Abundante (Abundant Life Church) have bought some land in Capácuaro and began construction to build a church building, school rooms for tutoring, a trade school and an open athletic area for local youth.
The team in Capácuaro hopes to get the carpentry section of the trade school operational by the fall of 2022 – that’s where the Love Your Neighbor team (for this trip – Brian Worster and I) comes in. Our friend, Mike Contreras at Mission Connect, got us connected with the team at Capácuaro. Mike spent several years in Mexico teaching classes and still has strong ties to many Mexican communities. He is also a regular volunteer with the LYN team.
The local Mexican team had some very skilled carpenters, but they didn’t have much experience when it came to teaching/leading others in the woodshop.
Our LYN team regularly hosts build days in Humblewood Workshop for volunteers and small groups to come build beds. We also teach local at-risk youth through our woodworking/mentorship programs. So, it seemed like a good fit and a good use of our experience to connect with the team in Capácuaro.
A Mexican camp a few hours away from Capácuaro – Campamento Los Domos, agreed to host us and the Capácuaro team as well as let us use their woodworking tools for some in-person training.
We were able to spend 3 full days with the team in la carpenteria (the woodshop). During that time, we passed along some tips and tricks we have picked up through our time leading build days and classes.
As we thought about what we value most when it comes to leading in the woodshop, we decided to focus on the importance of three things:
- Stay focused on the main goal of the woodshop: use time spent side by side to develop a relationship with and show love to everyone you lead
- Safety: create processes and use tools as safely as possible
- Be ok with mistakes: create jigs and other items to make repeatable projects easy to complete, but show grace when mistakes are made
It was a true joy to spend time with our Mexican brothers in the woodshop. Seeing people who are on fire for God and looking for practical ways to love those that are hurting is an incredible thing to be a part of.
When my passion for God, for others and for woodworking all come together, it makes my heart so happy. It was an incredible trip and I look forward to hearing from the great men we worked with and how they are able to use their gifts and talents to make their neighbors feel seen, known and loved.
If you would like to learn a little more about the trade school they are building and how you can help, check out their online giving page and video from the men leading the project here. Or, if you want to see a few videos we posted during our time in the woodshop, check out Love Your Neighbor on Facebook and Instagram.
¡Ama a tu prójimo! Love your neighbor!
God is at work in our city and all over the world through the missionaries and organizations we partner with. Learn more about these awesome organizations on our Sent page!