GBHS teens take part in annual mission trip to Mexicali

On a scorching Mexicali day, junior Jaylin Arnold sits in the back of a truck, talking with her team members in preparation for their day camp where they will gather children for a game of soccer.

Every spring break for the last 27 years, Bayside Church organizes a week-long mission trip to Mexicali, Mexico where hundreds of high school students give sermons at 35 partnered churches, build houses for the communities they visit and hold a day camp with local children. The Friday before spring break, the members take a 12 hour car ride to Mexicali. 

“Everybody started opening up and then we all just got really close like a family while we were down there,” freshman Caleb Luby, said. “We had WrestleMania in our tent. We had 70 dudes in that tent at the same exact time. It stunk, but there were seven dudes with Ninja Turtle masks, with little capes on and half of them had Angry Birds (costumes).”

Arnold and many others heard about the trip from word of mouth around Bayside.  Arnold went on the trip as an impact group member where the members go to parks and churches in the community and play with the children there.

“We would go and play games and share stories and essentially just hang out and then (we would) run a vacation bible school type of thing every day,” Arnold said.

One of the goals of the trip is to get more children involved by connecting them with local churches. Bayside partnered with 35 churches in Mexico

“The hope is that once we leave, then they will want to keep coming back to stay there at that church that they’ve gotten to know and to feel comfortable there,” Marisa Chaffey, a parent attendee and high school small group leader said.

High school small group leaders are in charge of a few to roughly 15 kids and act as a counselor on the trip. Chaffey’s group was also part of the impact team;  the church they volunteered with doubled in size after the mission trip.

There are also many other groups on the trip including a translator group that Chaffey’s husband participated in, and team Barnabas, named after the saint Barnabas.

“There is the Barnabas team (which is) part of the Thrive College. They just hype this up, (they) made sure everybody was okay. Just always there to lend a hand.” junior Serena Hildebrand, said.

Bayside attendees said daily immersive activities between both the local Mexicali community and their peers strengthened their relationships.

“Oftentimes we register and sign up for the trip with a heart to go and serve and care for our neighbors in Mexico, and yet, we oftentimes don’t realize what we receive in return, which is that love and that relationship and that lasting effect of just that was another human being,” Chaffey said.