Project Mexico Reflection by Father Christian Burkhard
The arrival of our team on June 8th of this year at Saint Innocent Orphanage in Rosarito, Mexico was the realization of a dream our parish has had for many years. While various members of the community have participated in this ministry in the past, never had a dedicated team been successfully organized and sent from Saint George though it had been attempted. As such, it was with great joy that we finally walked the grounds during our Project Mexico orientation.
This orientation acquainted us with the living arrangements as well as the daily schedule which would include daily payers, meals, and transportation to and from our work site. Additionally, we had the opportunity to get to know members of the other groups who had come from across the United States. Parishes in attendance were from California, Indianna, Ohio, and even Cape Cod, MA. These were then condensed into two large work parties that would then go on to build two homes respectively.
Prior to our departure from the orphanage to the job site, our site-leader Noah, a project Mexico intern, told us a little bit about the family we would be building for. The family of 16 was living in a 25 by 20-foot shack, so the two 13 by 26 homes we were constructing would more or less triple their living space. This was an eye-opening experience for all of us coming from the relative opulent lives we have here.
The change of perspective was most evident in our reactions to the primitive accommodations at the orphanage. We slept in damp tents strewn about an unkempt field that was often muddy from the unseasonable rains, we took cold showers in drafty bathrooms, and so on. Despite this, however, there was no negativity to speak of. There was, rather, the thoughtful comments acknowledging the challenges, but also how good we really have it. So, in light of this, how could we complain?
On the last day, as the group gathered for prayer and reflection, they shared their experiences and the profound impact it had on their lives. The mission trip became a catalyst for personal growth and a deepening of their relationship with God. They realized that true fulfillment lay not in material possessions or societal recognition but in selflessly serving others and embracing the teachings of their faith. In this way, the impact of Project Mexico extends beyond the four walls that are being built. It impacts the families as well as the team volunteers by shaping their hearts through the act of living out God’s love.
For more information on Project Mexico please contact Father Christian or Presvytera Maria.