When Redeemer Lutheran Church began planning its nine-day mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico, the least of organizers’ worries was finding volunteers.
Even though volunteers pay their own airfare plus $200 for food and lodging, organizers turned some away. That’s because Redeemer doesn’t just take people from its congregation - the church has become a mission center for the entire Missouri-Synod Lutheran Church.
In fact, about half of the 37 people going on the April 19 trip are from other parts of the country and Canada. Volunteers who contact the Lutheran church’s national headquarters are often referred to Redeemer.
“Redeemer is the premier building team within the Lutheran Church in this area,” said Sandy Anderson, the church’s minister of discipleship.
Anderson has gone on 75 missions, taking more than 700 people with him. During his two years at Redeemer, more than 80 of its members have been on missions.
One Redeemer member, JaNae Perna, even lives in Tijuana now. The 24-year-old stays near a small clinic the church funds. She helps the nurse there, and conducts Bible studies. She even had to act as a temporary replacement for an minister who died unexpectedly.
Anderson said the reason for a concentrated focus in Tijuana is growth.
“It’s the fasting-growing city on the west coast of the Americas,” he said.
On this trip, volunteers will add a second floor to the small 12-by-12foot structure that houses a nurse, her husband and their five children. They are also preparing to add a second floor to the clinic next door where the nurse works, and will make repairs to a dormitory that Lutherans live in during mission trips.
“I recruit a lot of carpenters,” Anderson said. “We learn to build a two-story house in 10 days.”
While volunteers pay their own expenses, Anderson is always in need of construction material donations.
Anderson said the trips are successful because volunteers get back more than they give.
“It really makes an impact on the people in the church,” he said. “It really changes them. The bonding between people is so strong.’
Pines Baptist turns 40
Pines Baptist Church is now offering tickets for its 40th anniversary celebration dinner, set for 4:30 p.m. April 8 at the Red Lion Inn.
Tickets are $14 for adults and $6.50 for children.
For more information or tickets, call 928-7880.