Another successful week of training has just been completed at our San Quintin location in the California Baja. Aaron Rustenburg from Paul’s Auto Service in St. Catharines, Ontario and Rick Cogbill of Mercy Tech Mission have just returned with reports that the mechanics training program at the One Life One Chance mission base is really gaining traction.
Ok, so I’ve been reading too many Louis L’Amour novels lately. But on July 2nd a young man from Ontario will actually make his way west and south to take part in a Mercy Tech Mission training trip to the California Baja.
Every stage of a Mercy Tech mission trip – from planning to execution to wrap-up – has its own set of challenges, but I find the final days on location to be the most complex stage of all.
It’s a bittersweet time: wishing you had more time to finish a training session or project, yet feeling the weariness of living out of a suitcase; finding it hard to say goodbye to new friends while missing your family back home; trying to confirm a flight on a sketchy internet connection while people are already asking when you’re coming back. It’s not unusual to feel like you’ve accomplished so much, and yet still be aware that there is so much more left to do. It’s at these times that I remember the wise advice of my wife Nan: “See before you the things you can do, not the things you can’t.”
One thing that makes a Mercy Tech mission trip so interesting is that you’re never quite sure what you’ll be doing once you get there. Yes, we come to teach skills so that people can be gainfully employed, but the exact form of that training will be shaped by what you find “on the ground” when you arrive.
Since our early beginnings in 2011, Mercy Tech Mission has completed 6 trips to Africa and 7 trips to the Baja. On each trip our volunteer instructors have taught the basics of employable trades, such as automotive mechanics, concrete finishing, construction and woodworking, wiring and electrical installation, and welding. Now it's May 2016, and our 14th trip begins as I and volunteer Craig Skinner (welder and millwright) leave for Swaziland in Southern Africa. We’ll spend the month of May sharing our knowledge with the local workers at the Heart for Africa mission base, and we're looking forward to it.
Very shortly our second Mercy Tech team for 2016 will be heading down to the Baja to carry on the automotive mechanics training work at the One Life One Chance mission base in San Quintin. The team leaves March 12th and will be in the Baja for one week.