2013 Africa 1200

Changing Lives, One Skill At A Time

There's Always A First Time

There's Always A First Time

Memorable firsts – there’s always a first time for everything.

Some of those “firsts” we recall vividly and some we don’t remember at all. Maybe we were too young or maybe we were just distracted by something else. But those first time exposures can impact us for a lifetime.

For example, I don’t remember my first ice cream cone, but I do know that my current favorite combo is Moose Tracks and Rocky Mountain Raspberry. Conversely, I can totally picture the moment I sampled my first pulled pork taco in the Baja. It probably helps that I took video of the event.


Those of us in the trades may not remember the first time we picked up a socket or swung a hammer, possibly because it was something our fathers did. We were exposed to it from the ground up, so it was just “normal.” But that isn’t normal for the students of Mercy Tech Mission. Extreme poverty and day-by-day survival is the true normal. In most cases, a chance exposure to something that might lead to a different future comes later in life, and they literally are life-changing moments.


We just wrapped up another week of mechanics training at the One Life One Chance mission base in San Quintin, Baja. A lot of sick vehicles went through our “triage” centre and a number of mechanical issues were dealt with. But for volunteer instructor Todd Green and myself, it wasn’t the vehicles that mattered as much as those who worked on them. Here are some of the things our students experienced for the first time.


Poli had heard us teach about internal combustion engines and the importance of good compression in the cylinders, but it was when he did his first-ever compression test that he really got excited. He didn’t know such a test was even possible.

Ivan discovered that time passes quickly when he’s deeply engrossed in a vehicle repair. It was all we could do to drag him off his water pump job at coffee time.

When we taught our translator Maria how to measure and adjust tire pressures, she was thrilled. “I actually know more about cars now than my husband does!”

For Isaias, seeing how a scan tool can read real-time vehicle data was fascinating. Already he is using the laptop computer we left on site to access the internet to learn more about mechanics on his own.

In the book of Proverbs it says that knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. And wisdom comes full-circle when we learn how to share our knowledge in a way that is accepted and appreciated by those we teach.

Every training session we hold reinforces the fact that learning a simple skill can change a life forever. And for MTM volunteer instructors, sharing their knowledge for the first time with someone in need becomes life-changing for them as well.

The trade we were taught in our younger days not just something we earn a living with; it’s bigger than that. It’s a privilege we’ve been given that must be shared with others. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity to create memorable firsts in somebody else’s life.


Thanks again for your support of Mercy Tech Mission; together we are changing lives, one skill at a time.

What’s up next?

Rick will be leaving for Mozambique and Swaziland on July 31st, returning to Canada at the end of September. We are also thrilled to announce that our fundraising goal of $6000 for the Mozambique Maintenance Shop project has now been met! The finishing touches on the shop are now being completed by local workers in Mozambique and should be finished in time for our building dedication and celebration time in August.

Please note that any funds that continue to come in will be used entirely for the ongoing work and future projects of Mercy Tech Mission. Please visit our donations page and follow the links. We appreciate your support!

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