Every year we take our high school teens to Nogales, Mexico to serve alongside the Cuirim House. We serve the people of the community in many different ways. We paint homes, build retaining walls, play with the neighborhood kids, mix a lot of cement, play soccer with the kids, build community with the residents and we love them, like Jesus loves them.
Nogales, Mexico is located along the Arizona border, about one hour south of Tucson. It used to be a sleepy, little, border town until the US and European companies established factories to take advantage of the cheap labor. People don’t plan on living in Nogales. They just end up there. People come to Nogales from further south with hopes of crossing into the US, but their hopes are seldom realized. One day they wake up and find themselves working in a factory for $1/hr, raising their family in a squatter’s village, and living in a house made of pallets and a dirt floor, without basic utilities like water or electric.
Since people never plan on staying, Nogales has a transient feel to it, which may seem like a difficult factor to overcome in ministry. Instead, it’s proved useful. This transitory chapter in people’s lives helps them consider new ways of thinking, so in this way, Nogales is the perfect place to introduce people to the Kingdom of God. They may only stay with us for a few months or a few years, but when they move on, they’ll take everything they’ve learned about Jesus with them.