Volunteer Stories

Josh – Group Leader (Santa Maria, CA)

Leading groups of students here each year has been one of the great joys and highlights of my time as a youth pastor for 11 years! The Holy Spirit has used Doxa’s ministry in Tijuana to open up more doors than we ever thought possible! Staying at partner orphanages and building houses with families has created a mutual & cross-cultural love between my group and families in Tijuana. It’s given my students a heart to not only serve in Tijuana, but to come home and continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus right here in their hometown! Some students even ask their parents to not buy them anything for Christmas so that they can use the money toward serving in Tijuana over the summer! On top of all this, getting to return to the same orphanage year over year, students have developed deep relationships with the people there. They get to see the orphanage change, grow, and improve – and they get to see their tangible impact & how it’s contributed to not only the vision of the orphanage, but more importantly to the Kingdom of Jesus! I would recommend partnering with this community through Doxa to anyone and everyone!

Emma – Student (Spokane, WA)

April of 2016 I traveled to Tijuana, Mexico with my home church from Spokane, Washington for a week to build houses with Doxa. I had been once a year prior and felt comfortable with the trip as a whole but had no idea the impact that the community would have on me this specific year. The Hernandez family was a family of seven who were in great need of a shelter to call home. At this time in 2016, the patriarch of the family, Martin, would frequently travel between the southwestern United States and Tijuana to re-sell shoes and other items he had collected and bought. He carried a large financial load for his family and without him, his wife and five kids, the youngest being around two years old, would have been at a larger deficit than they already were. In the time since I traveled and helped the Hernandez’s, laws have changed in many ways making it a lot harder for families like Martin’s to continue living on wages often solely earned on US soil. To me, knowing them and their story along with numerous other families changes my entire perspective and it breaks my heart to know that adequate support may be lost to families who so desperately need funds to get by another day. It’s incredible that groups like mine have the opportunity to come help families like the Hernandez’s.

Aaron – Group Leader (Chicago, IL)

Partnering with Doxa over the years has been such a blessing for our high school ministry. The model that Doxa has established offers the perfect balance of equipping and empowering. On the equipping side, the intentionality in the relationships that Doxa builds with partners in Mexico, the training and information offered leading up to and during the trip, and the logistic preparation of materials continually leaves us fully ready for everything we need. At the same time, Doxa empowers and develops group leaders throughout the process in a way that helps promote growth in leadership skills. Because of the Doxa model and platform, I can fully focus on shepherding my students and staff and also know that I am being truly cared for and intentionally developed in the process.

Emily – Student (Spokane, WA)

When I came back from my first Tijuana mission trip, my parents told me they noticed a direct change in me. Being fifteen years old at the time, I hadn’t really experienced the world around me and had only seen and heard about other countries through media outputs and television. That week was filled with hard work, difficulties, and surprise. However, I came back with a new outlook on life and the world I live in. The three families I have built for so far have all been unique and different in circumstance; but all matched the same in heart. These families who work so hard to put food on the table and support their lives all have an abundant amount of love for the people around them. The first father I built for, a churro cart worker named Miguel, made very little money, but went to the store and bought us Coca Cola and treats every single day. I learned that it doesn’t matter what you have, but how much you love those around you. The people of Tijuana give everything they have to each other and love in the purest way, and because of that I live my life to show kindness and care to others. These mission trips have taught me an overwhelming amount about the unseen beauty of the world and selflessness like no other.

Tarunika – Student (San Francisco, CA)

A house divided on itself cannot stand-that’s what I learned building houses in Mexico two consecutive Thanksgivings in a row. Building a house takes teamwork, strength, unity. One rusted nail or misplaced joint may bring the entire structure crumbling down. But that’s enough about construction. I didn’t go to Tijuana, Mexico to become an expert in architecture or construction; I went to Tijuana to become a better human being.

Experience builds character. Underneath that sweltering Mexican sun, amid the acrid smell of paint and the thundering bangs of several hammers, I learned to make minor sacrifices that would ultimately reap larger rewards (delay your lunch by an hour, pinch in your growling stomachs, and you could finish building one wall and painting another). I learned that quiet obedience was better heard sometimes than a raised, quarrelling voice. I learned what I was capable of and what I was not.

Four days of work like what we did in Mexico, hammering, painting, cutting, can seem miserable to an untrained individual. But the satisfaction and pride that came upon seeing the finished result was well worth it. Crooked, imperfect, and bright green, the house was where our sweat and grime (and blood, for a few individuals) had gone. It had rose from an empty eye-sore of concrete for a base to an eye-popping symbol of hope and home for the lesser fortunate. The journey was over, and, with pats on the back and a few chuckles of exhaustion, we headed home. Behind us, the house still stood, still stands now, and though our prideful emotions were temporary, they were well worth it.