• John Richert

Back to Baja!


It was nearly two years ago when I felt God leading me to step out of pastoral ministry in the local church and pursue a new calling in my life. I was not exactly sure what it would look like, but my next steps led me to a full-time teaching position at William Jessup University. As a Christ-centered university, Jessup has allowed me to educate and pastor the next generation of students and leaders, while also providing an ideal environment for me to exercise my own unique blend of passions and gifts in marine biology and ministry.


Over the years, marine biology has given me the opportunity to visit some incredible locations around the world, including the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Mexico. Unlike a vacation to a tropical resort, my studies and work have led me to interact deeply with local people, see their needs, and be burdened to care for them. It is out of this burden that I’ve launched a new missions initiative called Bluewater Missions. Our mission is to transform lives and communities through marine science, education and action. It is a Gospel-centered movement that motivates and mobilizes people to travel to “bluewater” locations to engage with God and people while we enjoy Creation.


An incredible bluewater day with a 7th grade class in Labadee, Haiti

This past May I led a team of Jessup students, staff and faculty on a bluewater mission to Haiti. During a three week trip, participants traveled the developing nation, observed extreme poverty and served victims of malnutrition. They also joined in environmental research and coral reef restoration, learning how science and education provides an open door to the Gospel. Pre-med students brought help and healing while serving in multiple medical clinics. Along the way we interacted with people and shared Christ. You can read more about this transformational trip on our blog at www.bluewatermissions.org/blog.


Now, I am taking another step forward in Bluewater Missions as I return to a place near and dear to my heart on the southern Baja peninsula. I’m returning to La Paz, Mexico! During my Ph.D. research I spent seven years in La Paz, and while my focus at that time was purely on marine biology, the notion of one day returning to do missions work here was somewhere in the back of my mind. This summer, that God-planted dream is becoming a reality!



I am partnering with Bayside Adventure Sports (a ministry of my church), Worldwide Christian Scuba Divers (an organization that turns dive trips into missions trips), and local churches in La Paz to lead a team of fifteen people on a trip that will lead SCUBA divers to serve the people of La Paz. We will spend four days diving the amazing Sea of Cortez, but we will spend our evenings and two full days in missions work. What exactly will we be doing?


  • New Church Facility Renovation. Calvary Chapel of La Paz is moving closer to the local university where they will increase their outreach to students. We’ll help get the building ready.

  • University Student Outreach. I will be giving a talk on ocean conservation from a Christian perspective at an English-conversation forum with the intent of spurring on gospel conversations.

  • “Opening Eyes” Vision Ministry. We will be distributing reading glasses and sunglasses to people in La Paz who cannot afford them.

  • Jesus Film Movie Night. We’re hosting a movie night that will invite hundreds of families to come together for candy, popcorn and an introduction to Jesus.

  • Helping Divers with Disabilities. One of the local churches partners with a group that helps those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities learn to dive. This will be a great opportunity to use our passions and abilities in diving to make a difference in the lives of others.

  • Serving a needy community outside our hotel. We are not going to sit back and enjoy La Paz… we are going to serve La Paz, and we will be heading outside our comfortable walls and into one of the poorest communities in La Paz to visit people, pray for them and hand out groceries and Bibles (en español) .

I know you are all busy and likely inundated with support requests, but because you have been a significant part of my life and my ministry, I want to invite you to be a part of this adventure. Here’s how you can join me:

  1. Prayer. While this is an exciting trip for me, I am fully reminded that making any spiritual difference - in the team I lead and the people we serve - requires full reliance on the Spirit. Please pray for an ability to engage people with the Gospel and the transformation of lives.

  2. Make a small financial contribution of $25. While team members pay personally for all diving, lodging and travel expenses, we hope to fund ministry through the support of family and friends. 100% of this contribution goes directly to the missions work listed above. I am praying for ten partners who will give $25 each so I can contribute $250 to this work.

If you desire to partner financially, please make checks payable to WCSDO and mail them to me (1024 Fredericks St., Woodland CA 95776). You can also give online at http://wcsdo.org/donation.html, but if you do, please send me a quick note so I can make sure the gift registers to this trip.


Thank you for allowing me to share this new work. I never could have imagined the path that God has led me on, but I hope to serve Him faithfully with the gifts He has given me. You have been a great encouragement to me throughout this journey, and I look forward to sharing with you more personally in the near future.


In Him and for Him,

John


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