This was a trip that began with an idea, "Let's throw it out there and see what happens." Beginning with a conversation with WCSDO leaders Jim Mustoe and Ron Dymek about how we could put together a trip that would bring west coast divers together, and merging with a conversation with BAS pastor Greg Weismen about how we could excite a few Bayside SCUBA divers, this trip developed in a few short months. So let's take a look at what happened:
Seven Bayside members joined ten members of Worldwide Christian Scuba Divers for a great time of diving, friendship and mission. Bluewater missions is about bringing people together. This was a major step in launching the Bayside Adventure Sports SCUBA division and the Nor Cal chapter of WCSDO, bringing divers together in community and service. It was also an answer to prayer to unite Nor Cal and So Cal WCSDO chapters together.
We certified four brand new divers and refreshed several other beginning divers. Bluewater Missions is about inspiring people to experience the underwater world. One of my great joys is seeing new divers realize their abilities, discover the underwater world and experience the joys of the buddy system. It is better when we are diving together!
We connected with three churches and established connections for long-term ministry in La Paz. Bluewater Missions is about long-term action and impact. This is a long-standing dream of mine to get back to the place, people and waters that I love to serve the community here. It was also an opportunity to introduce many of those traveling to new culture and new perspectives on missions.
We served the neighborhood of Colonia Marquez de Leon, a community with much need. Bluewater Missions is about seeing the needs of the people that live onshore. We went to one of the driest neighborhoods in La Paz, a stretch of desert land with no access to running water. Water is trucked in monthly by the government. I was asked, "Why would people live in such a place?" Well, its all these families can manage. They are an impoverished community with humble (pallets, tarps, wood scraps) homes. Many of the men in these families travel far to find any work and are gone from their families for extended periods. We ran into many other difficult circumstances including blindness, chronic illness, abandonment, and abuse. So this ministry was really about meeting families, sharing with them, handing out groceries as well as Bibles, praying with them and connecting them to the local church ministry. We were launching a brand new ministry for this church to continue, and they will begin a bus service to Sunday church in August.
Through the "Glasses Ministry" of WCSDO, nearly two hundred men, women and children received reading glasses and/or sunglasses. The church staff did a marvelous job of getting people to the church that day and they also went out into the town to bring more people in throughout the day. We then donated all the glasses we brought with us and taught the staff how to do the vision ministry themselves and they will be holding future glasses/vision ministry events!
Some of the group helped with some light construction at the new Calvary Chapel facility new the university. The church is moving facilities in order to be closer and more accessible to university students.
We hosted a family movie night showing the Jesus Film. Before the movie began we hosted a children’s trivia time to help fund raise monies for their future new church. At the end of the movie, we provided DVD’s and thumb drives of the film for them to take home.
Three members of our group spent Friday evening at a Calvary Chapel “Bridges” event where university students come to have conversation and practice their English. This is an outreach of the church designed to build relationships with non-believers. As a marine biologist, I chose a topic very important to the people of La Paz: ocean conservation. We had some vibrant discussion about the importance of caring for their beaches, ocean and sea life, and while they got to practice their English we were also able to work in the Christian perspectives of why we care about Creation.
So for a last-minute trip, quite a lot happened! Thank you so much for your support of this bluewater mission. Lives are changed because of it!