Mexico Safety Testimonies

The California BorderThe California BorderThe big question in everyone’s mind these days (when they are considering their annual mission trip to Mexico) is "How safe is it?"

So what are folks saying who have come in March 2009?

Dan Dyk, group leader from Orange, CA:

"We traveled only in daylight hours. Friday morning we crossed at Tijuana, the only difference I noticed was there was one military person per entry gate at the Tijuana border. The entry was fast and clean…

We proceeded to the toll road, which skirts the west side of Tijuana… there was nothing we could notice that was different. All three toll booths had soldiers, the last near Ensenada being the most secure. We proceeded without incident and arrived at Agua Viva at 12 noon.

When I left on Saturday, 3 pm, we traveled to the Tecate border crossing, Highway 3. This route bypasses Tijuana by 50 miles to the east. It is a beautiful drive thru the wine country and appears more like "old Mexico." Halfway up to Tecate (about an hour) there is one checkpoint with soldiers…this was passed without incident, and added about 10 minutes to the trip.

The Tecate border crossing took 15 minutes (normally only 5 minutes, so it was a little unusual…but really compared to the normal 1 ½ hours at Tijuana, it is a much more pleasant experience.) Again no incidents, nothing unusual.

We felt safe, much like any trip in the last 20 years."

Greg Latimer, team leader from Reno, NV: 

"On my recent trip to Agua Viva, I had my eyes open to see if I could detect any signs of insecurity or danger, as we are bringing a group of students into Mexico very soon, and parents are concerned for their teenager’s welfare. Greg Latimer, one in the middleGreg Latimer, one in the middleI am happy to report that I felt more secure than ever. The only difference I saw was a guard stationed at the border as we entered, and a checkpoint as we were on our way back to the U.S. The guards at both stops were very courteous, quickly asked us where we were from and where we were going, and waved us through. It made me feel more secure that they are watching for the bad guys!

I realize we all need to take precautions in whatever we are involved in, but I also realize that anytime we step out in faith, whether that be in Mexico or my own city, there are risks involved. It is our enemy’s plan to have us live in fear, rather than boldness. For me and my house, we choose the latter!"

Troy Harris, Director of Risk Management, Westmont College:

"We had a great trip and were entirely safe with respect to the concerns for violence in the border cities as portrayed by the media. We neither experienced nor even observed anything alarming in this regard."

A US professional, on returning from his trip to Ensenada: Two routes home... Tijuana, and also TecateTwo routes home… Tijuana, and also Tecate

"My overwhelming impression, which has me still shaking my head in dismay, is that the enemy of our souls has done a very effective job of interfering with the work of Christ in Mexico. I don’t deny there’s a very real problem with heightened gruesome violence in the border towns. I do deny that Mexico as a whole deserves to be painted with that broad brush.

The consequences of what I consider to be media distortions are tragic in terms of both harm to the Mexican economy (on the macro level) and the absence of services to people in need (on the personal level). Teeth are not getting pulled, people are living another year in tin shacks, street vendors are unable to sustain themselves. The people of Mexico need the love of Christ as much as, or more than, ever—and we who are so greatly blessed with material goods and comfort are no less called to offer these things in His name, even if that means some sacrifice—or even some risk.

If US citizens, or missions works in particular, were to become targets of that violence, then the equation would change. But in the meantime, I don’t believe we should be dissuaded by the blanket characterization of Mexico as a dangerous place."

An article published in the Christian Examiner give additional insights into the topic of missions trips to Mexico in light of the recent press reports.