Making Amigos at the Amigos en Cristo Banquet

I am currently sitting in my kitchen at home sipping some apple cider tea. And it feels so good to be home with parents. The reason I came home is because the ministry my dad started called Amigos en Cristo hosted its third annual banquet tonight. I have never been able to attend a banquet before because I always had class, but this year I decided to skip classes and come home for the event.

I am so glad I was able to attend such an incredible event and see how God is moving in the ministry. Approximately 270 people attended tonight, but we will not know the total amount raised until tomorrow. However there was an anonymous donation to match the first $31,000 raised! Praise the Lord! Last year during spring break I took a group of Hope students to Juarez, and we are planning on going again this year! I am going to talk about the mission and organization of Amigos en Cristo ministry so you can hear how God is working in the lives of people in Mexico.

The mission of
Amigos en Cristo is to join with individuals and organizations in Mexico to
encourage, serve, and equip fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:10,
Ephesians 2:10). Several pastors and community leaders told Amigos en Cristo
that the number one need in the community was to offer an after school or day
care program for children. Too many of the children stay in their homes alone
while their parents work away from home.

Amigos en Cristo started two community
center programs in the fall of 2010. They now serve over 100 children through
the school year and 80 students for the summer camp. The program allows for
students to engage in a Bible lesson, eat a meal, participate in games, and use
the playground equipment and computers. The community centers also host other
events such as GED education during the day time, Bible studies, training for
youth and pastors, parenting and life skill training classes (wood work,
sewing, hair, cooking). The Amigos en Cristo ministry also hosts short-term
mission trips for groups in the United States to visit the organization and
serve alongside the people in Mexico.

Amigos en Cristo
focuses its mission on long-term development. They nurture this type of
development by equipping and training the people in Mexico. All of the programs
through Amigos en Cristo are based on Christian principles. They host staff
training every week where a devotional is shared and teachers and volunteers
are challenged with their faith. The organization also believes in investing
into the younger generation. Every Friday, a youth group occurs at the
community center lead by the youth. Once a month the youth meet for training
and mission work for five hours, and they also participate in conferences and
mission trips around Mexico.

Along with investing in the youth, Amigos en
Cristo desires to build up and develop responsible parents. They fulfill their
desire by offering parenting classes for the parents of the children who attend
the after school program. The parenting classes are scripture based, and the
field director teaches the classes along with his wife. A unique component
about Amigos en Cristo is that a local person fulfills the role of a field
director and runs the day-to-day operations; it’s not a person from the United
States trying to convince them to do it our way. To have long lasting positive
change in the existing infrastructure, Amigos en Cristo believes it must come
from within.

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Along with
encouraging development, Amigos en Cristo helps individuals recognize that God
blesses them with gifts and resources regardless of their poverty stricken
status. They help empower people to utilize their own resources. A staff member
teaches a life skill class on gardening. He grows the plants from seeds and
then shows the people how to plant, so they can learn how to grow their own
gardens and food. The two community centers have two large gardens that provide
vegetables for the students who attend the after school program, and the left
over food is distributed to members in the community. They also teach how to
make purses, belts, and jewelry, from chip bags, candy wrappers, and pull tabs
from soda cans. The people are very creative and even create furniture items
from plastic two liter pop bottles and duct tape. Amigos en Cristo offers a
wood working class on how to build wooden chairs and tables from scrap wooden
pallets. Nothing is considered waste to them but rather valuable material.

Published by Colleen Quick

My name is Colleen and I'm from Springfield, IL and am a Senior this year! I am studying International Business and Spanish. I have been involved with a variety of groups and activities on campus such as: Business Club, Student Alumni Leadership Council, Volunteer Services Committee, Student Congress, Mortar Board, Intramurals, HEI, Dance Marathon, and other activities. I love Hope College and the people here! So blessed to be living in Holland and attending Hope :]