NorthPark missions teams serve children in 3 countries this summer

Feeding the hungry meets the most basic of human needs. Feeding the hungry in a garbage dump opens one’s eyes to other needs not so easily met.

Ministering to people at the dump was just one outreach undertaken in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, by a team of students and adults from NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville, in Birmingham Baptist Association, this summer. But it was important, said Jared Wilks, a student videographer and missions team member.

“The people live there and collect trash all day to build stuff to live in and try to find stuff to sell,” Wilks said. “The people have nothing but they are so grateful.”

Ciudad Victoria is located about 200 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The population of 300,000 or so residents is primarily Catholic, with an estimated 5 percent who consider themselves Protestant.

The major focus of the May missions trip was building a church building for a pastor who needed a place to teach, Wilks said. The building project, coordinated by Mega Missions, an Oneonta-based missions organization, had a goal to build the church in two days. The team met the goal and spent additional time reaching out to locals, like those at the dump, to provide food and shoes and to share the gospel.

Wilks said the trip was a great experience for the small team of students, who grew closer to each other while serving in Mexico and were reminded of Jesus’ command to “go.”

Other teams from NorthPark went as well. In late June a team spent a week in Italy with NorthPark missionaries Robert and Lara Vitter. Team members ran a sports camp and shared the gospel with local children. Another team served in an orphanage in Ecuador and gave children there 174 pairs of new shoes purchased with offerings given by children attending the church’s Vacation Bible School.