Girl changes people’s lives with Mexican Caravan Ministries

Mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico

Like most people, MollyJo McCormick didn’t think she had a story to tell. In her 19 years of life she hadn’t scaled Mount Everest or saved a baby from a burning building. But McCormick slowly came to realize she has made a big difference in many lives.

McCormick, who grew up in Ham Lake, Minn., has spent the last five years of her life participating in mission trips through Mexico Caravan Ministries and will be going again this summer.

“I felt drawn to the people, the mission, the call, and returned the next year,” McCormick said during a phone interview.

According to its website, Mexico Caravan Ministries “comes to meet the needs of the poor, to contribute to on-going ministry in Tijuana, and to be made into disciples and world Christians.”

The mission trips were started in Tijuana in 1984 by David Burdette, and anyone can join to help the cause. Their main objective is to build homes for families in need.

McCormick took her first mission trip with the Mexico Caravan Ministries in eighth grade.

“I was hooked,” said McCormick. “I just wanted to keep going.”

After serving several years with the ministry, McCormick applied to be part of the staff.

“Who can say they just got up and moved to Mexico when they turned 18?” said McCormick.

While her mother didn’t want her to go, McCormick was reassured by the fact that her dad leads the trips for her church.

“My commitment when I first arrived was three months: June, July, and August,” said McCormick. “As I neared the end of my time I could see God wasn't finished with me, and I discussed extending.”

The opportunity presented itself. McCormick took it and stayed with the company from May until December of 2010.

“It's great to help people, but I also think it's very important for young people to learn about missions, and that's what we're all about at Caravan.”

You can see the passion when McCormick speaks about the 12-by-12-foot or 12-by-16-foot plywood houses they build. The group also did cement work and painting.

“It was awesome to see first hand how the people of Tijuana live,” McCormick said.

McCormick met many great people on all of her trips.

“I love my Mexican family,” said McCormick. “I've even written my mamacita letters since I've been home.”

McCormick was also impacted by others attending the trip.

Gabby Carvalho, another mission trip participant, and McCormick had an instant connection. Carvalho was going through a difficult time and McCormick helped her through.

McCormick and Carvalho still write back and forth and stay in close contact. Along with Carvalho, McCormick mentions other people she has met through the trips that have given her inspiration and made a difference in her life. Kendra Denyes was one of them.

“Kendra was a staff member and after hearing her testimony I cried,” said McCormick. “I’m rock solid, I never cry.”

Denyes made McCormick realize all the things she would have to give up to serve God. She would have to give up friend’s graduation parties, family traditions, and her family but she was willing to do all that to help a greater cause.

“I missed my family,” said McCormick. “I missed our traditions even though there was nothing special. I even missed just fighting with my siblings.”

Though McCormick has missed out on some experiences she has gained other, maybe better ones. McCormick has dedicated her life to these trips.

“My dad said he’s getting too old for these trips,” said McCormick. “In a few years he’s going to hand the trip over to me.”

Now McCormick is focusing on her education at Anoka Ramsey Community College and deciding what she wants to do next. She is looking forward to June when her church takes their yearly mission trip to Mexico. McCormick will once again lead the trip alongside her dad, just waiting for her turn to take the lead.

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