As a freshman in high school from Pasadena, California, Tommy Nixon came on his first Amor mission trip to Mexico in 1994. “It was different and adventurous, and it felt like it was significant, like I was doing something, you know?” Tommy confessed that he did not come initially for any deep spiritual reasons. He was a typical 15-year-old and wanted to hang out with his friends and hit some stuff with a hammer.
After the construction had begun on the house, a small yearning started in Tommy’s heart. He knew something bigger was happening through this experience; he just didn’t know what.
“It was my trips with Amor, and you know, doing missions work, that started to stoke this heart for justice for those in poverty. My language back then was ‘I wanted to be hardcore for Christ’.
“Amor provided the framework and context to process, even in a younger mind, that when you go down to Mexico, you’re like, ‘Dude there’s a problem here. Kids shouldn’t be living like this, people shouldn’t be scavenging through the dump, there’s something wrong here’. Amor gave this real practical answer of, ‘Well, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to be the hands and feet of Jesus?' Amor then gave us a way to actually do something about it.”
Tommy came back to build homes in Mexico on six more trips, and those trips became a catalyst for how he wanted to change the world.
He attended Hope International University where he met a group of like-minded people that formed a Bible study around the premise of what it would look like to live out the teachings of Jesus. Tommy went on a mission trip to China, and when he got back, he felt called to start a ministry.
After a short time of preparation and figuring out what exactly God wanted from him, Tommy was called to a small, Spanish-speaking neighborhood in Fullerton, California where he started Solidarity. Because of his trips to and love for Mexico, he felt right at home. He looked back to two themes he experienced from his Amor trips that helped form how he would do ministry. Those two themes were empowerment and dignity.
Both of those things came in the form of building and working alongside the families in Mexico. “What I saw Amor do - what I got to be a part of - is the impact of empowering a family to get out of poverty. They now had a home, and a community and the local pastors helping them. I remember the local Mexican church was there and they engaged them.”
The impact of dignity came when handing a family member a hammer and having them build their house alongside the Amor team. “I remember a time when the dad was helping. And that was important because it felt right to have us helping him instead of him helping us. There is dignity there for the family, which is cool.”
Solidarity has now been serving communities for 13 years. They started a social enterprise called Solid T to help fund their community programs as well as create jobs and better opportunities for young adults. Solid T has been printing all of Amor’s custom apparel for the last four years. Every time you purchase a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, or a hat from the Amor Store, you are not only impacting communities in Mexico with empowerment and dignity, but also communities in the U.S.