Anna Askew and Joshua Daniel Carr were the 2015 mission trip leaders with Laurelglen Bible Church in Bakersfield. They run the leadership team within their student organization: Philoxenia.
Philoxenia: Lover of Strangers
What is unique about them is that Anna and Daniel are only 18 years old. They led the organization, logistics, promotion, and fundraising for the youth mission trip to Mexico with Amor Ministries.
“We have a core team of student leaders that are in charge of each of the areas of the trip: Encouragement team, devotional, discipleship, construction, VBS, and paperlord,” Anna said.
Laurelglen Bible Church has been coming with Amor since 1996 and almost from the beginning the church determined that the trip would be a great opportunity for young people to grow their leadership skills.
“This is my fourth time coming on a mission trip to Tecate with Amor Ministries. I’m not very good in construction, but we organize the trip in such a way that everyone has a designated job. I used to come as the designated disciple. As a disciple, your job is to serve the family, build a relationship with the family, train and share the gospel.”
The Making of a Leader
Experiencing the Amor trip from a leadership perspective has broadened their understanding of their mission in Mexico.
Joshua said about his involvement: “Leading this trip has caused me to become more trusting. I now have more insight into the whole process. Before I never had to worry about seeing the whole picture. I only came and did what I was told.”
This year, their trip also had an added element as Steve Horrex invited them to build one of three new Amor house prototypes. The group had a lot of combined construction experience and their relationship over several years made them good candidates for building the new house model designed in conjunction with engineering students from USD.
“The new house model is a bit more antagonizing. I’d much rather hit a hammer than twist wire. But building this house is a good illustration of faith. The first day we were wondering, “Will it stand up?” and now we can see how sound it is. It’s a much better house for the families, and ultimately that’s why we are here.” Joshua said.
To fundraise for the yearly trip to Mexico, every person signing up has to fill out and send 30 mandatory support letters and have designated praying groups with hourly assignments. They are very successful at raising support because many of the families have been on this trip themselves and have already experienced the transformation.
“The students get to see how others live. We are not really that far from [Mexico]. We quickly realize that making a difference can be as simple as building a house for a family. It’s empowering.” Joshua said.
According to Anna, others from the church who don’t come to Mexico play a key role in the success of their mission trip through prayer, encouragement, mentoring, support raising, and by sewing blankets that will be given out during their week-long VBS.
“The people who pray for us and encourage us become encouraged in their faith when they learn that their prayers had been answered. It’s not us being with God for a week and then go back; it’s a way of life, and we all understand that.” Anna said.
Joshua is graduating from High School. He plans to go to California State University, Fullerton for engineering and then join the Airforce for combat rescue.
Anna will be attending a community college this fall and hopes to transfer to nursing school.
Every group, every person and every trip with Amor is different. Come and find out for yourself how the Amor experience can transform you and your community as we seek to emulate the justice, kindness and humility of Jesus Christ.