Mexico isn’t Scary

Not-so-scary street tacos and real Coke

I spent yesterday with some folks from Amor Ministries in Tijuana.

The point of our trip was to visit some recent Amor houses built in a colonia to create a video inviting NYWC participants to spend a day of convention there building a house. The houses we saw were anywhere from 3 days old to 10 months old. If you aren’t familiar with how it works, essentially Amor acts as an agent of blessing for a local group of pastors. Individuals from the community request help from their local church, and the pastor asks Amor to build a starter-house for a family. They intentionally don’t do everything because they want the family to come in and make it their own.

You aren't afraid of a place where children buy neon colored baby chicks, are you?

Here’s the reality for Amor (and YWAM, whom I visited last year): Fear of gang violence has lead to tons of people from the States stopping their annual trips down. Conversely, the downward dip in the economy has meant people already poor in TJ are now much poorer.

All Amor is trying to do is help the local pastor answer the question, “How can the church be Good News so that the community will hear and receive Good News?

Let me just say this: Forget what you’ve heard on the news. Yes, there are problems. Yes, drug cartel violence is horrible and deadly. But is Jesus always asking you to do the safest thing? 

But TJ is still TJ. It’s a border town. And a border town is a border town. (No one ever claimed that Sarnia or Windsor Ontario were the hallmarks of Canada, did they?) If anything it’s much more developed than it was when I first went there 10 years ago. And I don’t think there is anything there to be afraid of for you or I.

Now, if you’re buying or selling drugs. Or at a club until 2 AM. TJ might be dangerous for you. But so is Carlsbad.






5 responses to “Mexico isn’t Scary”

  1. Dennis Avatar

    Thank you! I’ve been trying to convince people (and my parents/in-laws/family members) of this for a while now. Be cautious, but not fearful.

  2. Brad Griffin Avatar

    Adam, thanks for this word. Our family still treks w/a few other folks to Ensenada (through TJ) to visit our partner church in a barrio outside the city, and every time people freak out about going. let alone taking kids. But it’s a measured risk, like everything else, and it’s been incredibly powerful to see how God is at work there (despite the by-and-large abandonment by American church resources over the last few years) and continue to partner in ministry with the local pastor husband/wife team. Wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. Thanks for encouraging folks not to abandon Mexico.

  3. Jon Huckins Avatar

    Amen. Funny how un-scary places are when we turn off the fear-creating-media and actually go there. Walk the streets, meet the people and eat a taco. Fear gone.

  4. Kevin Avatar


    My wife and I just spent a week in Mexico. We met with 2 Pastors (one in TJ and the other in Ensenada) we partner with in ministry – and had similar feelings. We have been to Nairobi and Newark (can be very dangerous places) and will soon be in the slums of Guatemala City. Our love for Christ causes us to go where he calls – and we know to be cautious and not fearful (thanks for that phrase Dennis) of what influence we are to have in the world!

  5. Daryl A Avatar

    As someone who has been to Tijuana twice, and drives thru Sarnia & Windsor Ontario atleast a dozen times a year, I got to say – thats a really bad example. I appreciate what your saying, but have you seen ‘Bowling for Columbine?!” Sarnia & Windsor are places where people leave their doors unlocked because its THAT peaceful on THIS side of the border 😉

    With all that said, I hope us, the church, start following Jesus into dangerous places and spaces. He wants us to be peace.

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