Mexico Travel Note
México Safety Note:
We are very aware of the recent heightened media attention on Baja México and the border region. The International Ministries office at PLNU is committed to staying as informed as possible about these locations, reasons for increased violence, and where we should or should not be. Our office staff involved in México Programming events and projects is bilingual and has considerable experience in and knowledge of the border/northwest-Baja cities.
In making the decision to continue offering trips to the Baja area, we consider the following:
- Relationship with Mexican Nazarene Church Leaders & Nonprofit Partners: Our office has partnered heavily with Nazarene and other community leaders for seven years now. These leaders and their families live and work in the very areas that we spend our time and they know far better than we do the context and realities of their communities. The México Programming staff and these leaders meet frequently to discuss all aspects of our trips and projects. We are consistently impressed with their level of communication, coordination, and savvy. Over the years, our work together has resulted in strong friendships of trust on both sides. We rely on their insights to determine where we will serve and stay for each trip. Their wisdom gives us confidence and we follow their guidance.
- Reports of Violence & Our Discernment Process: While we certainly don't want to diminish the severity of the drug gang war raging in Northern Mexico, we do want to ease any fears about attending or sending a loved one on a México trip with us. We make it our job to stay aware and current with the real situation at the border. The violence being reported is targeted specifically at members of warring gangs and wealthy/politically-influential residents, not at tourists.
Emergency Precautions & Health Care Plan:
We and our partners work out ahead of time where convenient, quality healthcare facilities are located for every experience we offer across the border. For any trip longer than one day, we open a full travel health care policy for each participant, which covers any costs incurred related to the injury and includes life-flight service back to the U.S. if the situation is grave. Our dedication to safety includes wisely ending the trip or changing the plan if circumstances require a more drastic response.
For Ministry with México trips (Saturday volunteer experiences in Tijuana or Tecate), the student leadership team is equipped with an international phone and protocol for how to contact the México Programming staff if necessary. One of the student leaders is always fully bilingual and a PLNU faculty/staff/alumni sponsor will always accompany every Ministry with México trip.
For other México Programming events, an office staff member supervises the experience. This bilingual staff member carries a cell phone with an international dialing plan. All parents/legal guardians will receive information from the International Ministries Office prior to the trip with emergency contact protocol for how to reach us while on the trip.
Please know that we understand it is a big decision to entrust yourself/a loved one to our supervision, care, and protection. If you would like to speak to us directly about any concerns or the information listed here, please don't hesitate to contact our coordinator of México Programming, Melissa Tucker (Associate Director of International Ministries) at: 619-849-2542.