Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Puerto Penasco: A Faith Venture Future?

I am just back from a vacation with my family to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. I grew up in Arizona and some of my fondest memories are camping with other members of our church in small family-oriented beach towns like Bahia Kino or Puerto Penasco. Today, those sleepy towns are starting to grow up and attract larger American vacation crowds from the Phoenix or Tucson areas. Like many other Mexican resort cities, Puerto Penasco is a city of big contradictions. Though there are signs of a growing middle class today, Mexico seems to be made up of the very rich and the very poor. This contrast is even more glaring in towns like Puerto Penasco with the presence of vacationing Americans buying luxurious beachfront properties.

One of my big desires for a future trip is to visit some of the local ministries serving the poor in Puerto Penasco like Amor Ministries, Manos de Dios, Mission Heart Beat, and Association for International Ministries. Three of these groups are primarily focused on building housing to meet the needs of the poor in the community. They all seem to share a desire to work towards meeting economic development needs but at this point such activity seems limited.

A few years ago, Bud’s Warehouse was in conversations with a ministry group in Juarez, Mexico (Amigos Ministries), interested in opening a Bud’s Warehouse type home improvement thrift store. After my time exploring the non-tourist parts of Puerto Penasco. I’m convinced that a Bud’s Warehouse would be extremely successful in that community and others throughout Mexico. It could be a tremendous way to employ individuals rebuilding lives while creating resources for future economic development opportunities. It’s a perfect opportunity for a dynamic faith venture. Of course, there’s the whole challenge of learning how to work within the Mexican business rules. But I think it is something worth praying about and exploring with other local ministries already in the community. It would be tremendous if we could partner with or give away our model to an organization in Mexico.

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