Over 40 years ago in Tijuana Mexico, Sergio Gomez’s heart was heavy with concern for the street children of the city – the sons and daughters of drug addicts, prostitutes and those too poor to provide for their own. Gomez began asking the parents of these children for permission to care for their children when they were unable to. Within a short time he founded the City of Refuge Children’s Home, in 1965. This was the beginning of a lifetime of service to the poor of Tijuana and surrounding areas.
Since that time, Sergio has handed the management of that particular organization over to others, and founded Baja Vision Ministries, which, over the years has aided orphans, street kids, battered women, homeless families, mentally disabled persons, and the terminally ill – all those who have been forgotten or abandoned in an uncaring inner-city environment.
Gomez and his work were initially introduced to the people of Lopez Island through Jeff Smith, Pastor of Lopez Island Community Church (LICC). Smith became acquainted with Gomez about 13 years ago during a series of house-building trips in the Tijuana area. “There was an immediate connection,” says Jeff. “Right away I could see that this was a man with undaunted faith, and there was no doubt that he had been living this faith out against incredible odds. He is full of energy, humor and passion. Sergio is a great friend – and one of my heroes.”
One of the most recent efforts of Baja Vision Ministries has been to begin a new children’s home called City of Angels. City of Angels was established eight years ago, and provides care for around 50 children, ranging from infants to 18-year-olds. For the last two years Lopez Island Community Church has sent a team of people to deliver new clothes to each child in the City of Angels, as well as to build a house each year for a family in the Tijuana area. Over time a relationship has developed between the people of LICC and the children of City of Angles. Pastor Smith says, “It’s great to be involved in such a practical short-term mission that has the potential to develop into a long-term relationship. Our hope is that involvement will expand to the greater Lopez community.” Dan Kovac, one of this year’s participants said, “This trip was a real eye-opener for me and was definitely worthwhile.”
On Monday, July 14 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Lopez Island Community Church is sponsoring a dessert gathering with Gomez who will speak of the work of Baja Vision Ministries with the people of Lopez Island. The evening will include a short slide show, and Rev. Gomez will share his story and answer questions. Information will be shared about the next trip, which is scheduled for February 2009. This event will be held at the Community Center, is open to the public, and is free of charge.