naco_02Grace Ministries USA sent nine missionaries on a week-long mission trip to Naco, Sonora, Mexico from July 28 to August 4, 2018. The purpose of the trip was to care for the children of Casa Hogar Emmanuel Orphanage and the people in the community of Naco. Our team was led by Bert Woodburn and Bob Gallagher of Grace Ministries. Members of the team includ-ed Leon Harris, John Jones and Deborah Ellison of Friendship Baptist Church; Mike Matthews of Pilot Baptist Church; Marty Simpkins of the Bridge Church; and Cindy Woodburn and Jacob Woodburn of Grace Ministries USA.

This year, we brought the children soccer uniforms donated by Frank-linton High School. Each child received a jersey and shorts sporting the Red Ram’s colors. Jeremy Crawford of Franklinton High School partnered with Bert Wood-burn to make the uniforms available. The children also received clothes, coloring books, hats, various toys and soccer equipment that were donated by friends and families of the missionaries.

The mission team was busy with various duties but our main priority was to love and care for the children. The first thing we did when we arrived was to treat all the children for head lice, which had plagued the orphanage throughout the summer. We held a week-long vacation Bible school for the children, during which we taught them Bible stories and shared the Gospel, while also intertwining games and engaging them in arts and crafts. “The most touching moment for me was when Pastor Harris shared the Gospel with the children. Not only did we have a number of children accept the Lord but we had three that want to be baptized,” remarked Cindy Woodburn.

One evening we took the children to the neighboring town of Agua Preita to see the movie “Incredibles 2”, went to dinner, and to a carnival were all got ice cream. On our last night we held a party for the children and had a piñata full of candy. The most heartfelt moments for me were the evenings we spent time with the children dancing, singing and playing games.

There was work to be done as well. We painted the orphanage’s basketball court using the colors red, white and green to resemble the Mexican flag. Repairs were made to leaky pipes in the kitchen and tires border-ing the playground were painted.

naco_01An important part of our trip is to care for the families living in the town of Naco. The mission team purchased and distributed over 100 food bags throughout the town. The food bags contained rice, beans, flour, canned tomatoes, candy and Bible tracks in Spanish.

Most of the families living in Naco live in one-room shacks, where it is not uncommon for a family of five or more to share, that small space. “It was a blessing to serve the people of Naco and it was amazing how some families turned down the food so it could be given to others that had less than them,” stated John Jones.

It was a week full of fun, fellowship, work and spiritual enlightenment. “I loved our week in Naco,” commented Bob Gallagher. “The relationships we made are precious. More than anything, the team was amazing, and the memories are priceless. I’m so thankful to God for blessing me with the opportunity and I know that not a moment, or a dollar spent was wasted.”
Next year’s mission trip to Naco is scheduled for June 15-22, 2019. If you wish to be a part of this mission trip contact Bert Woodburn at

By Marty Simpkins