March 19, 2007

Mexico Mission '07 team set for trip March 23-April 2

Dassel church to send builders to Colonia Obrera, Mexico

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

A mission team from Evangelical Covenant Church of Dassel will be leaving Friday, March 23, for Mexico.

The Rev. Keith Carlson asked the Cokato Dassel Rotary March 8 to remember and pray for the team’s efforts at Colonia Obrera. Team members are Carlson, Tim Paulson, Bonnie Eng, Karen Grossheider and Kristin Carlson of Dassel, as well as Spark and Donna Brinkman of Oak Heights Covenant Church of Hutchinson. The team will return Monday, April 2.

Carlson told the Rotarians about the mission trip and showed slides during a presentation at Daniel’s Family Restaurant in Cokato of what has been accomplished at Colonia Obrera so far.

Eloisa Franco of Dassel, a cook at Sunni’s Grille in Howard Lake, has been teaching Spanish to Carlson, so he can communicate at least on a basic level there, he said. Her daughter, Marina Celis, also lives in Dassel, and is a member of the covenant church.

The team will be building a youth room on the second level of the Colonia Obrera church, which is a couple of hours from Mexico City. Team members also will edify the church, and the church’s youth program, as well as plant trees and other vegetation around the building. Currently the sanctuary is mostly open air, Carlson said.

The Covenant church denomination has established 57 mission churches in Mexico since 1946, he said. Colonia Obrera is about the size of Dassel, except it has a population of 5,000. It has an elevation of 4,500 feet, and it usually is about 100 degrees or more between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Most of the residents work in the sugar cane industry, Carlson said.

The church, Evangelical Mission Church of the Covenant, is on the outskirts of town, so has a metal bar fence and gate to keep the cows out of the unfinished building. The church has had a married couple to serve as pastors for the past year, he said.

The congregation is eager to get the room for its youth program constructed because Colonia Obrera has a drug culture. The congregation wants to prevent drug problems in the 50 children expected to be served by the youth program, Carlson said.

Kristin Carlson went to Colonia Obrera about a month ago, to check out what the team can expect. There is no staircase to the second level of the church, for example, so the builders will need to climb brick steps only about three to four inches wide, Carlson pointed out.

The bumpy, rutted street to the church looks more like an alley than a street, he added.

Eng is the team leader. Marcella Craswell of Dassel is the director of outreach at the Covenant church in Dassel. It has been active in Hispanic ministries for the past four years, he said.

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