January 2016 Mission Trip

By Sabina Gilbert, Member of Capstone Missions Advisory Council

Early on a Saturday morning in January, seventeen men and women from across southern and south central Idaho gathered at the Twin Falls home of Deb Miciak, the trip coordinator for Capstone Missions, for final instructions, prayer, and an on-time 5:00 a.m. departure for what turned out to be a 19 hour drive to their destination: Tijuana, Mexico. These seventeen, with an additional four flying in from Alaska, Arizona, and Colorado, had volunteered a week of their time to Capstone Missions and would be helping with construction, repair, and maintenance work at two orphanages and a small convent located there.

Four to five times a year, Capstone Missions sends teams of Idaho college students and other adults on week-long mission trips to Tijuana to perform critically needed repair and construction work at orphanages, individual homes, and other facilities that serve the poor. Since our first trip in 1997, more than 400 volunteers have served, the vast majority being the college students. Capstone’s work is focused primarily on two facilities: St. Joseph’s Home, an orphanage housing five teenagers who have lived there as a family since they were infants, and La Hacienda de la Inmaculada, a larger orphanage that houses up to 50 children.

The January 2016 team was a diverse group, ranging in age from 18 to 70-plus, with 12 women and 9 men. Some were Capstone veterans; others were rookies. Roughly a third were students, a third were working adults, and a third were retired. Each brought a unique set of experiences and talents. And all shared a deep commitment to serve the poor.

The volunteers tackled a variety of projects over the course of the week. At St. Joseph’s, the most pressing problem was a leak in a hot water line buried in concrete. Earlier attempts to find and repair the leak had failed, but this trip found success: the source of the leak was isolated and bypassed. At La Hacienda, a corner of a large dormitory was converted into a small, private bedroom designed to give the older children some privacy and provide siblings living together at the orphanage space to share as a family. Some volunteers were put to work sorting, cleaning, and organizing a pantry and a large storage room, while others prepped and painted wrought iron window bars at the convent. Two of the volunteers happened to share a love of sewing and a love of children and turned the week into a very special time by teaching the St. Joseph’s children how to sew, using a recently donated sewing machine.

As their journals attest, Capstone’s people-to-people model provided the volunteers an opportunity to experience charitable giving in a deeply human way. One young man captured this sentiment in his journal entry towards the end of the week:

“As nourishing as our community is back home, it is just a parcel of what we have grown into here in Tijuana. I have learned so much about myself by living and working with this community… …I personally feel like I lived an entire life in the span of a week. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else during the first week of the New Year.”   -Nick Warnecke

The Capstone Missions January 2016 Journal, along with other past journals, can be found at https://www.capstonemissions.org/journals.

 The children of St. Joseph’s Home proudly modeled the aprons they each had made under the guidance of Kathy Levin and Frieda Jackson, two of the Capstone Mission volunteers. From left to right: Kathy Levin, Esther, Natalia, Lupita, Angie (front), Freida Jackson (rear), and Victor.

 The children of St. Joseph’s Home proudly modeled the aprons they each had made under the guidance of Kathy Levin and Frieda Jackson, two of the Capstone Mission volunteers. From left to right: Kathy Levin, Esther, Natalia, Lupita, Angie (front), Freida Jackson (rear), and Victor.

Capstone Mission volunteers sorted, cleaned, and organized a large storage room filled with donated clothing, toys, household goods, school supplies, and a variety of other items. From left to right are Scott Bridges, Vera Beltran, Mighely Morales, Veronica Alvarez, and Sabina Gilbert.

Capstone Mission volunteers sorted, cleaned, and organized a large storage room filled with donated clothing, toys, household goods, school supplies, and a variety of other items. From left to right are Scott Bridges, Vera Beltran, Mighely Morales, Veronica Alvarez, and Sabina Gilbert.

Nick Warnecke and Kyle Rink put their talents to good use prepping and painting wrought iron window bars at a small convent, the home of six sisters of the Missionaries of Charity.

Nick Warnecke and Kyle Rink put their talents to good use prepping and painting wrought iron window bars at a small convent, the home of six sisters of the Missionaries of Charity.

The Capstone January 2016 Missionaries: from left to right, back row: Scott Bridges, Kyle Rink, Marie Merkley, Justin Nesbitt, Marvin Makay, Kathy Levin, Megan Korthals, Tyler Kuhn; middle row: Mighely Morales, Vera Beltran, Maureen Patterson, Freida Jackson, Sabina Gilbert, Patty Imus, Rusty Gideon; front row: Nick Warnecke, Veronica Alvarez, Bill Henscheid, Deb Miciak,  Ana Vazquez, Dave Ankenbauer.

The Capstone January 2016 Missionaries: from left to right, back row: Scott Bridges, Kyle Rink, Marie Merkley, Justin Nesbitt, Marvin Makay, Kathy Levin, Megan Korthals, Tyler Kuhn; middle row: Mighely Morales, Vera Beltran, Maureen Patterson, Freida Jackson, Sabina Gilbert, Patty Imus, Rusty Gideon; front row: Nick Warnecke, Veronica Alvarez, Bill Henscheid, Deb Miciak,  Ana Vazquez, Dave Ankenbauer.

Capstone's Construction Coordinator: Building Better Futures

Dave and Natalia

Dave and Natalia

Dave’s inspirational motto for life:
“Want less, give more.”
— Dave Ankenbauer

Our construction coordinator, Dave Ankenbauer, first traveled to Tijuana with Capstone Missions in January of 2009. He has worked as a carpenter for 18 years and has been self-employed for 10 years. He has experience remodeling homes as well as completing new residential and commercial construction. Dave loves what he does for a living and feels he has been blessed with a set of skills that allows him to be creative.

Dave generously donates his time to coordinate construction and lead Capstone’s building projects. He travels from Colorado to Tijuana for at least four, week-long trips each year. On each mission trip, Dave patiently teaches our volunteers even the most basic building techniques while still keeping the project moving along. Numerous volunteers, many with no prior building experience, have helped Capstone complete quality building projects under Dave’s instruction. When asked about his generosity, Dave states, “I do not feel it is generous, but it is necessary. I see the need in Tijuana and the homes and orphanages we take care of, and I can’t turn away from that. I know I have been called to do this work, and I love every minute of it.” In giving one final reason to go on a mission trip, Dave says, “The food is amazing!”

Capstone Missions is a large part of Dave’s life, and he has grown to love many people in Tijuana. He also now looks at his wants and needs much differently. His experiences in Tijuana have had such an effect on him that he has decided to simplify his life as much as possible. “Want less, give more” is Dave’s motto.