“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community. But the person who loves those around them will create community” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jess recently came across this quote, and we have both found it deeply encouraging. Community lies at the heart of our hopes and dreams in this new year. We have a dream to create a supportive community for youth in Baja using outdoor recreation, but we are reminded this is only possible if we start by loving the people around us today. While Covid-19 may limit how quickly we can start running youth programs, it does not prevent us from loving those around us. Opportunities to extend kindness to neighbors and even enemies (Matthew 5:44) can be found anywhere, especially these days! We hope this can be an encouragement for you too, wherever you may find yourself in 2021. 

As for us … we now find ourselves waking up in a little valley town called La Misión. How did we get here? You might remember at the time of our update last month that we were in our final weeks as Spanish students in Ensenada and not yet sure where we were going to live in the new year. That weekend we got a call from Sarah and Brendan, a couple who run a community clinic in La Misión called Siloé Ministries. The clinic has recently been short-staffed, which you can imagine is especially challenging during a global health crisis. Knowing our hopes to work with youth in the area, they extended an offer for us to serve as part-time volunteers with the Siloé team in exchange for cheap housing at the clinic, which is perfectly located for us in the center of town. 

Neither of us are medical professionals, but there is plenty of other work that goes into keeping the clinic open. Our work may include running errands, transportation, receiving and processing donated supplies, cleaning, organizing, and basically filling in wherever there is a need. We are excited for this opportunity to serve with such a great organization while we build connections and adjust to life in La Misión. Siloé’s “whole person care” approach to wellness also aligns well with our hopes of connecting youth to healthy outdoor activities, and we are excited to see where the partnership might lead down the road.

We just finished our first week at the clinic and will continue as volunteers at least through the end of March, at which point we will review and consider the options available.


Q – What is your budget down there?
A – With the blessing of cheaper housing through Siloé, food being incredibly inexpensive and our general desire to live simply, we don’t need much. We suspect though, as time goes on and we begin small outdoor youth programs our needs will increase. For now our monthly budget is about $800 , which includes everything for both of us (food, rent, health and car insurance, clean water… ect.)

Q – How can we support you financially?
A – Until now we have held off on raising support while we get a better sense of what our work will look like in 2021. If you would like to be a part of our work here and support us financially now, we would be very happy to receive it! Here are the options that we currently have available.

  • Tax deductible donation through (just be sure to specify AlephBaja)
  • Venmo (@Dustin-Punches) or QR code at the bottom of this email
  • Zelle (Free bank account transferring use
  • Check (Mailed to San Diego address)

Q – Can we send you mail or packages while you are in Mexico?
A – Unfortunately no, but we expect to make semi-regular trips back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico, so you are welcome to send us mail at our San Diego address (found on support page). Just expect some delay between when you send it and when we actually receive it.

Merry Late Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dustin & Jess

For folks who would like to pray for us, here are some things on our hearts:

  • Transportation – We are still looking for a reliable 4 wheel drive vehicle for getting around transporting gear through the dirt roads in town. (Our top choice would be a lightly used Toyota Tacoma)
  • Language – Language barrier is an ongoing challenge to connection and community. Continued prayer to persevere even when things seem to never make sense would be greatly appreciated. 

Getting Stoked

  • SENTRI – We are SO stoked and thankful that we have successfully been approved through the the trusted traveler SENTRI program, which will make crossing the border much simpler. (When we first applied in the fall, the next available interview wasn’t until August of 2021!) Two slots opened up for us to get it done at the end of last month — a big answer to prayer!

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