It all started in June of 1984...
David Burdette (a missionary with the Baptist General Conference) was working to plant churches in Tijuana. During this time, Dave was approached regarding a need that a local poor Mexican woman had. Alexandra, who was 8 months pregnant and had a mentally handicapped four-year old boy, had acquired a piece of land. However, she was going to lose her property if she did not construct a house on it soon. Dave agreed to construct a shelter for the family and engaged the help of Eddie Passmore and his youth group at Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Diego.
Hence, the first Caravan house – a 16 x 16 – was constructed. Dave received a second request for a shelter followed by a third. It was during the construction of the third house that Dave recognized the value of meeting the needs of the community as a church planting strategy. That strategy led to a church start in the Grupo México neighborhood of Tijuana.
In 1985, Dave was invited by leaders of the PRD (the Communist political party of Mexico) to work in the new El Florido section of the city. In 1989, the Baptist General Conference hosted Serve ’89 – a denomination-wide, short-term youth mission trip. Dave was asked to coordinate the Mexico portion of the trip. At the completion of the week, 100 youth committed their lives to pursuing full-time missions.
After that week, Dave began to see the value of short-term missions ministry among youth. He saw the worth of exposing youth to a cross-cultural experience where they would be exposed to third-world poverty, language barriers and cultural differences. He also recognized that the Tijuana church was doing a good job of evangelizing its own people. Over the next year, Dave shifted his focus from church planting to missions mobilization among youth and Mexico Caravan Ministries began.