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United States – Mexico Border Experience

February 18, 2020

Travel Day: February 17

Registration is now open!

The Congregational Vitality Team is reaching out to Directors for Evangelical Mission and their mission partners with a special opportunity to worship together near the beach at the United States – Mexico border.

The Spanish word for “border” is frontera. As we think about the borders in our lives — country, state, neighborhood, even our churches — why not think about these “borders” as FRONTIERS to explore? How can we grow and learn together, as Christ’s people in mission? How can we explore the frontiers of our faith and reach out to all people in love and service, united in the Good News of Jesus Christ?

This experience will take place the day before the Congregational Vitality Training Event in San Diego in February 2020.


This one-day opportunity on February 18 is also open to people who will not be attending the CV Training Event.




$50 — Includes Registration and Bus Fees

$150 — Includes Registration, Bus, and Double-Occupancy Hotel Room for Monday night, February 17.

$250 – Includes Registration, Bus, and Single-Occupancy Hotel Room for Monday night, February 17.



For Congregational Vitality Training Event participants who ALSO want to participate in the Border Experience, Monday night housing (if needed) MUST be reserved through the Border Experience link.

  • Please use the Border Experience link above to reserve your Monday night housing.
  • Register for Tuesday – Thursday housing using the CV Training Event link found on the Timing and Training Tracks page. Don’t worry, we will reconcile all the housing requests so that you will remain in the same room for the week’s events.


UPDATED (12/4/19) Rough Agenda:**

  • 8:15 am: Load charter buses at Town and Country Hotel; depart by 8:30 am.
  • Up to 200 participants will cross the border to the Mexico side to participate, and up to 100 people will participate on the US side.
  • Join in a border worship experience in a park / open space near the beach (approximately 10:00-11:00 am).
  • Lunch (arranged with our help, “on your own”)
  • Travel by charter bus to an immigrant-hospitality center on the Mexico side of the border OR to one or two historic Latinx churches on the US side of the border. This activity will include time to process and share regarding this experience.
  • Return to the hotel (via charter bus) approximately 4:30 – 5:30 pm.
  • Testimony from this experience will be shared at the Congregational Vitality Training Event, which begins Wednesday, February 19.
  • Participate in an optional dessert reception gathering Tuesday evening (beginning at approximately 7:30 pm). You will have an opportunity to hear about what other participants experienced (on each side of the border). This activity is for:
    • People who can stay longer in the evening before traveling home OR:
    • People who have been invited by their DEM to register (using a separate link) and stay overnight Tuesday night to participate in the CV Training Event, which begins Wednesday, February 19.
    • Housing is extremely limited at the Town and Country Hotel: People who are not involved in the CV Training Event who need a room on Tuesday night will need to book their own room at a nearby hotel (there are plenty!) if planning to stay over on Tuesday night. Thank you!

** Exact details may vary. We will keep you posted!


What You Should Bring:

  • A valid (blue) US passport that will not expire for at least 6 months from February 18, 2020. Please see the very important legal notes below.
  • Water
  • Money (U.S. dollars are fine) to purchase food/lunch/snacks.
  • Snacks, such as snack bars and fruit.
  • Comfortable shoes (high-sided tennis shoes or boots), and please dress for the weather and for walking on sand and through watery/muddy paths.
  • Sunscreen and/or a hat.
  • Travel light, as you will be walking for 30+ minutes both to and from the worship site.


Important Participation Notes:

  • All participants must be present at the Town and Country Hotel, San Diego, and ready to travel to the border at 8:00 am, Tuesday, February 18. This may mean you will need a hotel room on Monday, February 17.
  • Participants must be able to walk for up to 30 minutes to and from the worship destination (sandy/wet area near beach).


Legal and Safety Considerations to Help You Plan

Preparation Requirements:

  1. All participants MUST submit the following to our team and to a designated alternate person: emergency contact information including name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address in case of a participant’s ill health, detainment, death or other circumstances.
  2. All participants who plan to enter Mexico MUST have a valid US (blue) passport that will not expire for at least 6 months after February 18, 2020.
  3. All participants who plan to enter into Mexico MUST make a copy of their passport and give it to a family member or other designee.
  4. All participants who plan to enter into Mexico MUST sign an ELCA waiver (available at registration).


Additional Important Notes

  1. No participant is to allowed to drive a vehicle into Mexico. We have been advised that driving into Mexico without proper Mexican auto insurance is a very serious violation of Mexican law that is strictly enforced by Mexican authorities.
  2. Please check the following US State Department sites for risk information concerning Mexico:


Questions? Contact Pastor Anna-Kari Johnson (se habla Español).