“Seeing the smiles on the faces of those we build homes for in Tecate is what keeps our family going back.”
“Surf camp was my big jump into missions and it was fun, because I was just doing what I love.”
John is a familiar face around St. Andrew’s. Born and raised on the peninsula, John and his wife Michelle have attended St. Andrew’s for more than 17 years. They have two kids, Jack (14) and Annie (12). John’s entrée into missions began a decade ago when he and a few friends partnered with MIKA in Costa Mesa to launch a surf club for kids from the Shalimar community. The neighborhood is marked by poverty, broken families and an active gang culture. The surf club gives kids a better option. Throughout the summer, volunteers host teens at the beach, share the Gospel, lead small groups, learn about the ocean and then surf.
“They live less than two miles from the beach, but it’s amazing how many have never seen the ocean,” said John.
Over the years, John hasn’t ministered alone. His family often joins him at surf clubs and in other mission activities farther afield in Tecate, Mexico. The entire Somers family joined John for his first trip to Tecate, five years ago. Today, John co-leads the house build team, while Michelle leads family-friendly ministry efforts during trips.
Despite the language barrier, John makes it a point to get to know each family before the build gets underway. The most poignant moment comes after two days of hard work when he hands over the keys to the house. Smiles and tears pour out as these families thank God and look to brighter future.
John is using his passions and talents to love and serve his neighbors. It is a natural integration and expression of who he is and it’s producing unexpected fruit. “Seeing my own family change is a big deal. It’s amazing to be part of a service project that we can all do together.”