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Medicine as Mission- Baja Missions, Baja Mexico.

November 15, 2021

James and Elizabeth Parnell at one of the clinics at Baja Missions.

James and Elizabeth Parnell share about the relationships that keep them coming back to Baja.

James and Elizabeth Parnell share about the relationships that keep them coming back to Baja. 

Season 2 of Not A Trip starts off strong with a conversation with James and Elizabeth Parnell about the work that is happening through Baja Missions in Baja, Mexico.

Baja Missions is a nonprofit that was founded in 1996 as an offshoot of the City of Children in Ensenada, Mexico. Baja Missions began working to meet the needs and plant churches in communities further south. American groups began coming to Baja Missions and participating in construction projects, food relief, and sharing the gospel through relational ministry. As the Parnells got more involved in leading trips to Baja, they began doing week-long popup medical clinics. Now, Baja Missions has three full time medical clinics that provide medical needs for their communities. All three clinics offer medical and dental care completely free of charge. Local dentists and doctors work in the clinics meeting the physical needs of their patients. 

The Parnells both have full-time jobs in the medical field, in addition to helping oversee Baja Mission’s three clinics. It has been a difficult time for the medical community, but James and Elizabeth have found that their time in Baja has allowed them to remain motivated during the past two years. James shared that the medical profession is high stress, but high reward. They believe that their day jobs at the hospital serve as fundraising for more life-giving things, like their continued work with Baja Mission. Elizabeth shared that she is inspired by those on the ground in Baja and she wants to come alongside them in any way that she can, which keeps her motivated in her work and to return to Baja. 

James and Elizabeth remarked that Baja is a special place for their whole family. The couple’s relationship has been rooted in service since they met in undergrad at Lipscomb. They have been taking trips with their whole family, including both sets of parents, since the couple was engaged. Now, the Parnells continue to bring their children to Baja whenever they can. James spoke about how they want their children to notice the time they choose to spend as a family serving in Baja instead of on vacation. “We want to ingrain in them what our parents ingrained in us: that it is important to take the gifts that God gives you and give them back,” said James. They want to create a life pattern and rhythm of mission for their family.  

The reason that the Parnells continue to pour into Baja Missions is undoubtedly because of relationships with both the Lipscomb students that participate in the trips they lead and with the people of Baja. They are passionate about helping students find ways to use their future professions in the medical field as service. The Parnells have been leading spring break trips to Baja through Lipscomb Missions since 2015. They have been blessed by their continued friendship with students who return year after year. Some alumni who have been mentored by James and Elizabeth even return and serve as mentors for current students. The employees and community members in Baja have become like family to the Parnells. James shared a story about eating lunch at a local preacher's house on their most recent trip and looking up and seeing a 20 year old photo of himself and his brother on the wall. “I always tell our students that we are there for a week or two a year, but they do this full time 50 weeks out of the year and take care of these people,” said James. “Not only are we there to help the people and the community, we’re there to find out how we can better serve the preachers and clinical providers down there the rest of 50 weeks out of the year. It’s the relationships that keep us going back there.”

To learn more about the Parnells and the work happening in Baja, listen to episode 11 of Not a Trip. You can also read about Baja Mission on their website.

Not a Trip