Under such circumstances, and with the safety of the students and volunteers as a major concern, there was really no option but to cancel the 2018 Nicaragua Mission Trip. The political situation remains very uneasy in that country and we decided that it would not be advisable to return to Nicaragua under these circumstances.
In early 2019 we identified a new location in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, that would benefit from our services. In March 2019 two of our members visited there to inspect the site and establish relationships with local individuals and organizations. We determined that it was a good fit for us and in June 2019 we began a new missionary trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There we provided free dental services to individuals and families served by the Familias de la Esperanza Foundation. This foundation was formed to help families that formerly lived in the city dump. The June trip was very successful and we were looking forward to a 2020 trip. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic appeared and that resulted in cancellation of the 2020 trip to Puerto Vallarta. We are hoping that this situation will resolve sufficiently so that a trip in 2021 will be a possibility.
Our local free clinic at the Blessing Center in Redlands had to vacate their former premises and were able to find a site near the Redlands Municipal Airport that allowed them to continue most of their services. However, this site was not suitable for our dental clinic operation and we found a temporary location in the basement of the 1st Baptist Church in Redlands. In time, we located a good permanent location for our local dental clinic at the Crosswalk Seventh-day Adventist Church in west Redlands where they provide a meal to 80-100 homeless persons every Thursday evening. The Church personnel were very pleased to be able to add a free dental clinic to their services for this group of people. We were negotiating the details when the pandemic hit. We are proceeding with planning on how to resume services when the pandemic situation allows.