Westmont Magazine Reaching Out in Ensenada
Participating in Potter’s Clay as students at Westmont led Brent and Allyson Brubaker Searway ’85 to dedicate their lives to missions work. After college, their work as teachers allowed them to spend summers leading missions trips to an orphanage south of Ensenada, Mexico. One year, they decided to spend the entire summer at the orphanage, and then they knew God was pulling them in that direction.
They returned to their home in Coalinga, Calif., changed after that summer. While Brent felt a distinct call to Mexico, Allyson admits feeling wary about leaving the security of their hometown. One weekend, while visiting friends, Allyson and Brent heard a guest speaker in church who was a missionary in Mexico. His talk, on how scary it is to leave security and the biblical example of Jonah not going to Nineveh when he should have, spoke directly to Allyson. She walked out of that meeting changed and unafraid.
The Searways serve with Aqua Viva. As executive director, Brent oversees the different ministries, the Ministry Training Institute, the Mexican camping ministry and the work with short-term missions trips. In addition to raising their children and helping out at their schools, Allyson recruits and hires summer staff, writes articles about Aqua Viva and teaches cultural awareness classes to the new staff members.
For the last several years they have hosted Potter’s Clay at their camp. The Searways spend time with the core group of leaders throughout the year and generally try to make themselves available to the students. Allyson has come to campus to speak to the students about cultural awareness issues, and they are always looking for students who feel God’s call to full-time ministry with Aqua Viva.
Despite the cultural and social changes Brent and Allyson faced in their transition to Ensenada, they truly consider it their home. While they struggled at first with the most basic tasks like counting money in the grocery store, they have become comfortable in their new surroundings. They have developed an interest in studying cultural transitions for missionaries and feel secure that they are where God wants them.
Both Brent and Allyson agree that the best part of their job is knowing that their lives have a temporal and eternal value. When asked about their favorite aspect of missions work with Aqua Viva, Brent relates the story of Vicente, an older man who cannot talk or move his right arm. Vicente had lived with his children in a small, 5-foot-by-10-foot room that fills with water when it rains. A group from Aqua Viva found him a few days after a bad rain and asked him if they could build him a new house. Although he could not speak, Vicente began pointing toward the sky and later wrote how God answered his prayer for a new home. “To be able to provide even the most basic necessities for someone is amazing,” Brent explains. “To work where God is moving and truly be His hands and feet is such a blessing.”