City of refuge AT A GLANCE


Tijuana Christian Mission started in 1965 as a church plant in Tijuana, Mexico. At the request of a church in the San Diego area, Sergio and Martha Gomez moved from further south in Mexico to serve as pastors of a church plant in Tijuana. It soon became apparent that there was a need for a children’s home in the neighborhood in which they were living. Before the opening of the children’s home, the Gomez family would often have ten or more extra children staying in their home. In many instances these were the children of prostitutes or of families who worked collecting recyclables in the city dump.

Regardless of the children’s backgrounds, without the help that Martha and Sergio offered them, the children would have been locked in their homes for hours at a time while their mothers went out searching for a way to feed their families. In 1972, after opening their own home and hearts for several years, Martha and Sergio were able to open our Tijuana campus, City of Refuge Children’s Home (“Cuidad de Refugio”). Since that time City of Refuge has truly been a refuge for the needy children of Tijuana.

In 2006, we opened the doors of the Rosarito campus, Hacienda Victoria, a second children’s home located on 7 acres of land just south of Rosarito. We now average 75 children plus staff living with us, and this number will grow as as we continue to add more dormitories in Rosarito.

what to expect

A Beyond Borders Rosarito trip is considered a Level 2 Trip (scale of 1 to 5). You will encounter unpaved and uneven terrain. Walking and light lifting is required. It is a coastal climate with highs in the 80’s and lows in the upper 60’s. Be prepared for long days and a language barrier if you are not familiar with Spanish.

where is rosarito, Mexico?

The City of Refuge in Rosarito, Mexico is just 29 miles south of the border along the coastal route between Tijuana and Ensenada. Mexico is located in the northern region of the American continent between the Gulf of Mexico on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. It is bordered by the United States on the north and by Guatemala and Belize on the south. Mexico’s land area extends 1,964,375 square kilometers.

official language 

Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Mexican Spanish is polite, clear and easy to understand by Latin American standards. The speed at which the language is spoken is not as accelerated as it is Spain and some South American countries and pronunciation is softer, making the language easier to 'pick-up' and easier to learn.


Christianity (Roman Catholic)

literacy rate 

It has a literacy rate of around 93% In Mexico, basic education is divided in three steps: primary, grades 1-6; junior high, 7-9; and high school, 10-12. While over 90% of children attend primary school, only 62% attend secondary school.

What do the three colors of the flag represent?

The three colors of Mexico’s flag hold deep significance for the country and its citizens: green represents hope and victory, white stands for the purity of Mexican ideals and red brings to mind the blood shed by the nation’s heroes. The emblem is based on the legend of how the Aztecs traveled from Aztlán to find a place where they could establish their empire. The god Huitzilopochtli advised them that a sign -  the eagle eating a serpent a cactus - would show them where to build their capital. This is how Mexico City was founded!


Mexico is the second largest economy in Latin America. The economy of the country is considered a developing nation and is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank. Mexico has free trade agreements with over 50 countries. Their top industries are food/beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel.




Rosarito Beach has a semi-arid climate with Mediterranean-like precipitation patterns. Temperatures are mild throughout the year with average temperatures ranging between 57.7 °F and 69.6 °F.  The altitude in Rosarito is 46 feet. Summers tend to be dry and warm  with an average temperature of 69.6 °F in August.

Cultural Do’s and Don’ts

Do learn some Spanish phrases. It will be appreciated even if pronounced poorly. Expect to shake hands between men. When members of the opposite sex meet, the woman should extend her hand to initiate the greeting. Don’t talk about money but do ask about the health of children and relatives. Use title (Señor or Señora) and the last name unless instructed otherwise. Don’t place your hands on your hips as this may be interpreted as aggression. Keeping your hands in your pockets is considered impolite. Use the term “North American” to refer to yourself because Mexicans consider themselves “Americans” too.


Stay on the orphanage grounds unless the project is led into the neighboring community. If you're staying in the hotel, don’t be alone at night. It would be preferable to have a group of 3, one being a male. Don’t be in an isolated place with nationals or with minors. Use common sense. If you’re not sure what is allowed, ask your team leader(s) or staff.


Time Zone: PST

Country Code: 52

Currency: Mexican Peso

Electrical Outlets: 110V. Electrical sockets (outlets) in Mexico are the "Type A”, same as the United States


The motto in Mexico is “buyer beware.” With that in mind, Mexico has everything from costumed frogs to silver work. Handicrafts, clothing and folk art vary regionally: pottery, woven fabrics, hammocks, clothing and baskets are often a good buy. If visiting small towns, learn to bargain; it can be fun and is expected. In the cities however, prices are fixed.


With regard to clothing, MODESTY is of EXTREME importance.  No underwear can be showing, no bare midriffs. And nothing form fitting, guys or gals. No scoop neck/ low necklines for gals. 

Work Clothing: Jeans, shorts or active wear. Closed toed, sturdy shoes. T-shirts or basic crew necks. No short shorts or sleeveless/tank tops. Any writing on shirts should not contain anything offensive, crude, provocative, political or inflammatory.

Casual Clothing: Comfortable, warm clothes for after work. The temperature drops as the sun goes down. Make sure you bring a jacket for worship time after dinner.