If you’ve been on a build trip with 1MISSION in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, then you’ve likely met Leo Perez. He serves as our basecamp host, making sure every trip participant is well taken care of. He’s also the star of our new video, introducing new folks to everything our basecamp has to offer. In this Q&A, Leo tells us why he loves his job, what he likes to read, and how he spends his free time.
You’ve lived in Puerto Peñasco for 12 years now. How did you first get connected to 1MISSION?
For a while I went to the same church as Pedro Tapia. He was a musician there, and we became friends. I had been working at a hotel in town, but when I left that job, Pedro asked if I’d come work with him at 1MISSION.
I spent a couple of weeks in training. I liked it because it felt like a good environment to be part of. I fell in love with 1MISSION’s vision and mission, which are now my vision and mission too. I decided this would be the best place for me to work, helping the community. This was three years ago.
Your job title is Basecamp Host. It’s a job that includes a little bit of everything. Tell us about it.
I love my job. I’m a people person, and I like interacting with trip participants, making sure they feel comfortable and at home. We want them to feel like this is their home away from home, that we are family. During busy trip weekends, it’s fun, it’s crazy. There’s always something to be done, at all hours. I’m also the security guard, keeping everyone safe.
During the summer, when trips aren’t happening, it’s a very different rhythm. The kitchen team is here some of the time, but I’m also by myself a lot. During these times, we work on property upkeep, doing stuff like trimming trees and painting bunkhouses. I do all kinds of maintenance, from plumbing problems to basic electrical work, making sure everything’s in good condition. When trips start back up in the fall, I want the place to look spotless and beautiful for them.
I’m proud of this place. It’s a good feeling knowing trip participants are being well taken care of. It’s worth all the effort.
I know you’re an avid reader. What’s one of your favorite books?
One of my favorite books is The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, which I first read as a new Christian. I love the way he writes. Even though I’m not a pastor, and I don’t lead a church, I still love learning about the Kingdom of God.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I always go to the beach, a quiet area called Playa de Oro. From there I can see the whole ocean view, surrounded by big rocks. I take headphones and listen to music. I also pray there. Even though I know I can talk with God anywhere, that’s my favorite place to pray.
I also love talking with homeless people by the railroad tracks. It doesn’t feel like an option for me… it’s a necessity. I share with them about my own past experiences, of times when I was lost, living without hope. I want to help people, and I want to spend time with the neediest people. People who are desperate, even hopeless. I feel happy, full of joy, when I am there with them.
Next time you’re at basecamp, be sure to introduce yourself to Leo and thank him for his great work. And now, enjoy his Hollywood-caliber movie star skills!