My normal Thanksgiving consists of about 10 of my family members sitting around a table, eating some turkey, potatoes, and yams. I love those Thanksgiving, but this year I was eating homemade, fresh tamales with a different kind of family :)
Instead of going home for Thanksgiving I went to Mexico with the Mexico Outreach group. It was such an awesome experience! I honestly could talk (or type) for hours… so I’ll just give a few highlights.
Mexico Outreach splits us into different teams that go to individual sites. I got put on Global Team 2, which was such an amazing blessing! The Global Teams were made up of International Students and Third Culture Kids (People that had grown up in a different culture, often Missionary kids). It was so much fun to hear everyone’s stories about their life in Taiwan, Spain, or Japan.
Here are my team leaders Ty and Luke “helping out” with brownies for our bake sale. :)
Earl-Lynn and I joined Yui and Emily making cookies in Engstrom (One of the dorms)!
We got the number for the church a little bit later than most so we weren’t exactly sure what the pastor and his wife were going to have us do. We knew there would be kids around and possibly some kind of construction.
Once we got to the church and met Mario and Leti (the pastors) we basically learned they pulled the kids out of school most of Thursday and Friday so we could just play with them. Leti said they haven’t had anyone come to their church in two years, and the kids just love seeing American students willing to give up their time to be with them. We had two Sunday school lessons, but essential we just loved the kids and did whatever they were doing.
We bought some art supplies and it got crazy :) But crazy in the most precious, beautiful way.
Yui let us use very volleyball… and we had so much fun! Most of my time while we were at the church was spent playing volleyball with all the boys, although we did have an intense game of boys vs. girls’ soccer. The girls pretty epic-ly lost :)
I don’t know if I can even express how much I love these kids! Actually, I love everyone at the church. Leti knew Thursday night was Thanksgiving for us, so they switched their normal Friday night service to Thursday and made tamales and beans for us. It was such a sweet gesture! I know that it must of cost them a lot to feed both our team and the drama team that preformed, but they were so hospitable. Later in the week, Leti took us to an awesome breakfast where we all had Goat meat. She wouldn’t let us pay, and my heart just went out to her. It makes me want to be more open and loving towards others in need.
I want to be in Mexicali right now. I’d so much rather be playing with the kids than studying for finals :) I have to go back to ‘The Fountain of Life’ church. I fell in love with all those kids you are seeing in the pictures… and I can’t help needing to go back. We were able to provide them with some plumbing supplies so they could have a working bathroom but there is so much their church is doing.
I gave a speech last Monday (the day after we got back, ahh was that stressful) where I mentioned Americans who go on short-term missions need to know that God is already working in the area and it isn’t our job to go and fix everything. Mario and Leti had us follow them to multiple sites their church is growing around Mexicali and we just prayed over the sites. God was already providing them with land, open homes, and loving families to help their church grow.
This is Mario and Leti in front of a plot of land that will hopefully be an extension of their church:
One of the best parts of this trip was my team. I know I already mentioned them, but honestly, this would have been a whole different trip without them. We were the smallest group on the trip but it let us get so close! Each one of us brought something exciting to the trip, and I love them all! I can’t help but smile every time I hear the song “Fireflies’ :)
This is getting a bit long so I’ll wrap it up with one quick story. Please, please feel free to leave comments and ask question… like I said before, I could talk about my trip for hours :)
Well, we ended up leaving Mexicali around midnight Sunday morning because of rain conditions and some sickness. We can try to blame it on being tired and worn out but everyone in our car almost had a panic attack at 1 in the morning when we realized Yui had brought apples into the van. We were almost to the border and you aren’t allowed to bring fruit over the border. Yui handed me an apple but I had no idea what to do with it. There wasn’t a garbage can around and we were stuck in the border traffic. My group members kept yelling to throw it out the window, and that is what ended up happening :). Apples are degradable but at the time I was so afraid the Mexican police were going to be super mad! It got worse though; because Yui had put the apples all around the car in spaces so we could all have one. We kept finding more apples, and they kept making me chuck them out the window! Oh, I love my Global Team 2. :)