It has been a little while since my last post. There have been some huge things going on. So here is a quick timeline: I went to mexico, it was fun, drove 39 hours to camp, had a family missions at covecrest, very tired, left for home. . . There, that wasn’t so bad . . .
Okay, here is a little more detail about my happenings. This is going to be part one of the mexico trip. Probably the long one. It is mainly just going to be talking about what we did physically while there. Part 2 is going to discuss how God moved in my heart (it will be a little shorter).
Mexico Part 1:
It was BAAAAALLLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAA’. Yeah it was awesome. BUT, awesome in a way that was unusual to me. I have been on quite a few mission trips before. Ecuador, Romania, New Orleans, New Mexico. I have seen some impoverished areas. Mexico was not a surprise in the poverty department. It was certainly bad, I was just expecting it and knew what it would look like. What was a surprise was EVERYTHING else. This one BLEW the rest out of the water.
For past mission trips I have been used to getting out early to the worksite, maybe praying right before hand and then spending a very long and tiring day building or doing some demolition with some of the locals. Then coming home at night and having a good cultural meal. Sometimes we would have a 2 day break between weeks to visit another part of the country or city. Mexico was a bit different.
The whole foundation for the trip was prayer. We had been praying for a couple months to prepare our hearts and now that we were in Mexico we didn’t stop, but continued to pray unceasingly. Every morning we would spend about 1 1/2 in prayer. But this was FMC(the company we went with) style. We would have 4 rounds: 1 P & W(praise and worship), 1 Thanksgiving, 1 gospel message, and 1 petitions. But, this wasn’t just a few thoughts for each just to be nice and have some people talk. This was literally expending all your energy being thankful for EVERYTHING you can think of or praying for EVERYTHING you could pray for. One by one we would just start thanking God for the blessings he has given us and it didn’t stop until you honestly couldn’t think of anything more. I think the first day we did it a woman went on for 20 MINUTES!!!! (it was intense, I am not sure if I am that creative, lol.)
After that we would have an AMAZING food (all the food was probably the best I have ever had. . . mmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I LOVE chorizo!). Anyways, after breaking our fast we would head to our work projects. There were three different ones and a lot of people were switching around the whole week. However, I was able to stay on a roof project all week. It was an incredible blessing because I was able to build up relationships with the woman who owned the house as well as the work leader (we called him Goya which means rooster. He was hilarious!).
The roof consisted of oiled pine tree beams, wooden slats on top, covered in plastic, topped off with dirt. We had to take everything down into the room underneath, and then begin rebuilding it. As usual demolition was the easiest part of the project. Everything was just tough manuel labor and needed some major strength and endurance. All of the new pieces had to get up on top of the roof somehow and we only had a rope with a hook tied to the end and a few buckets. Every beam needed about 5 people picking or lifting it up, all the dirt was pulled up bucket by bucket, every slat of wood was drawn up piece by piece. However, even with all the primitive tools and techniques, we were able to completely finish a roof in just a few days.
We would actually only be at the work project from 9:30 – 1:00. After that, we had SIESTA!!!!!! Something that I think ALL countries should adopt. For two hours we had a chance to rest, visit some of the shops, or just walk around town visiting some of the community members.
We spent our nights visiting a few of the ranchos and leading prayer services for them in spanish. There are 46 ranchos that are connected to the Catholic Church in General-Cepeda, but, there are only about 2 or 3 priests that are at the church. This poses a difficult situation for most of the outside communities. They can go months without ever seeing a priest, hearing mass, and receiving reconciliation. This is why the prayer services are just as important as the manual labor we do in the morning. FMC brings in small groups of missionaries to lead P&W, give testimonies, preach on the gospel, and to simply pray over the community. It was incredible. Everything was done in spanish so I didn’t understand much; but you don’t need to know another language to know what’s happening when an old woman is crying while we are praying or what’s happening when the entire room erupts in a cheer while singing Gloria De Dios!!! It was beautiful.
I didn’t think I would have anything to say to these people when I gave my testimony. I really struggled with what to tell a community that is so opposite of mine. A community with a different lifestyle, different culture, and possibly a different faith. But that is the beautiful thing about the Christian Church. I can go anywhere and we are still one. We are a large family. I just spoke my heart to them and they understood. I talked about my girlfriend, my doubts, my weak faith, but my determination and desire to know Christ even more!!! I don’t know if they were changed, I dunno if I really moved anybody to rethink their ways or moved anybody to tears. BUT, I do know that at the end of the night these people were with me on my journey. They cared just as much about me as I did about them. It was . . . unbelievable. . .
I would come home after those nights and lay awake at night thinking about the world and the joy that can be found.
That was a typical day (if you call that typical) in the life of a short term mexico missionary . . . to be continued.