This summer I had the opportunity to go on a missions trip with some people from my church. Our destination was Tijuana, Mexico, and our goal was to build eight basic houses while there. It all sounds so simple, but there was so much more.
Our team of 21 members drove from Kamloops in 3 vans. That's over 2,500 kilometers! We left at 5 am on July 21st. Each day we were assigned a van to be in and it was switched up once each day, so that we could get to know each other really well. Sometimes we got to know too much (as sometimes happens when spending endless hours cooped up in a van). The good news is that we all got along and bonded well.
We finally arrived, with some stops along the way, in Tijuana 4 days later. We had the privilege of attending a Mexican church on Sunday when we arrived. It was really neat to sing and worship God with the people there. I loved seeing how passionate the pastor was in his preaching too.
After church we had our first experience ordering tacos in Spanish at a taco stand. It was really hard for me to remember the names of things the first day, but by the end of the week I had it down pat. And the food was delicious. That was actually one of the things that I was most looking forward to about the trip.
We worked with Mexico Caravan Ministries and stayed in dorms there. They have a very unassuming building in a regular neighbourhood, and the inside is simple as well. They can house up to 100 people there. We slept on triple decker bunkbeds and had to share a very small washroom. Oh, and no showers either. (I have to be honest. This was something that I was very worried about and made me debate whether or not I would go on this trip. I'm not high maintenance, but I do like to keep clean).
Each morning we would get up, get ready, have devotions, eat breakfast and then gather together with the other teams that were there for the week. We sang together and then listened to a speaker. Mexico Caravan Ministries is actually a missions mobilization organization, so their focus was on showing that God calls us to spread the gospel in all the earth. We are to go to all corners of the earth to tell others about Jesus and his death and resurrection. Each morning we had a different speaker who explained different aspects of this. I was challenged in so many ways. The Lord spoke to me about how I can live my life for Him and what He is wanting from me in my life.
After the morning session, our team divided into two and we each went to a different location to build a house for a family. Caravan makes all the decisions about who to build for and since none of us had much Spanish knowledge, we don't know the different situations of each family that we built for. All we know is that they were really grateful for the small, simple structure that we could build for them.
Working together as a team we hammered and nailed and lifted and painted the house into being. There were often children who came by and wanted to help out. It was very sweet. The family we built for each day was also responsible to serve us lunch. It was always exciting to see what kind of food they prepared. I'm thankful that I had no gastrointestinal problems for the whole trip! I just enjoyed what was offered.
After building houses for 4 days, we had a day to serve in another way. We spent the day with boys from a boy's home. We ate lunch and then went to a water park. It was so neat to see all the kids delighted to be at the pool.
We left Mexico early the next morning. We took 5 days to get home and had some really neat experiences. Maybe I'll share some of those in another post. This one's getting rather long!
I hope you enjoyed hearing about the highlight of my summer.
P.S. I didn't bring my own camera with me, so all these pictures are courtesy of my fellow team members.