Thursday, 24 January 2013

Looking Back Part 1: What Happens in Mexico...

Hey everybody. To provide a bit of content I decided to post something I've already written. This is a reflection on a mission trip to Mexico that I participated in a couple of years ago. I edited a bit to make it a little easier to read from a proper literary perspective. I hope you enjoy reading it and may you all be blessed the rest of the week.
What Happens in Mexico...

A while back, I said I wanted to help the poor (I just looked and it was around three and a half years ago). Well, for a while after I wrote that, I didn't do much. I'm rather known for that. Being all talk and not much getting done. Yep, that's me. Until two years ago.

I went to Mexico a couple of years ago. I got to spend time there with a group of people who wanted to change the world around them. They call themselves 'Everyday Philanthropists.' I still have no clue what that means; or if it matters. What I know is that through them, God does things. Strange, but amazing things. When I was down there, I don't know exactly how, but He did what He does best: Salvation, healing and restoration. And He's still doing it. Because He's God and He can.

So we got to Monterrey on the Monday after a long time of flying and waiting and customs and we got to see a little bit of the mountains. The mountains are magnificent. They're really big (They're mountains and they're supposed to be big but still...)! On the way from Monterrey to Linares I got to go in a small truck to where we would be staying with 3 other guys and I learned some things about Mexico. I learned a bit of history that I won't repeat here but was really important to know at the end of the week (And since I want you to read on, you'll have to wait until the end of this to read about it unless you were there because then you already know). But we finally got to the missionaries' home and got settled in, ate, then pretty much went to bed.

On Tuesday and a bit of Wednesday we helped to repair the home of a family. The home experienced destruction during a hurricane so we went to fix it up a bit. We laid down some concrete, painted, installed new windows and gave them a toilet-something they did not have before. Also on Wednesday we got to meet the orphans at the orphanage that we're connected with down there. We got to meet some really great kids.

On Thursday, We went back to the orphanage and spent more time with them. Most of us started a great game of soccer and there were many goals scored. There were so many goals, I actually scored one! It was marvelous. We ate lunch there and it was really good as well. Once the kids saw my video camera though, I became about 10 times cooler...not a totally new thing, but something I still noticed.

One thing I learned though; each one of those kids has a story. And most of the stories aren't ideal fairy tale stories at all. I don't know very many of the backgrounds but I do know that if most of the kids weren't being assaulted or neglected in any way, then they probably wouldn't be at the orphanage. So in a way it's a double-edged sword; it's great to know them but I wish we met in better circumstances. In short: It's not camp.

Anyway, also on Thursday some of us performed for a bunch of families who lived in the area where we were working earlier. All of them seemed to enjoy what we did young and old. And on Friday we went and gave out food and supplies to some of those, in and out of the body of Christ, who were hardest hit by the hurricane. Some of them were really thankful and praised the Lord.

On Saturday we helped another group of families by giving them supplies as well as giving one woman and her family new beds and new furniture to use (Her other stuff stuff was wrecked by the hurricane). It was wonderful! And later in the evening, the missionaries hosted something like a banquet to the extended family of the family that we helped earlier in the week. It was amazing to see everyone celebrating and God being honoured during the celebration.

Before I move to Sunday I want to explore something. Something I can be rather good at is just doing and not talking (Arguably, I completely suck at talking). Many times during the week, my ministry did not come from my mouth but from what I was doing (Okay, besides high-fiving the Mexicans...). When we played, I played. When we worked, I tried to work. But in each of those things I did my best to communicate to those whom I could not verbally communicate with a sense of brotherhood and unity that only comes through Christ (This involved numerous high-fives to the people and their children-it was glorious). The point is that it's amazing what God can do when you're willing to get involved in what He is doing in a certain place.

So on Sunday we returned to Monterrey and we prepared to return home. We stayed at the YWAM (Youth With a Mission) base (I can now say that I went to YWAM!) overnight. However something incredibly strange happened. The way I tell this may be lighter than how it should be told but I'm only telling it from my perspective. We woke up bright and early to a Mexican showdown. I thought it was construction at first and then I heard the grenades and I thought...that cannot be construction. As it appeared, not far from where we were someone was angry enough to shoot a lot of bullets and throw a few grenades while at it. And their target was returning fire as well. All this amounted to one dead person, a couple of wrecked homes and emotional wreckage for many of those around (I don't know how it affected all of our team...I don't really know if it affected me at all...). However the place where we were staying (YWAM for those who forgot) did not have a single hit. And it was right in the middle of the action. In other words, God does things in the midst of trouble to still show that He is with us in all circumstances. And then we came home.

I'm still thinking about that experience. I'm expecting that it will change a lot of things in my life. It may yet contribute to completely changing the direction of my life. But something that's really important is that now the poor have a different face. It's not a face that you would see on a World Vision advertisement or any other organization similar to them. It's a face of hope in the middle of poor circumstances that strives for better without negatively surrendering your life. I now know who I am supporting when I give money to the organization down there. That is crucial to what I believe about the Kingdom of God.

So, now that I've experienced this, I can understand even more why some of the New Testament missionaries always went to some of the same places each time they went out from their home communities. They spent a lot of time building up the places they preached the Gospel to and strengthening the Church there. And so now in Mexico it's the same thing going on...sort of. My church, 24/7, is involved in supporting and sending teams to Mexico so that they can improve the lives of those who are in need and preach the good news to the poor. And hopefully, some of us will keep going back to build our relationships and strengthen the church there. And my hope is that no stupid gun shootout's going to stop us from doing the work of God. I strongly believe that.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you and may you love and obey Him knowing who He is.

Thanks for reading.

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