Everyday life is jam packed with emotions we feel, whether good or bad. Each event that takes place in our lives leads us to feel something. Given the opportunity to travel to another country for the first time, these emotions were intensified to the extreme.
When I was given the opportunity to go on my first missions trip, the first emotion that entered my mind was fear. Being one who’s never been out of the country, my mind raced with imagining thoughts of the unknown. What if the plane crashes? What if I lose all my luggage? What if I get lost in Mexico? Obviously, these thoughts were taken to a dramatic level, but they were exactly what was going through my mind.
Because the trip came about at such short notice, I began to feel anxiety about having time to get all the necessities for the trip accomplished. Making sure I had all the supplies as well as getting the shots necessary for a trip to Mexico became a difficult task I wasn’t certain I could complete in time. However, as I drew closer to the deadline, I began to see God work miracles in order for this to happen. Not only was I given this amazing opportunity, God also opened doors to make it possible.
Just a few days before the trip, I still had not gotten my shots. I had tried several places that I assumed could get the job done quickly, however, my attempts failed. In a last ditch effort, I went and visited my doctor’s office. Here, a friend of the family did me a huge favor and gave me all three shots without an appointment. Praise God, my anxiety was relieved, for the moment.
After crossing the bridge of fear and anxiety, I finally came to the point of excitement. The day of the trip, all my negative emotions disappeared with the realization that I was actually getting to leave the country and go to Mexico. Coming from a family whose members love to go on mission trips, I’ve heard plenty of stories of how life changing they can be. It was my turn-my time to see the amazing things that God can do in the life of someone who is willing to take a step of faith for Him and in the lives of the orphans who would be affected.
Although flying can raise thoughts of fear for me, I was pretty amazed to discover that the trip from Knoxville to Monterrey would only be about three hours of fly time. The unfortunate side of flying however, are the delays and waiting time. After the short 30 minute flight from Knoxville to Atlanta we had a long six hour delay for the trip to Monterrey. This was exhausting but was worth what the coming week would bring to my life.
One of the most intimidating and overwhelming feelings was waiting to meet the kids of the orphanage for the first time. As I sat on the bus staring out the window anxiously awaiting my first glimpse, I knew I was right in the middle of God’s will for my life at that moment. The whole mission of this trip was to show these kids that they are loved and cared for. But in the midst of my excited emotions and the realization that I was there for a divinely ordained purpose, fear began to creep in. Because I could not speak the language, I was scared that I would not be able to convey the love that Christ had already put in my heart for these children. But once again God showed me I could trust Him to take care of the things I lack. When we arrived, not only were the children open to being loved on in non verbal ways, through simple games and doing crafts, but I was also able to remember just enough Spanish in order to ask them their names.
It was amazing for me to see how happy each child seemed to be even in the midst of their difficult situations. Something as simple as making loom bracelets kept the children entertained for what felt like hours. What touched my heart the most was making bracelets one right after another for a little girl who wanted to collect as many as she could. Even though the bands used to make the bracelets began to turn my fingers purple, I wouldn’t have stopped making those bracelets for anything.
Sore fingers weren’t the only physical strain I would endure on this trip. Because the orphanage was in a stage of growth and making more room for the kids, there was much work that needed to be done. There was shoveling, painting, moving materials, and building picnic tables that my team took on for the week. Each one of these jobs left me exhausted by the end of the day, but I never felt the urge to complain or give up. Neither did a single one of the other team members. Each day of the week God blessed me through the people I worked alongside. They not only got the job done but also did it to the best of their ability with an amazing attitude. A smile will always come to my face when I remember the day we had to move cinder blocks to the roof. They were big and heavy, and there were many. However, the team came together, formed an assembly line, and got the job done all while singing, laughing, and enjoying it.
One of the most eye-opening experiences I encountered during the trip was the day we went and visited Cadereyta. Cadereyta is an impoverished village in Monterrey. Here, I was overwhelmed by the poverty that bound the people of this little village. Not only were they extremely poor, they had no escape from the poverty in which they were in. Each place we walked past was a reminder of how blessed I am and of how many things I possess that I don’t need. This was the best reminder of how grateful I am to live in a country of abundant opportunity. So many times as Americans, we can overlook the tremendous abundance that is right in our back yards. After this experience, I told myself I would take the time to remember Cadereyta and reflect on how blessed I am.
After a week of hard work at the orphanage, the team was looking forward to a relaxing day of taking the kids of the orphanage on a field trip. Little did we know that this “relaxing day” would turn into one of the most strenuous hikes I have ever been on. This hike was straight up a mountain where we had to climb rocks and cross over wide gaps. What amazed me the most about this day was how well the kids handled this difficult task. Not one of them ever complained about its difficulty or whined about the heat. For those of us who pushed through and made it to the top, we were met with a little waterfalls tucked away in the woods. Here the kids were overflowing with joy as they swam in the freezing cold water in their jeans. Although this day didn’t turn out how we expected it to, it was a great last day spent with these kids.
The day of returning home was filled with mixed emotions. I was so excited to be back home with my family, to sleep in my cool and comfy bed, and to be able to get some rest after such an exhausting week. But at the same time, I was heartbroken to leave this place that I had come to love. Not only had I fallen in love with the precious orphans of Monterrey but I had also grown close with the team. Never would I have imagined that spending just one week with a group of people would be so impactful in my life. It was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to go out on missions for God, and I would highly recommend it to all, no matter what fears one might have. God is mighty enough to handle and take care of anything that we lack in ourselves.