Saturday, August 30, 2008

my mexico trip thoughts

I thought I would share the "essay" that I wrote when we returned from our Mexico trip last summer. I'm not a writer, but I wanted to put my thoughts on paper so that I could always be reminded of what I learned from that trip.

When our Life Group decided to “Go” on a mission trip to Mexico I was really excited for them, but I knew that there was no way that my family could go.

I mean, realistically, there was no way I could take our 5, 3, and 1 year old on a 4 day mission trip to Mexico to build houses- they were way too young and there were way too many of them. Nobody takes a 1 year old who runs all over the place to go build houses. And, we’re already in “full time” ministry. We pack everything up and go work at a camp for high school kids for a month every summer. That’s our “Go” trip. And, even more so, the dates that our life group picked just didn’t work for us. We had a trip back to the east coast planned to see all of our family and friends that we left behind when we moved out to California to do ministry. We rarely get to see them all and we missed them a lot. And, there was no way that we could afford the cost of 5 people going on a mission trip. We could ask for support, but we do that enough with our ministry. We couldn’t ask people to give more to us. Seriously, we could not go on this trip.

Then I began remembering a passion that once defined my life. I got a degree in Human Services because I had a huge burden for those in need- I wanted to spend my life helping others. I worked at a preschool for low income kids and a camp for homeless children. I absolutely loved it. But, that was before I had 3 kids in 4 years. Things had definitely changed and taking care of my kids had become my life. I didn’t feel that it left much room for my passion to help others anymore.

Slowly, God began convicting my heart and one day I said to my husband, “This may sound crazy, but I really feel that we need to find a way to make the Mexico trip happen.” His reply- “I’ve been feeling the same way.” So, we packed up the kids and went to Mexico to build houses. We set up the portable crib in our loft house with no electricity. We shuffled the kids back and forth between our loft house and the outhouses in the middle of the night when they had to go. The kids got dirtier then I have ever seen them and they loved every minute of it. I can’t say that I had anything to do with the actual building of the houses, but I can say that my husband and 2 older kids did. And I can say that my 1 year old and I made a lot of Mexican friends!

As my husband and I were driving home from Mexico we started talking about what we got out of the trip. We couldn’t really come up with anything “life changing” for us. Three houses were built for families who never had a place to call their own. Our kids had a blast and wanted to move to Mexico. We made some new friends. But it definitely wasn’t a life changing experience for us. After a few weeks of thinking about it, I realized what the trip was about for us. It was about obedience. We had gone where God had called us to go. We had obeyed God’s command in the scriptures to love and remember the poor. Proverbs 31:8-9 says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” This is what Jesus’ life was all about.

As we got home and everyone congratulated us on having the “courage” to take 3 kids on a Mexico mission trip, all that I could think is, “We didn’t do enough.” I realized that having children isn’t a hindrance to my calling and passion to serve others, but an opportunity to involve three more people in that call. Honestly, I don’t want our kids to think that it’s a big deal to go to Mexico to build houses for poor people. I just want serving others, no matter what the circumstances or obstacles, to be a part of who we are as a family because it is who we are as followers of Jesus. This is just the beginning for our family of a lifelong giving away of ourselves in the name of Jesus.

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