40 Years of Mexico Outreach!
March 27th marked the beginning of the 40th year of the APU Mexico Outreach, as well as the launch of my first mission trip with my wife and baby in the womb!
It really was a life changing experience for me and hopefully for the adults and children in the village of Mexicali that we ministered to.
The long drive down was great because it allowed us in the “Smurf Mobile” to connect on a deeper level before we got to our campsite. I would imagine that Jesus had a lot of His intimate talks with the disciples while walking from town to town…just a thought. We also got to see healing after we prayed for one of our drivers who had gotten a mouth infection and for one of our leaders who had back pain! What a great way to start the trip.
We were the second team to arrive at the big open dirt field. It was pretty much empty. So we parked the 5th wheel and started unloading and setting up. There were 6 tents up and a big tent of meeting…to meet in 🙂 After the tents were up, the spit hole dug, and the chairs out, we were all settled in and ready for an adventure. We had arrived a day earlier than most teams so it was nice to settle in and prepare our hearts for the next 5 days. After eating and some fellowship we all quietly slipped into our sleeping bags and fell asleep.
The first morning (Saturday) wasn’t like the rest of the week because we got to sleep a little longer (well as long as you can sleep through roosters crowing) and hang out. By the end of the day the empty dirt field turned into “tent city”.
Sunday: It was official; the music was blaring at 6:30am followed with a big greeting, “GOOD MORNING CUERNAVACA!!!” We rolled outta our tents and made it in time for breakfast and ate fast so we could get to chapel. We started each morning this way for the rest of the week. It is always good to start off each day with worship and a message, plus it was powerful to be with 1,000 plus other members going after Jesus.
Once the message ended, our team gathered and loaded up to head to the church in the village. When our four vehicles pulled up, the kids swarmed each car! It was so awesome to be greeted with big smiles and wide eyes! There was a lot of excitement in the hard dirt parking lot. Most of the team that had been there in previous years were looking for the kids that they remembered most…as for us newbies, well there were plenty of kids to love on. We said our “hola’s” and played around until the morning service started. The church building was not very big and had plastic chairs to sit in. Pastor Eduardo and the rest of the church family were all smiles. We were asked to lead worship and had one of our team members share a message. It was a day of great unity. After church we headed over to the pastors house and had AMAZING TACOS and played with all 30-40 of the kids out in the street. It was a blast. Then back to the church for some more worship and preaching from Pastor Eduardo! Some of us got to share our testimonies and the Holy Spirit was moving all through out the body in Freedom! After a full day and night we drove back to the site, ate, and fell fast asleep.
Monday: We started Vacation Bible School! It was a blast to share scriptures, act out a skit, make some fun crafts, and enjoy a snack with them! Monday’s theme was LOVE, Tuesday was NEW LIFE, Wednesday was LIGHT, and or last day was JOY! When V.B.S. would end, we would have lunch as a team and then go back to the village to play with all the kids. We would spend hours spinning kids in circles, giving them piggy back rides, playing games, and just blessing them in any way we could. Monday night the pastor’s family got to come back to our campground to have dinner and chapel with us, it was good to get to know them in that setting.
Tuesday: After VBS it was our community work day! This was a great time of blessing the school in the village with a makeover. We bought some bright colors of paint and uprooted the old tires out in the playground. We were able to replace the old tires with some better ones that were found in the nearby ditch. Once we replaced the old tires with the “new”, we decked them out in some bright fresh paint!
Wednesday: After VBS and playing in the village we went back to the church for an evening service. The worship team was off the hook and the lead singer would switch the song verses from English to Spanish very well. One of our team members, Travis, actually saw the cloud of the Holy Spirit come down from the ceiling and through the walls; filling the entire church building! The entire evening was full of freedom and love!
Thursday: This was not an easy day for our team! We all knew that at the end of the day we had to say goodbye to these kids that had stolen our hearts! But we poured out all we had left at VBS and playing under the hot sun out in the dirt street. Of course we still had enough energy and even more love when it came to the fiesta! We set up games, had face painting, and tons of candy to hand out…it was a blast!!! Then we all went back to pastors house and they made some delicious chicken with rice, beans, and potato wedges; so tasty! It was one big happy family enjoying each others company over a nice home cooked meal. We all gave our last drop when it came to playing with the kids. After exchanging presents, hugs, laughter, tears, and final goodbyes; the amazing night came to an end.
The pictures and memories will always be there to look back on and whether I make it back there or not (I pray that I do), they will always be in my heart! The impact that the kids and families had on me will last a lifetime!
(Me and my five year old friend, Criston)
Thanks for reading!
p.s. here are some links to my picture albums: