Travel to me; going two hours away from home, seeing my grandparents and returning the next day. Living in Washington, the most extensive trips I’ve taken with my family have been right next door to Oregon. Even those are far and few between. I don’t know if the common theme of my expeditions has been thoroughly communicated, so let me elaborate. I didn’t go anywhere without my family, and when I did, it wasn’t very far away. Spending the night at the next door neighbor’s house; not an option. Yes, I am aware that I was 16, and that “sleepovers” are something all normal girls of such age do any chore to participate in. No matter, it just wasn’t in my comfort zone. So why did I decide to volunteer to go on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico? If not in a state of sleep depravation, I may have remembered, I wasn’t a “Christian”, and spending spring break with my boyfriend would be more “fun”, and that… showering is something I LOVE, and wouldn’t happen if I went to Mexico. Anyhow, something got into me, and the next part is even better. My parents said yes. Thank God they decided to come with me, because if not, I really would have been in deep trouble.
The trip itself is a blur. Incidentally, playing twister in my sleep, due to two and half 15 hour days spent in a church van led me into my adventure. Arriving in California at the end of the first day, we camped out at some random church. Two hours settled into a numb slumber, none less than the burglar alarm went off. Day two here we come. Drool, sticky flesh, greasy hair loaded back into church van… destination: Mexico.
Driving through Tijuana was jaw dropping. I’ve only ever seen a fridge come out of a cardboard box the size I saw these people living in. I was here to serve these people. Build them a “real” house; a two room structure with no interior walls, no bathroom, and no electricity. Such a small thing to any average American, but an un-imaginable gift to a family living in Tijuana. The next five days of the trip were spent constructing a house with no electric tools. Have you ever built a house with a group of kids your age? Talk about interesting. Impossible actually. Not with this “God” guy they always talked about, prayed to, and worshipped. I wanted what they had. The drive to serve God, to show others his love. At the end of the week I had slept in a tent on really hard ground, ate food I’ve never heard about before, ruined my hair with concrete mix, painted all my clothes the ugliest beige I’ve ever seen, made great new friends, and fell in love with Jesus Christ. Oh did I mention my dad broke his leg too? Oh and I threw up from dehydration. Oh yes, and lice was looming in our camp. But I found God, better yet He finally got my attention.
Afraid of traveling? So was I. Afraid of being alone? So was I. Rather spend your time with your boyfriend watching movies, then spending a week helping the helpless? So did I. Experiencing the world around you changes you, shapes you. Take a leap outside your norm. Taste new foods, meet new people, see things you’ve NEVER seen before, be open. You only live once. Don’t stay at your house watching the travel channel. Nothing is like going out into the world for yourself.
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