Tanguma, Mexico - My Family Travels

Going on a mission trip doesn’t seem like a great vacation, and in a sense it’s not, but it is definitely something everyone can benefit from. People take vacations to be surrounded by a different atmosphere than what they are used to in their day to day lives. They go to get away from their hectic schedules and the monotony their life has turned into. Going to Mexico for the past 5 years with my church has provided me with that escape and so much more. My church youth group takes mission trips through an organization called Initiatives International (visit http://www.initiativesinternational.org/ for more information). Initiatives organizes short term mission trips for various groups to many places around the world. They take care of everything for you including providing translators, and organizing host families.

This past summer I went with a group of 7 students and adults to Tanguma, Mexico, a tiny rural town about 80 miles outside Monterrey. We stayed for a week with the Sanchez’s, our host family. Ruben Sanchez is the pastor of four churches. Veronica, his wife, works tirelessly to take care of their 4 children and 7 foster kids. We stayed and worked at Lugar de Gracia (which means place of grace), one of their churches on the property where they live.

When we first arrived we got to attend one of their church services. It was neat to experience since it was so different than what I am used to. Their church is only one room, without air conditioning. For music, the pastor played his iPod and people sang along with lyric packets that were passed out. They sang so passionately; it was amazing to see how they worshipped.

During the week, our team worked on various projects. We cleared away debris from around Ruben’s shed and sorted them into piles he could use later. Then we disassembled a wire chicken coop. Later in the week we took apart a little shed and cleaned the area it was in and mixed concrete to create a cobblestone walkway. We also dug a trench where we built a foundation for a cinder block fence that we later plastered and painted. It was hard work, especially in the heat, which reached over 120 degrees, but it was amazing helping out our host family.

A highlight of our trip was when after working everyday, before dinner, we would walk next door to the store (actually a family’s house made out of sticks and mud) and buy Joyas (a delicious type of Mexican fruit soda) or Cokes and sit on plastic lawn chairs outside the store sipping our cold beverages and talking. It was such a treat to swallow cold fruity sweetness after a long day of work and being in the heat.

I am glad I got to go to Mexico and view a different way of life than what we know. The Mexican people focus on family and events, instead of focusing on schedules and things, like most Americans do. It is refreshing to gain another culture’s perspective on what living life looks like. This trip definitely gave me a vacation from my busy life and helped me to appreciate the people in my life, and the things I have. The Sanchez’s were immensely generous to our team. Their family lives on so little yet has such loving hearts. They know how to be content where they are, with what they have. Everyone will learn something by going on a mission trip. Whether it’s about another culture, or themselves, they will see life in a different light.

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