The typical day for Americans is full of noisy people that are in a hurried and panicked rush trying to fulfill their daily tasks that provide themselves with a life to their pleasing. What would happen to our precious lifestyles if one day we were to step out of our little bubbles and become exposed to the lives of others? This moment for me was in the summer of 2008, when I went on a mission trip with my church youth group to Mexico. It was a life changing experience that really put life in perspective for me. While visiting Mexico, my eyes were opened to life in a different culture, the children’s need for love and belonging, and how content and laid-back the people were with the little they had.
My youth group and I stayed with a missionary family, the Ruiz’s, and got a taste of the different customs in Mexico. It was such a change coming from the chaotic days at home running around and always having to be somewhere, to the relaxed mentality of the Ruiz family. God really spoke to all of us that He was in control and there was no need to be anxious. It was so refreshing to take things easy, allowing ourselves to enjoy and take in all the beautiful sites of Mexico that God laid before us. We went to the pyramids, and even though it hailed, the size of golf balls, that day, it was an amazing experience. Everyone there was so welcoming. We all grew very close with those we met there.
The greatest relationships I made were with the kids I spent time with at Vacation Bible School at a local church. The kids there were the cutest bundles of joy I had ever seen. All it took was for one to learn your name and the rest of the day all the little kids would be greeting you in Spanish, “¡Hola Jessie!” I would walk into a room and would be bombarded with hugs that I could barely keep my balance. It broke my heart to see how much these kids longed for our attention and love. Seeing the homes these kids lived in and hearing about the broken families they came from, really put it all in perspective of how much I wanted to devote myself into helping them.
Not only were these children lacking stable families, but the communities were so poor. They learned to get by with very little. Seeing this showed me how blessed we are back home. Even with the little they had, they were content and had thankful, positive attitudes. At home, we get upset and act as if the world is ending for such insignificant things when there are people in other parts of the world who suffer to greater extents than this. They are able to find the strength in the Lord to go on knowing that He is watching over them and will meet their needs.
During my youth group missions trip to Mexico, I was exposed to the different culture, the children’s need for love, and the people’s positive outlook on life with the little they had and it all had a significant effect on me. God used these circumstances to make me appreciate what truly is important in life. It is not about what you possess or what things you need to make you happy. We are on earth for such a short period of time, that we need to think of the impact we could have on the world and act on it.
- If you want to keep up with the Ruiz family and the Mitchells (another missionary family we spent time with in Mexico) see their family blog page: http://mexicomitchells.blogspot.com/
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