Every year, I participate in an annual Mexico Short-Term Mission team with my church youth group. Last year was the first time my brother and I decided to travel with the team to Puerto Pensasco, Mexico. On a Saturday morning, the first day of our Spring Break, I got up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for the trip. Our church rented a big, yellow school bus which looked like a typical, old bus on the exterior. The inside, however, was no ordinary bus – all the seats were replaced with donated couches and armchairs. The windows were draped with homemade curtains and a plastic bag was hanging down from the ceiling to cover the cracks and holes.
After a four and a half hour ride, we finally arrived at a small house at the outskirts of a remote village. Right when we got off the bus, our team went straight to work. We unloaded all our luggage and supplies that were brought down from Phoenix. The mission statement was to offer medical and dental services in addition to construction projects to less-fortunate people. While some people helped set up the medical clinic, others went outside to mingle and play with the local kids that came out to see what we were doing.
Throughout the day, the team established various workshops for the local children to attend and to have fun. We taught the kids to make origami, write Chinese words, and learn new games. Giving them the smallest gifts brought joy and happiness in their faces. I realized that showing a simple act of kindness can have a significant impact in the lives of others. In the late afternoons, we evangelized to the community by performing in musical groups. At the end of the day, we were able to spend quality time with some individuals to truly understand and comprehend their lives. Even though some team members did not speak Spanish, the locals were very gracious and thankful for even having people listen to their pains and aches. The night before I left Mexico, I even had the chance to live in a local’s house. I experienced their living conditions, which shed a light into the many aspects in my life that I take for granted.
Although the trip was scheduled and meticulously planned for each day’s activities, our team learned that because we were in unfamiliar surroundings, we had to be flexible with our schedules. The entire mission in Mexico broadened my world perspective in life. I was able to understand the struggles that the poor had to endure each day and the love they poured down on us. I now believe that compassion is the best gift of life.
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