Spring break of 2008 I was lucky enough to go on my first missionary trip with my church. It was so much more than I expected it to be, and was just a great overall experience. I got to meet plenty of new people both old and young and of different cultures. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world because I learned a lot just in that short period of a week.
I went with the church I normally went with, but we also joined another church from a different city. They were all older than I was at the time, but they were still extremely welcoming. When we got there we were welcomed by these people that stayed at the same base that we stayed at. They were amazing and kind and cooked us meals. But during our stay we mainly focused on helping this one area of town where everyone basically lived in shacks. It was depressing to see that people, and especially children, could live in such wreck. Another sad factor was that there were at least 4 or 5 kids per household! Some days we gave out bibles to them, some days clothes, and some days food. They were appreciative of all, but I still felt terrible. For 2 days we also held a little show for the children. We sang songs with them in English and in Spanish. We prepared little skits in Spanish and did animal balloons and more. They absolutely loved it.
Another thing we did while my group was in Mexico was visit orphanages. The workers there explained to us that there are rarely people that visit, so they were so excited to see our faces. We played with them at the park and we ate some snacks. Just those few hours made them as happy as they have been in apparently some time. Another day we went to another orphanage, but this one was different. We found out that this orphanage was full of children with cerebral palsy. We also got explained that no one ever visits them as well, and of course that made me feel terrible. While I was there i got really attached to this one girl that really seemed to love me. It was absolutely heartbreaking to have to leave, but I guess it was something that had to be done.
After a week of seeing some upsetting things, we went on a day out. We were able to go site seeing like no other. We went to museums, boat rides and go to the market. While I was at the market i certainly had an interesting experience. There was a golden man that moves and acts like a robot, only when you give him money. Therefore, my friend Logan gave him some money and he started moving around and it was a lot of fun. Then he reached in his pocket to give Logan a sucker when all of a sudden...he stopped. So being a kind person, i went and found some money and gave it to the man so Logan could receive his sucker. After he got it, the golden man waved at me to come over. When I walked over our whole group came over to come see and watch what he was going to do. When I came over he reached in his pocket and pulled out a golden rose. My whole group cried out "Awww!" Then afterwards he pointed to his cheek expecting a kiss. I immediately freaked out and said "no way!" but the rest of my group told me to. So I went over and leaned to give him a kiss on the cheek, when he turned his head. Now, this man looked about to be late 30's or so, and he turned his head in the exact right time so I end up giving him a smooch. A real smooch. I was mortified, and my whole group cried out in laughter.
Then on our way home we decided to stop by at Six Flags amusement park. Of course that was fun for a bunch of teenagers! So that was a great time, we were there basically all day. Then on the rest of our ride home, it was amazing to reflect on how the trip first started. At first, we barely knew anyone from the other church, and by the end of it we all looked like we've known each other for years. We were able to see how fortunate we are, that we don't have to live in terrible poverty. I was also able to realize what an effect someone could make on some ones life, just from spending some time or volunteering. In the end, the trip meant a lot to me. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
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