A year ago, I went on a missions trip to Guanajuato, Mexico. At first, when the trip was announced, I didn’t really want to go. I had never been out of the country before, and for some reason, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the whole idea. Looking back, I don’t really know why I considered not going, even for a second. It turned out to be one of the best weeks of my life.
After flying to Texas and then to Mexico, we pulled into where we were staying, which was a shelter run by Mission to the World. Our job throughout the week was to do construction in the morning and Vacation Bible School in the afternoons. The evenings, for the most part, we would have to ourselves. Our construction work involved painting the floors, ceilings and outsides of a building that would later be used for team housing and playrooms for the children in the community. The guys also began work on laying the foundation for new bathrooms. We accomplished a lot that week. We finished all the painting and much of the bathrooms. I learned to work with a large group and developed a great work ethic. There was no time for slacking or whining, we had a job to do and we were going to get it finished.
In the afternoons we led a vacation bible school for the community children. The roughest thing about it was the fact that very few of us on the team spoke Spanish. It was tough not being able to really speak to the kids. We learned to communicate through signs and smiles. The kids were so warm and so cute that it was almost impossible not to instantly love them. I learned that just because you don’t speak someone’s language, doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate or be friends with each other. These kids were so open to us that it didn’t matter that we didn’t speak the same language. There was a guy from Mission to the World that translated the lessons from English to Spanish. It was interesting to watch the children’s faces as the adults spoke English. They looked like they were trying to comprehend, but then they would smile as the translator put things into their language. On the last day, we were all sad to say goodbye.
I learned the most from the team meetings we had at night and the individual challenges we had through the day. Each team member got a special challenge. I personally, got the one that was best suited for me, even though I didn’t like it at the time. I had to pray with five people, encourage five people, and spend an hour blindfolded. I didn’t have a problem praying with people or encouraging them, the problem came when I had to spend my hour blindfolded. I hate not being able to see, and I really had to trust my guide. It was really difficult for me, because I like to be self-sufficient. I learned to trust my guide and that I don’t have to do everything by myself. Sometimes it’s good to accept that you have a weakness and let people help you. I also learned how to be open with the people around me. I learned to trust the group with my problems, struggles and failures as a person, and they did the same with me. By the time the week was over, we were all a lot closer, and I had made a lot of great new friends.
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