As the shore approached, I reflected on the reason of my being here in Mexico. A group of 11 from my home church of House on the Rock had gathered with the shared goal of spreading God’s love on foreign soil. We had been received by two missionaries who had been settled there for quite some time and were ready to take us on as their new apprentices. Our group had already distributed small shoe boxes full of Christmas gifts to a few established churches while playing with the kids that had traveled from across the area just to participate and enjoy a day full of food, fun, and laughter!
Pulled back to the present, I look across the Gulf of Mexico as our boat sped us across the stormy waters toward an established church in La Bara that everyone called the “Beach Church.” We are dragged onto land and we immediately stepped off to discover this tiny little town we were brought to. The residents were surprised to see us because they were told we weren’t to arrive until later that afternoon but that didn’t stop them from extending hospitality to a group of people they had never met and to make them feel at home with timid smiles and gestures.
The people gathered were curious but too shy to try and communicate with us and the children even more so! We stood awkwardly trying to hold conversation with the tiny kids trying to remember words from spanish class that were slowly returning as the days went by. Then, a friend of mine pulled out her camera to take a picture of a group of kids. They were confused and were immediately interested in what this heavy piece of plastic could do. She showed them the picture to seek their approval. They bursted out laughing! Talking to each other about, what we guessed, was how funny their friends looked! Soon they all wanted their picture taken! Dragging my friend and I everywhere to take pictures of everything and everyone. A little girl named Rosa stuck with me. She was a sweet girl who let everyone take pictures and finally got a picture with some of her friends and later asked me to take a picture with her. Her innocence and joy at seeing her pictures made me want to never leave and to get to know her individually. I wanted to see her grow up and learn the love of God.
The shoeboxes finally arrived and the chaos set in. We passed them out, one by one, until there was nothing left. The boxes had been distributed and candy passed out to adults and children alike.
I felt peaceful in their presence and a sense of love even though we couldn’t speak to each other. They welcomed me with open arms into their homes and fed me even though they may not have been able to feed themselves. Looking out across the mass of adults and kids, I felt them emanate a since of happiness and love. I traveled all the way to Mexico to help change the lives of others less fortunate though in fact they changed mine.
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