A trip I’ve taken as a teenager that has impacted my life greatly is actually a trip I’ve been on 4 times and plan on going on many more. The trip is to a place called Ciudad de Angeles in Cozumel, Mexico. First, let me clear up one issue I have with peoples’ opinion of this trip. When people hear “Cozumel”, they immediately think we are going on a vacation, because the first 5 blocks of the island closest to the ocean is a tourism area, made to look like paradise. Once one goes past the town square, they get to the real Cozumel. This is where our mission team spends most of its time.
QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Ciudad de Angeles is an orphanage in Cozumel. It is not your typical orphanage, however. These kids have been deemed unadoptable by the Mexican Government. Some of these children still have blood relatives alive, but yet they are not willing to take the children. The Mexican Government wants them kept on the island, raised to be model citizens in hopes that it will have the ripple effect in the community. These children must fit a special profile to be brought to the campus to live. These kids stay there until they are 18 and can represent themselves. They can stay longer if they are willing to work for the organization. One of the teenage girls is actually training to become a house mom on the campus. The kids are paid for by sponsor families, which my family is one of. Again, not your average sponsor situation because to sponsor an angel, you must be able to come see them at least once a year and build a relationship with them. It’s a pretty awesome way for the kids to grow up.
When we go to the campus we have many things to accomplish. We go there knowing we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I conducted a devotional for the kids this year. I selected Philippians 4:13 as my topic. It was amazing to share my thoughts and to hear their thoughts on this verse. Our group splits up, usually by gender, for the other task at hand. The guys go do physical labor (serious labor; not easy stuff) and the girls do ESL (English Second Language) classes for the kids so that they can learn English. If they learn English, it is a huge advantage because more jobs are opened to them. Our work crew is known by everyone involved with Ciudad as the hardest working crew that comes down there. Last year (2011), we accomplished what the directors thought was going to take two more groups to do. This year, we actually split our crew up and accomplished three tasks, all essential to the angels. This was accomplished through hard work and dedication to the kids.
These kids, these angels are amazing. The joy they have and contentment with what they have is absolutely unbelievable. These kids have been through unspeakable things, yet they are happy and full of joy. They share everything with others they live with, some blood siblings, others are siblings by circumstance, and complain not. I realize how happy they are and they don’t even have half of what I have. Every year that I take this trip it is a great reminder of how blessed I really am. It is my intention to bless them, to touch their lives in a positive way while I am there. However, I feel that it is I who leaves more blessed.
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