I know that it is something of a Christian cliché to say that you received far more than you gave on a missions trip… but it’s so true. My church helps to support a Children’s Home in Mexico, and at least once a year they organize a short missions trip there. This year, we made two trips, and I was fortunate enough to participate in both.
The first time I came to Casa Hogar Benito Juarez in Reynosa, MX was this past June. It was just a couple of weeks after my father passed away. We left for Mexico on Father’s Day… and that was one of the reasons why I went. I just couldn’t imagine facing that day alone. Selfish motivations? Absolutely. But I wasn’t auditioning for sainthood.
I didn’t speak much Spanish, and the kids didn’t speak much (if any) English. Yet, even though they couldn’t always understand us, those kids trusted us implicitly and loved us. The gift I received from that trip was an invitation to trust God and love Him even when I couldn’t understand Him. That’s a lesson I’ve thought about many times in the six months since then.
Now I’m back in Mexico for another short missions trip. This time, we’ve come to deliver Christmas gifts that we collected from members of our church. We’ll be doing that later on today, and I can’t wait to see the looks on the kids’ faces, but I know I’ve already received my gift. There are things I take for granted back in the states (like a little privacy, hot water, and Internet access) that you can’t count on in Mexico. I knew that I’d probably be doing without those things this week. Yet… God (& Pastor Nathan!) worked it out so that I have all of those luxuries here… and I’m extremely grateful.
This trip has helped remind me that even the smallest things in my life are truly gifts… far better than the trinkets and smores and clothes and toys and everything else that we’ll be passing out to the kids today. And that realization itself is a great and wonderful gift.