Thursday, March 17, 2011

South Of The Border

Every year during spring break teens and adults from our church youth group go to Mexico.  They stay in a plush hotel.  They spend their days playing in the ocean and laying around on the sand working on their tans.  They eat out every meal and stay up late playing video games and chatting on their cell phones.

What?  They don’t? 


I know what they do down in Mexico, because I’ve been four times.  Let me just say they do NONE of the above.  They do the exact opposite.

It’s very hard to describe the relationship our church has with the believers we work with in Mexico.  We live in different cultures, we speak different languages, we have very different climates.   But we are the same.  We have the same goals.  We are family because we share the same blood.  The precious blood of Jesus.

Our teens teach Vacation Bible School in several area churches. The Mexican teens help with games, crafts, crowd control (essential, trust me!) and translating.  Language needs to be translated but there is no need to translate the love…in either direction.

A construction team goes to Mexico, too.  They accomplish impossible tasks in a short period of time.  Our teens spend part of their days working on the building project.  One year we built a house.  A WHOLE house.  I loved that project because I dearly love the woman it was built for.  She has been a beautiful example of selflessness over the years. 

Just thinking about her makes me want to hug her.

The Mexican believers host us in their homes.  We provide food for the week, but it is nothing compared to what they provide.  They sacrifice much for our comfort.

Know what else we do together?  We have FUN.

I celebrated my birthday in Mexico one year and my host family bought a cake.  They didn't speak English and I didn't speak Spanish, but they let me know it was a Mexican tradition for the birthday girl to put her face in the cake.  I didn’t want to put my face in the cake, but I had no choice.  My host dad did it for me.

I thought I was cool for participating in a traditional custom.  A few years later I was told by a trusted source that the custom doesn’t exist.

Just thinking about it makes me want to slug him. Wait!  I mean hug him.

My son has been to Mexico five times, and has always stayed with the same family.  When in Mexico, I don’t share him.  He belongs to them.

Watching him say goodbye his senior year was a heartbreaking thing.

During the trip home, my son voiced aloud how much he wished his Mexican family could attend his graduation.  That wish went from his lips to God’s ears and miraculously came true.  Generous friends in Alaska gave airline miles and his Mexican dad sacrificed a week’s wages so he and his daughter could watch my son graduate.  It was supernatural international love.

I look forward to the day we will all be in Heaven, living on the same street, sharing the same culture and able to understand each other without a translator.  But right now, I miss them.  I need to go next year.

I’ve got some family to hug.

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