I would love to tell you a little bit about my service trip to Mexicali, Mexico.
Every year, my church (Menlo Church) hosts a trip to Mexicali, a city right across the border. Menlo has been taking High School students on this trip for thirty three years now, and hopefully for many more years to come.
This year was my second year coming to Mexicali, and I can already tell that it will become a yearly trip for me (hopefully even after High School). The relationships formed, the love I witnessed, and the closeness I got to God are all such incredible things to experience.
Many times, it’s easy to think of mission trips as foreigners coming to a less fortunate place to help the people there. That’s fair, but not even half of the whole picture. From being apart of the Mexicali trip, I know that my participation did more service for me than I could ever give to another person.
I learned so many things, I loved so many things, and I saw God through so many people in Mexicali.
My favorite part of the whole trip would have to be getting to play with all of the children.
In the village that I was assigned to (Nuevo León), there weren’t that many kids there on the first day. We unpacked our vans, and stood in front of the Nuevo León church with slight disappointment.
“Where were all of the kids? ” we thought.
Our concerns vanished when about fifteen children showed up at the church the next day, all of them excited to see us. It was one big reunion. Many of us from Menlo Church had formed relationships with kids from last year’s trip, and seeing each other again was so overwhelmingly joyful.
A girl named Lucy, who has gone on the Mexicali trip for the past four years, was able to reunite with her close friend named Abby (7 yrs. old). When they saw each other for the first time in a year, they ran to each other for a long-emotional embrace.
I particularly bonded with an eight year old boy named Davíd from my last trip, and I really hoped to see him again this trip. My wish was granted. When we were at the yearly BBQ where all of the different villages come together, I was eating my veggie burger, and I saw Davíd just a few feet away from me! A jolt of excitement flooded my body, and I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Davíd!”
I ran over to him, and something inside of me was sure that he remembered me. My gut feeling was confirmed with his eyes lit up and he timidly came to give me a big hug. That’s a moment I’ll never forget.
I was so happy to see that he was okay, and I was so happy to see his kind face. It was like no time had passed, and we were meeting once again.
The connections that I formed on this trip are set apart from any others that I have experienced. They are so sincere, loving, and good. Not to say that I don’t have great relationships back home, but in Mexicali, it seems like it’s an ongoing frenzy of love for one another.
I think that the main reason for this is because we are all coming together in God’s name. Every high five, every smile, every word shared with one another were praises to God.
I’d like to carry that mindset into every relationship that I have. Back home, It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the everyday stresses, and forget about all of the goals and lessons you have learned.
The day I got back home, I already started having anxieties and moments where I felt far from God. Although this will happen at times, I’d like to constantly keep reminding myself of the “me” in Mexicali.
The true test is if you can continue the great things you’ve learned back at home.
Another amazing highlight of my trip was hearing and sharing testimonies. All of the testimonies were so incredible, and it was interesting to learn how God has intervened and worked through so many people’s hearts, including mine. I learned more about so many different people, and their story really grew my respect for them.
Not quite as good as the amazing testimonies, but close, were the tacos. As many of you probably know, Mexico is home to the Taco, and it does it great justice. Just a few blocks from the Nuevo León church, there’s a taco place called Homey’s. It’s the best place you’re ever going to get an authentic taco. For all those living in the Bay Area, my recommendation would be to take a bus down to San Diego, drive a rental car across the border, and stop for a nice lunch at Homey’s. It’s worth it.
I’m going to leave you with one last memory from my trip. As I was helping to make Empanadas with some other girls from Menlo as well as a few from Nuevo León, I took a break and walked outside to see what everyone was up to.
The sight was so beautiful. There were kids flying up and down non simultaneously on swings, giggling and having the time of their lives, while others weaved around them trying not to get hit while playing chase. People from Menlo were scattered among them, smiling with joy.
These are the moments where you think, “Wow, this is truly a gift from God.”
Although the trip has come to an end, I will always cherish the many memories made and the people I met. I come out of the trip with so much to be happy about, and I have learned more about who I want to be.
I’m so thankful for all of the people who made this trip possible, and I’m thankful for the people of Mexicali, always opening their arms out to our Church.
Nuevo León and Menlo Church
Lucy and Abby Reunite
Blowing bubbles @ the BBQ
So we got a lot of tacos…155 exactly.
All group: Menlo Church
Me & Davíd
Photos in courtesy of Kat and and many more!