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I have finally had the opportunity to download my pictures from my first mission’s trip, a little over a month ago. Actually, I’ve had them downloaded for awhile but wanted to be able to take the time, as customary for me, to caption them & share the story. So thank you for listening & viewing.
As I mentioned in a previous email, I never thought I’d be able to do anything like this due to the time & financial commitment. I became aware of Weekend Missions through my church, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Chandler, Az. So, I prayed about it & made up my mind that I was going on this trip in June.
It was humbling to say the least. I have said, thought & pondered over & over again how simplistic their lives are down there. By our standards, they live in poverty & go without much. However, the smiles on their faces are authentic. They are heartfelt, appreciative, loving & open people. I don’t know if I can say that of most Americans who have houses 10 times the size of theirs, cars for getting around (instead of feet for hoovin’ it), jobs, friends, schools, churches to openly worship. The difference from my life to their lives is drastic in comparison.
Specifics you may desire to know:
We left Cornerstone on Friday morning, June 5th at 9:00am. I took the day off of work & the kiddos were with their dad for the weekend. They knew I was going on a mission’s trip to Mexico. Abby prayed for me before I left. Tyler, well, you know Tyler –he is your typical 12 ½ yr old boy ---“see ya Sunday mom!” I love him & his nonchalant attitude. Really, I do. He is a ray of sunshine in this “a-type” personality of mine.
We headed out & it was a nice trip down. Most of the folks in our van were from Cornerstone but I didn’t know them all. We had two add-ons, Kari from Mountain Park Church & Jami Eller from what church? I don’t know but she was from KENTUCKY. Spends the summers here in AZ with her mom (eh? Coming to the desert for the summer & leaving behind the rolling hills of Kentucky? Um, I don’t get that one but it has GOT to be a Mommy/Daughter thing, cause it couldn’t be NUTHIN’ else!!!!)
Anyway, we all got to know each other, a little about where we were from & interests etc. It was neat to see all the diversity but also discover common interest, locations, etc. Like Hannah went to college at S.U.N.Y Binghamton. How cool is THAT? (About two hours from my hometown you non-New Yorkers!) She may understand the change of seasons & the smell of fall that I miss.
We crossed the border around 12noon I think, had lunch at some taco joint, & then headed towards Rocky Point to drop off our stuff at the condo & then headed over to the OTHER condo that was kind of the meeting place for all. We had some introductions, prayer & then headed to the barrio for the “Trash Bag Ministry.”
What is Trash Bag Ministry? Simply: a means to clean the neighborhood, give away food to those that need it & get them to church. They do not have access to garbage disposal services down where we were. To say that it was icky wouldn’t be exactly truthful. So, we walk through the “streets”, knocking on the homes of those in the area & offer a free bag of food to anyone that will bring the garbage bag back FULL of trash. They bring the garbage back on Saturday night & in return, they receive a bag of groceries at church the following day. It’s a great way to minister, clean up & reach out. Kudos to whomever at Weekend Missions thought of that. GREAT blessing with a great return.
At the trash bag ministry is where I was introduced to Carla and her four beautiful children. She took me to her home, which she was very proud of. Her smile was bright like the sun as she took me through each room & pointed & tried to explain to me in Spanish what work they had done. She held up her arms & made muscles to indicate that she had done much of the work herself along side of her husband, who worked at a local resort & made decent tips which made their “remodeling” possible. Their luxuries consisted of tiled flooring in most of the home instead of dirt floors, a porcelain sink & toilet instead of an outhouse, some decorative lighting on the wall that showcased some flowers in a vase that she put out. When’s the last time you truly appreciated those things?
Friday night, after trash bag ministry, we all congregated back at the main condo for a GREAT dinner that Owen & Maggie drummed up. It was a great time of fellowship & getting to know the other folks that were there from Weekend Missions and other churches aside from Cornerstone. We heard about the projects that would be taking place on Saturday & signed up for where we wanted to serve. I volunteered to serve in the medical clinic. Seemed fitting for me.
Saturday morning at 7a, we all met back at the main condo for breakfast, a brief message offered up by Rusty Akers & some worship before we split up & headed out. Please don’t ask where we “headed out” to ---I have NO clue where I was. Some place in Mexico, near Rocky Point, but not so nice. The streets aren’t marked & it’s run down & worn out looking. The clinic where I volunteered consisted of two small buildings. One was used as what we MAY refer to as a triage area. Take their name, blood pressure, age, weight & find out what is ailing them. There is NO privacy & no discretion. But they didn’t care. (I wasn’t handing out any HIPPA forms here.) Anyone that walked in that door was happy to be seen & waited for as long as it took. I counted out pills, spoke with moms & dads, played Frisbee with kids & board games, trying to occupy them as their parents were being seen. I held hands, prayed & snuggled little babies, wondering what their future held. I prayed some more, more for them & more for myself- to learn to be thankful for JUST what I have. Nothing more, nothing less, just what I have. It turned out to be a bit of a quiet day at the clinic. I think I was told that they normally see 175+ a Saturday but I think it was closer to 100 this time around. Still ---just WOW.
Saturday late afternoon, all of us returned from our different “missions” & met back at church to prepare for a dinner to serve the community. Hot dogs, hamburgers, beans, chips, water, etc. I’m not sure what the anticipated numbers were for who would show up…but once the music started at the church, the kids came out of the wood work & their parents behind them. It was amazing. We had brought down used clothing, toys, soccer balls, etc for the community. The kids & parents when through the clothing & selected things they could use or need. It was neat to watch. It was not an organized production (the clothing “drive” so to speak) by any means, but everyone was respectful of the other & it didn’t appear that people were greedy or took more then what they needed, etc.
The BBQ/meal itself was quite a production to pull off. How do you plan a meal for an unexpected amount of guests with limited facilities & so much food? I don’t know but OWEN – You rock! While the grill was going, the church started to come alive with music & kids dancing. The pastor & his wife put on a production for all the kids which included songs about Christ & skits, games, etc. It was pretty neat…even thought it was all in Spanish. I enjoyed sitting & watching the kids with such joyous hearts sing & worship & play with their friends. It was really neat to hear some of the songs I knew be sung in Spanish…and to see them sing & dance. This was probably the most touching part of the trip for me. I realized that for most of these children, if not ALL, this was the excitement for the week or maybe even the month. I realized that they may never have the opportunities that my kids would. They may never have the clothing, sneakers (tennis shoes as they are called out here?), games or life that my kids have. I’m pretty sure they don’t own iPods or Game Boys. Probably aren’t even aware of what a PS2, 3 or Xbox is? It was very bittersweet. My heart hurt for what they lack…but I cried over the joy they took in the simple pleasures of life. Smiles, games, used clothing, a hot meal, dancing & games with friends, music, a pastor & pastor’s wife with a heart for God & a heart for people.
Saturday night, we all gathered again as a group, I think about 40 of us, to have “sharing time.” Most of us took a moment & talked about this experience. For many of us, it was our first trip, but not our last. For some, it was just one of many trips. But it was neat to hear the stories & see the friendships that were developed in such a short amount of time. The connection made exists because of our desire to serve the Lord & be a servant of his. This comes in many shapes & forms. We all bring something special to the group & it was just really neat.
When I shared about what this meant to me, I simply explained that this trip made me realize how “in need” others are & how pathetic we all are for grumbling about what we sometimes don’t have. I was deeply saddened by what the kids go with out & then compared it to what my kids complain about going without ---which isn’t much but they are kids & they still complain. I commented on how I was going to go home & get my kids “whipped into shape.”
And now, a month+ later, as I write this I’m chuckling to myself. Thank you, Lord for whipping me into shape.
Thank you to all of you that supported my trip. I was able to go because you donated your dollars to help fund this effort. I appreciate your giving heart & understanding of the need AND also that YES, just a weekend CAN make a difference. It made a difference to the Mexicans we reached out to. It made a difference to those of us that went. It will make a difference in those we share our stories with.
Thank you to everyone that I traveled with, especially to Ty & Sean for driving. Thank you to the men at Weekend Missions that had this vision 5+ years ago & following it through.
Thank you to the men & women that I met on this trip who touched my heart & for allowing me to serve along side of you. I’m planning on going again in September. I look forward to serving with all of you again! I can’t wait!
If you are interested in supporting my trip in September, please shoot me an email for details. But better yet, why not serve along side of me. Go to the weekend missions website & check it out. You won’t be disappointed. Neither will the people you bless.
Sorry it’s so long, but so much to say & share! See link to the pics on the right.
Love & God bless,
Lisa Marie Davison
Lisa Marie Davison