Where to begin…
It’s hard to put into words exactly how much of a blessing this trip has already been. We’ve been here only one whole day with the kids and we have already begun shedding tears and delighting in the amazing atmosphere this place brings.
Let’s go back to the beginning so as to get the full story. We began our journey at the Indianapolis Airport at 4:30 in the morning after passing through the entrance with 25 degree air at our backs. Thankfully we were able to leave all that behind when we boarded our first plane to…Chicago. So we finally left it all behind when we boarded our second plane to Monterrey, Mexico. It was a long day full of mini-naps and plane rides.
When we landed in Mexico, we all let out a metaphorical and physical (not to mention mental) sigh of relief. One long trip through customs, long hallways, baggage claims, more hallways, the entire airport, and then across the sidewalk afront the building brought us to the bus that took us through the city itself. With the sightings of an H&M, a GAP, and that beautiful golden beacon that is the logo of Burger King, it felt as though we were in a North American city that had embraced its Mexican heritage.
Our arrival at the Back2Back campus had us all crying out for the sweet embrace of blankets and pillows, and (for some of us) the fulfilling intake of a full Thanksgiving meal. So we unpacked the bus, had a tour, had a meeting, had some lunch, and then some free-time which was the highlight of the day for a portion of us travelers.
All-in-all, day one was a success and a great time. Still, we had much to do, after all, God hadn’t sent us to Mexico to rest and eat!
Day two came upon us with a swift kick to the cranium. We awoke, had breakfast, and then enjoyed a very entertaining lesson from a staff-member in which we learned about the mission here. She had us pumped up to meet those sweet kids and show them the love of Christ. And so, with the wind at our backs, our backpacks on our backs, and without looking back, we headed out for a long and treacherous journey to the Douglas Children’s Home, which happens to be a whole half-mile away.
The tour of the children’s home was very humbling indeed. While we were able to see some of the handi-work of the previous Trader’s Point group, we also saw the parts of the home that were in desperate need of work, and we are here to answer that call.
It was a long day full of playing, laughter, physical exhaustion, and interacting with some of the most adorable children we have perhaps ever seen (with the exception of our own of course). At first we played a few games to get us all acquainted with each other. One game that was particularly memorable was called “Mango Mango” which was originally called “Mingle Mingle” but like a real-life game of telephone, the translation was lost somewhere down the line! After meeting each other, it was time to play. The children led us around and despite the large barrier we call “foreign language” we somehow were able to communicate so well with these blessings from Heaven.
We ate with them, played with them, talked with them and walked with them, and the biggest blessing of all was being able to see the smiles on their faces as they finally had someone to play with, someone to give them the attention they need as children. I don’t want to make the homes seem like they are inadequate though because they certainly do a better job than any of us could. Due to the fact that not everyone can spare the time or themselves for very long, the homes are slightly short on caregivers, which are basically full-time parents, cooks, janitors, baby-sitter, and more all rolled into one. It’s a job that rivals the top spot of “worlds deadliest profession”.
After arriving back at the campus, we were all filled with the joy in knowing that we had shown those kids just how special they truly are, and perhaps they will soon understand that God loves them all even more than that.
At debrief last night (a meeting we have every night before bed) our leader from Back2Back brought up a great story that I thought needed sharing. Apparently a few weeks back she had been tasked with leading a large group of 7th and 8th graders, and during their debrief, a thirteen-year-old girl brought up this wonderful thought. She said, “Today I realized that we were all made in God’s image, and because of this we all must share something about us. I noticed [today] that no matter what you did for those kids, they still smiled and still laughed. I believe that that is what God is like, that is His image in us. He is laughter and joy and happiness.” If that bit of knowledge doesn’t knock your socks off then I don’t know what will.
Here’s to looking forward to another great day with these wonderful children of Christ. We have enjoyed our short time with them thus far and we look forward to the rest of the time we will have with them! As usual, prayers are appreciated! Also, a tremendous “Thank you!” to all those that have encouraged us and been praying for us on this trip, God is working on and through us all! God bless!