“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
As my brown skin peels and washes down the drain, I feel like my allotted time to readjust to being home and ‘real life’ should be over. But it continues to play in my mind and perhaps God is still changing my heart with it all. I honestly wasn’t prepared for the impact our trip to Mexico would have on my heart and mind. People ask if it was life-changing and I don’t know if I would say that because the trajectory of my life hasn’t changed but has my heart and perspective changed – yes!
I journaled our trip daily for two reasons, one was because sometimes the memories get lost in my aging process and the other reason was we did so many things, it really was quite amazing what God accomplished in the time that we were there. The tireless workers in our sister church La Fuente said that we saved them 4-6 months of labor for all that we got done. We were able to speak love into over 600 people in different places. Only God can do that in a week!
We were able to bring groceries and diapers to a family living in a tin house with barely a roof, have a pizza party and play soccer with all the neighborhood kids. We planned with the church and the orphanage and picked up 300 tshirts for crafts and bought supplies for the projects coming in the next week. My friend Niki and I were able to speak and bring hope and love to a Mothers day event while the rest of the team served all those beautiful women. We went to missions, feeding, teaching, crafting and sharing God’s love, sometimes on a gravel lot with a makeshift tarp and broken chairs and tables. Love covers a multitude of things. We sent a team to do wiring and plumbing, attaching ceiling fans to funky Mexican wiring. We painted the sanctuary and kitchen at La Fuente church, the play structure there, the orphanage walls and railings. We stripped beds, doing load after load of laundry and hanging to dry on the clotheslines on the roof of the orphanage. We washed down beds, and floors and cleaned bathrooms and toilets. We ripped apart and hung crates as backdrops in sanctuaries. We went into a public school and shared our skit on the Armor of God in 8 classrooms in 4 hours! We moved supplies from one church to another location. We organized kids church rooms and cleaned. Our pastors taught the interns at the church.
This paints a general picture of the activities we were able to accomplish with God’s strength. 20 people with committed hearts made light work wherever we went. We also sweated much, played together and with the orphans and our church family there and loved and witnessed many miracles. I think I would be safe to say that each of us learned new things about God’s character in our lives and the lives of others.
Miraculously, we only had one incident. Well, besides the fact that the drug cartel were retaliating against the government when we landed with the first part of the team. Even in that, I felt peace and God had us pray for people and a country in a way I likely never would have done. A couple days before we left, a team was starting to take the scaffolding down and it collapsed. Niki and Jesse and Owen, my son were in the pile. This was one of the big miracles we witnessed, even though we took Owen to the hospital cause it landed on his face as he looked up, nobody had any lasting issues. No bruising, nothing broken. A miracle as 20+ people gathered around to pray and my son learned the nature of God as his Protector that day and the power of a community of people that love God and our family.
I will continue to share with you as I process, which apparently takes a while in my heart but there was one thing that I felt God saying as I was walking here last week. One of the things that spoke to me the most in Mexico was relationships and one question I had in the back of my mind as we went to serve was God how do you want me to incorporate what my heart learned in Mexico to love people here. The word He kept giving me was bloom – which means as a verb to produce flowers or be in flower, or a flourishing healthy condition, the time or period of greatest beauty, artistry etc.
Bloom where I am planted was the impression I got. Ironically but not coincidentally, that is the name and heart of our church. So I bloomed, or flowered as I was in Mexico and able to share my love there and so to continue to do the same but I feel it is even more, a flourishing healthy condition, one where my ideas of love are overtaken by the love of God and how He wants that to look. No matter where we are, Love is needed, people need it to flourish and I have been blessed by receiving that from God and through others abundantly. Jeremiah 31:3 says, The Lord appeared to us in the past saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'” Think of the picture if we all released the overflow of God’s love and kindness to others, it is not about us but what He wants to do through us. Let the tapestry of God’s love in your life splash on others and watch it change the world, one relationship at a time.