Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 16 - When you know you've been sent

I think I mentioned that in 1994 I went on a mission trip to Mexico with the youth from my church.  Gwen was actually one of those youth.  This was my first real experience with any kind of mission experience.  My job was to plan the Vacation Bible School program that we would hold in the village we visited, and to train the youth to lead this program.  This was certainly interesting since I do not know Spanish!  I confess that I really had no idea WHY I was on this particular trip.  It was also the first time I had ever been out of the United States. 

We traveled to Mexico in a VERY OLD BUS..... think very old school bus.  Not one of those comfy kind.  This was just an old bus with plastic seats and a metal floor.  And it was a LONG drive from Illinois to Mexico!  We drove through the night several times and sleeping was just a joke.  Not to mention the fact that there were 25 high school kids as well as 8 adults crammed into this space. 
It was a memorable trip.  Then, when we finally arrived in the small village in the mountains near Monterrey, Mexico we received the first of many surprises of the trip.  The Pastor and his family had gone into Monterrey to get supplies for our team.  While there, they were killed in car crash during a very bad storm.  So this small little town had just lost their pastor and his entire family.  Yet, they rallied together and welcomed us.  The elders who greeted us and gave us this news, told us that they knew our time in their village was important since Satan was obviously trying to stop what Jesus intended.  They were upbeat and committed to whatever God intended. 

On these trips, all of the team were divided up and stayed with "host families".  The home I stayed in had a roof (some did not) and an actual outdoor toilet facility (some homes had just a hole in the ground).  The water supply was a rain barrel with a large system of pipes to catch the rain water.  The first morning I saw a bird swimming in the barrel.  Yuck!  Needless to say, we did not drink their water or eat their food.  The picture above is of all of the host senoras.  It was a very big deal for these women to open their homes to all of us. 

We had a wonderful week. There were over 200 kids from the town that came for our program.  We had a great time playing and just being with these children. One of the projects that we did was the construction of two banners for their church that the children helped construct.
On the fourth day of our stay in this village, this women found our translator and came to see me.  She was one of the "Matriarchs" of this church.  Through tears, (and the translator) she told me that she had praying for ME to come to her church for the last 15 years.  She knew that the children were not getting the education that they needed and Jesus had told her that He would send someone.  When she found out that the banners had been my idea, she knew that I was the one Jesus had sent.  I was stunned.   She grasped my hands and cried and cried as she prayed for me.  It was an experience that I will never forget.  Yes, I knew that I had been sent.

I don't think I had ever thought about why I was there.  And I sure didn't have any idea that I could have been the answer to prayer.  I will never forget this women's faith.  She continued to pray and seek even when she didn't see an immediate answer.  She touched those banners and spoke about all of the love that went into them.  And she told me she loved all of those children. 

That's it for tonight.  I am thankful for the chance to reflect on this.  There are a couple more things to share from this amazing trip.  So watch for future posts! 

Jesus, thank you for using all of us to complete your plans.  Holy Spirit, thank you for reminding me of the great faith of that dear woman.  Give us all a renewed faith in your power to work through us.  Keep us all moving forward in your plans, even when we don't realize that it is your purposes being fulfilled.  Thank you for this village and these people.  Continue to bless them and meet all of their needs.   Amen

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