Students recount memories from their spring break mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico.
During spring break at FLBC, I had the opportunity to travel to Oaxaca, Mexico, with 23 other classmates for a week with the purpose of serving a children’s home called Foundation for His Ministry. We had the chance to build relationships with the children while also repainting the walls around the base and digging an area of ground for an underground water irrigation system for a new baseball field.
I was with the group that went to dig up the ground for this project. We worked hard during the mornings while the sun was beating down on us, but we didn’t let that stop us because we were called to serve, not to be served, as God tells us. Digging up the ground was no easy task, especially since the dirt was super dry and rock solid. However, we continued digging knowing that we were sharing the light of God through the act of service to the children’s home. It was rewarding knowing that in the future they would have a baseball field to play on and build relationships with each other through playing games.
Our time down in Mexico was amazing. While we were there, the kids also shared God’s love with us. They were very welcoming and not afraid of communicating through different methods because of the language barrier. The light of Christ was shared everywhere during the trip, and I give thanks to Him for all that He has done.
With hopeful expectation and a little uncertainty on our first night in Oaxaca, I walked out toward the playground dotted with many cheerful, busy children. Once face-to-face and intermingled with them, I quickly felt incompetent and ill-equipped to share what I had hoped to share with these kids because I, along with most members of our group, was unable to speak their language. God, however, had a purpose and plan far beyond what I could see in that moment.
During the week that we spent at Foundation for His Ministry, we were able to help with some of their physical needs during the day. And in the evenings, we engaged with the kids in soccer, chalk art, bracelets, and tie-dyed projects, as well as just sharing little moments together. I cherished the opportunity during these times to share with them the love that Christ has shown me in my life, not necessarily through words, but through actions and by showing His love. I absorbed the joy that emanated from their smiles and laughter in return.
By the end of the week, I saw clearly that God was actively spreading His light and love despite the seemingly ominous language barrier. I was blessed to be able to share and hear testimonies from the staff and children through translators and see a glimmer of God’s action in their lives. I saw firsthand that Jesus Christ is the light that shines beyond the darkness of fear, culture, and language. The Lord demonstrated to me the truth that love needs no translation.
It’s 5:30 in the morning. As you roll out of bed and walk into the refreshing morning air, the sky is inky black, and you can barely make out the mountain that you are going to climb. Thankfully you have guides. The hike starts out easy, but the path soon narrows. You are flanked by briars and cacti whose arms spread to block your path. But your teenage guides lead on. As you crest the mountain, you realize that it has all been worth it. Even more than the view, you realize the people around you are the reason that your trek was worth the loss of sleep and treacherous climb.
During our mission trip, the highlight for me was making connections with kids at the children’s home where we were serving in Oaxaca, Mexico. I made a connection early on with one of the teens at the home. He was one of our guides on the mountain trek. As the week progressed, we grew deeper. Even though I can’t speak Spanish, he and I still became friends through our experiences together. Whether it was playing soccer, hearing his testimony, or climbing the mountain, I loved being able to share Jesus’ love with him. Even when we didn’t have our language in common, we found that God’s love overcame the language barrier. While our mountain climbing experience was incredible on its own, the relationships that were fostered through God’s love made all the difference in the world.
The FLBC mission to share the light of Christ (II Corinthians 4:5-6) was evident as I was serving in Oaxaca, Mexico, but especially during the time we spent with the children who live at Foundation for His Ministry. The whole team would play with all the kids at the end of the day. During these times, I got especially close to a 12-year-old girl named Alma. She was sassy and outgoing but could not speak much English. Alma and I played many different games, and we taught each other several different words and phrases by just pointing or acting it out. Just by spending the little time that I could with her, we were able to grow an intimate relationship centered on our shared faith in Jesus Christ.
At the end of the week after our last devotional with the whole children’s home before we left, I was able to share one of my favorite verses with her from II Timothy 1:7 which says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I pointed the verse out in her Spanish Bible, and she was comforted by this, since we were both sad it was time to say goodbye. Being able to share the light of Christ with Alma through our time together was more of a blessing than I could have ever imagined. I was reminded that God is the same no matter where I go and that I can boldly proclaim His truth.
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