This past week was incredible for us! We traveled with a group of 20 all the way from Bayfield Co to Juarez Mexico for a week long mission trip.
The trip started on July 5th with us driving to El Paso Tx where we stayed in a mission house that belonged to First Baptist El Paso. The first challenge we had was that the plumbing in the house stopped up and we had to call a plumber at 1:00 in the morning to come fix it! Although frusterating, we were not discouraged from the task that lay before us.
Sunday afternoon we arrived at Jerusalem Baptist Church in Juarez Mexico. The trip began with us joining them for a baptism service that night! We saw 8 new believers baptized and we hadn't even begun...Talk about a running start!
Although we had originally planned to do 2 to 3 VBS a day, the pastor changed plans and had us helping with some repair and maintainence around the church in the mornings. After working on the building in the mornings, we took a siesta (love that part of Mexican culture) and then we had VBS each evening. This was both fun and challenging! Perhaps the most challenging chore went to four of the guys on the trip that had the challenge of unstopping the shower in both the girls and the guys restrooms!!! It was completely clogged with dirt, rocks, tar, etc. They were all so great and worked so hard on it.
The VBS format was similar to what we have here in America - only in Spanish. We had over 100 attend every single night ranging in age from 4 months to 70!!! What a blessing it was to see people of all ages come and want to hear the gospel and seek the truth. Throughout the week we saw 40 kids and 7 adults come to know the Lord as their Savior. For the adults this was a HUGE step as many of them will be outcast by their family for leaving the traditional Catholic faith. The most encouraging part of this however is that the pastor, Amado Miranda, is solid and knows how to disciple them and help them continue in the committment that they made. He has been at the church for 2 years and has seen it grow from about 20 to 150 in that time and it is most definitely still growing!!!
For me, the thing that changed my life the most was being able to fellowship with the adult class during VBS. I must admit that at first, I was a little bummed about not being able to hang out with the adorable little ones. In addition to that, I was in a class with no interpreter and none of them spoke much English at all and my Spanish is VERY limited!!! However, the Lord revealed to me that He is so much bigger than a language barrier and that the love of God can reach across cultural lines to unite us! My sisters and brothers in Mexico are so special and unique to me. All week I asked God for the opportunity to share my heart with this class that I had sat in and on Friday I had that opportunity. With the help of one of our translators, I was able to give my testimony to the adult class during the Bible Story time. It was a wonderful experience and I will not soon forget how much love they showed me!
I have tried to include some pictures that capture the highlights of the trip. It was hard to limit the pictures (I only took 333) but hopefully this will give you an idea of what the trip was like. The picture of the vacant lot is pretty much what we saw everywhere we went in town - trash. It is a whole different lifestyle there!