Back in the USA

We’re back! Headed over to Walmart for the transfer to busses (as soon as we get 3 girls from the gas station bathroom). This is our traditional stop for gas and a group picture just after crossing the border. Everyone is sad to leave but will be glad to get home. It’s been a GREAT week!!

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Last Day

Today is our last day in the villages. The village women are preparing dinner for our teams, and then we’ll have a worship service, where students and church members will share their testimonies. It’s a sweet time of praising God for a wonderful week, but also some tearful good-byes.

Tomorrow morning we’ll wake up at 5 a.m., pack the vans, grab a cold breakfast and head out for the border at 5:45 a.m. Your prayers for safe travels, a quick border crossing, and no bus break-downs will be much appreciated! Most of us who are flying back should arrive about 5 p.m. and the bus ETA is about 10 p.m.

Here’s a link to the famous wake-up song we were blessed with this morning:

http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=169815936507511

Thoughts from Our Seniors

This morning I interviewed a few of our high school seniors, asking them, “What is your favorite thing about Mexicali and where do you see God working this week?” Here are their thoughts:

Lizzy (Nuevo Leon, third trip): We’re impacting the lives of other people and it’s so important to do it together in a team. I feel more connected to the other students when we’re here. Coming here each year allows me to have a new perspective on the world and opens my eyes to actually help with the problems I see.

Katie (Echeverria, third trip): My most favorite part is the people—the way we connect with the kids here is so unique. We have very little common ground, but yet we are able to have deep connections and relationships, even with the language barrier. That’s how I see God here—in the relationships. He is clearly so present.

Tom (Reacomodo, fifth trip): It’s so great to embrace the community in the village and love them through Christ. It would take me weeks to start trusting a bunch of strangers who came out of nowhere for four days, but they are so hospitable and so loving.

Matt (Quintana Roo, third trip): It’s the people. I’m working on the painting project in our village and we’ve had a couple days of hard prep work. Each day, at least five of the villagers have come by and offered to help us. I’ve worked on lots of painting projects before back at home, and it’s unusual for the people you’re serving to want to help like these people do.

Hannah (Nuevo Leon, fourth trip): The niños! And seeing all the village people every year when I come back. The food is amazing, too, especially the empanadas and Homey’s tacos.

Clara (Nuevo Leon, first trip): Of course I love hanging out with the kids, but bonding with my group has been special—I didn’t know the students on my team very well before this. Being a student leader forces me to step out of my comfort zone, and gives me an excuse to be loud. And the people are so open. A village man shared his whole life story with me on the first day after I just said hello to him.

Hanna (Quintana Roo, second trip): Hanging with the village kids. When I was here my freshman year I became close with two girls, Vanessa and Wendy. They remembered me this year, which was a cool God moment when we first arrived. I also love watching God work through the freshman girls in my village. I can see myself in them, the next generation of MPPC students coming through. I feel like we are leaving this trip in good hands.

Serving the Servants

Today we sent teams out to the villages again and brought the pastors and their wives to base camp for a delicious lunch celebration just for them. It was a wonderful way to encourage and support them in their roles as shepherds. Our kitchen crew served grilled steak, veggies, salad and apple pie, while Pastor Charley from MPPC and Pastor Orlando from Verbo shared and talked with them. It was especially rewarding to cook for the wives; they don’t get to sit and be served very often.

The teams came back this evening with tales from the villages–a little girl with exuberant joy, the experience of sharing Jesus with a little boy at a taco stand, owners of a hardware store giving a $90 discount on supplies for one of our construction projects because it is for a church, a little boy making a friendship bracelet for a team member, and women sharing deeply in Bible study.

It’s been a great day.

First Day

We’re back from a long day in the villages, a day full of happy reunions, friendship bracelets, soccer, hard work and practicing our Spanish. We love returning to these villages each year to see our brothers and sisters. We heard stories today, especially from the women, about how much they look forward to our visits and how God uses us to encourage their faith community. Everyone is pretty wiped out this evening from the heat and exercise, but our nurse hasn’t had any business except for a thumb strain and a couple of minor scrapes.

Be sure to check the slide show–lots more pictures posted there from today.