Mexico Mission Journey 2022
Matthew 5: 3-8: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for the will see God.”
On July 7, 19 of us went to Renacimiento, Mexico (outside of Monterrey) for our first group mission trip since September 2019. The group consisted of nineteen 18 to 60 year olds with a strong contingent of college age students (which definitely helped in the energy department…especially since each day hovered around 100⁰).
As all of my trips to Renacimiento (50+ trips since 2009), the focus was to assist our ministry/discipleship partner, Casa Samuel, in serving the people of Renacimiento (an impoverished neighborhood of approximately 900 families).
The majority of our first day was spent at a high school playing volleyball, dodge ball, soccer and BINGO (aka GRINGO) and then culminating a graduation celebration and lunch for the entire school and staff. That night, back at the hotel, we celebrated the Casa Samuel staff and families (25 total) to a fajita dinner grilled and enjoyed in the wonderful courtyard at the Los Vientos hotel.
Our second day was a long one, with several activities beginning with our annual kickball tournament between the ladies of Renacimiento vs. the ladies of Marietta. However, rumors of the fun dodgeball games from the day before at the high school had infiltrated our plans and the next hour was dodgeball mania! Not one person in attendance was left unscathed! As always, a soccer game morphed from the activities on the renovated turf field and we proceeded to play soccer at a level that most of us had not experienced before.
After the morning games, we started preparing for Saturday afternoon weekly church worlship. We canvassed the streets inviting children and families to church where we had the pleasure of hosting worship for 100+ people from the community. Casa Samuel worship is an active experience where the kids fully engage and participate especially with the praise music led by Pastor Aldo and Pastor Eva. The message presented by our college age students was a skit (as seen here on You Tube) of the Prodigal Son story done through the Lighthouse song, “Everything”. Not only, did they perform in Spanish, but the message of redemption and restoration through Jesus was an emotional and stirring event for everyone present.
After worship, we finished the afternoon by hosting a festival with a trampoline, 9 square, parachute games, red light/green light (or rojo/verde) relay racing, and of course, more dodgeball mania!! More than 150 kids took part while 50+ moms had the opportunity to fellowship through fingernail painting. We brought closure to our time in Renacimiento with dinner for 300+ people. It truly was an amazing day with our friends from Renacimiento.
Our last day was spent in Santa Catarina (a town 45 minutes away) at the Casa Samuel offices. Our time was spent playing GRINGO (aka BINGO) and dancing with the elderly community that exists next to the Casa Samuel office. After the games we enjoyed hamburgers and grilled corn on the cob for 50+ people before heading to the airport to make it home by midnight!
In between the activities, our home group spent much time sharing and discussing the uniqueness of this mission focus in Renaicmiento that is almost 15 years old. The late night discussions which highlighted several Bible verses (such as the one above) always reminded us that these trips were unique because of the special relationships that exists between our two communities through the power of the Holy Spirit. Relationships that brake through language barriers, calling each other by first names, and laughter that truly resonates from our hearts. It’s relationships that has blessed us with watching kids grow up (and vice versa for them with some of our college students) and adults aging together as sincere friends and sharing the presence of Jesus amongst us.
In these trips, we are reminded that we don’t go to Renacimiento to fix things. We go to love others and be loved back. It’s hard to fix things when you realize that the people are not broken (as one from our team remarked). The people of Renacimiento are not broken because of their environment. In fact, one quickly recognizes the happiness and joyfulness they reflect. Yes, they are a people of fewer possessions and greater day-to-day struggles that we don’t experience, but one could argue that we are more broken than they. As I like to remind everyone, their need for Jesus Christ is just like our need for Jesus Christ, it’s a sin issue. And, Jesus is the answer!
I do believe that Jesus was speaking to people like myself in the beatitudes. This becomes even more apparent through a trip to Renacimiento, where less seems like more. The blessing is that Jesus uses these relationships to mold and shape us, always conforming us to His image (ref. Romans 8:29).
Please let me know if you ever want to join us on our Journeys to Renaicimiento. As Frasure Hunter always says, using the clip from Back to the Future, “We have to go back!”