Back from a Christmas mission trip to Ensenada, Mexico. Since Friday afternoon…

  • I have been in a car for about 50 hours, which makes my already flat white girl butt even flatter and somewhat tingly with being asleep.
  • I have had about a billion street tacos that dripped of salsa and guacamole and delish-ness.
  • I went into some very questionable bathroom and water drinking situations and made some questionable decisions therein.
  • I have hugged about 200 people, kissed 100 cheeks, shaken 100 hands, translatedmy first Mexican Christmas church service, purchased ten bags of my precious favorite beans (only available in third world countries!).

    sunset over Ensenada
  • I have seen the most brilliant, God-inspired sunsets, and homeless Mexican children living at the border begging, and chubby toddlers in the cheesiest, and the most adorable Mexican Christmas church recitals.
  • We threw together rice and beans for about 200 Mexicans, shoed the shoe-less, and did some major vacation Bible school ministry.

I have been going on mission trips to Ensenada, Mexico since I was in eighth grade. I feel like Mexico is my home, these are my people. The trip has saved my life and guided me to where I am today. I am the most myself when I am doing ministry in Mexico. The most significant, useful, beautiful version of myself. I love being there, and I miss it all year, because there are some things that the country of Mexico does in a far superior fashion:

 9. Lack of rules and laws – As soon as we crossed the border into the USA I missed the freedom of not wearing my seatbelt, or the option of riding in the back of a truck. Sure, your life is at stake, but man…the thrill!

8. Soda – totally warm, flat, and unrefined sugar? Yes, please! Drinking from a bottle that thousands have drank from before? AWESOME! I love me some Coca Light!!!

7. Adventure bathrooms – Cockroach flying at you? No toilet paper? No lock on the door? No running water? Squatting over a bucket? These are just a few of the options that can make going pee pee really exciting in Mexico! You just never know what kind of crazy you’re going to get. Go with it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

6. Sense of Time – when you show up, and when you will leave, when things begin and end…lets just leave it up to God! Relationships, not your schedule, are the focus in Mexico. I think this is why I am always a little bit late to everything. :)

5. Family First – I love how family is so important here. Everyone is related to someone within ten feet of everyone you’ve ever come into contact with. Cousins are best friends. You live with your parents until you are married. Older siblings take care of younger. The bonds are so much stronger than here in the States.

4. Speaking Spanish – I’ve been studying Spanish since the seventh grade and majored in it in college. To be able to communicate with millions of other people across the world is an awesome gift. It is much simpler than English, and so beautiful to hear. I love that I look just not white enough to get away with people thinking I am Mexican, and I feel like it helps them trust me more when I can speak their own language.

Josue with menudo and lollipop mouth :)
Josue with menudo and lollipop mouth :)

3. Food – OMGEE. There is no food so delicious as a street taco in Mexico. At any point during the year, I can close my eyes and see the carne asada on the grill, the piles of fresh cilantro, the bowls of pico de gallo, the special soupy guacamole….I can practically taste them right now and I am definitely salivating. Of course, we east some weird stuff, too….stomach- lining-of-a-cow soup? Yeah…I’ll have two bowls of that…

we are the gringos who take photos in the hotel lobby. what.

2. Love from me and my peeps – Serving others inspires us to be the best version of ourselves. I love the time I get to spend with my “adopted family” on mission trips. When you spend countless hours in a car with someone, sharing a “bathroom,” and doing ministry together, you experience an openness and a closeness that I have rarely felt. We can be the crazy people God designed us to be, united together to serve Him.

1. Love from them – What a beautiful thing it is to experience the total trust of a child you just met, to be thanked over and over for providing food for a family for one more day, or for just visiting a tiny church service. To be crying with happiness when you walk into a room of little girls, and with sadness when you leave, and not knowing when you’ll see them again, but knowing you both consider each other best friends.

As little sleep as we get, as sketchy as the circumstances may be, as many sticky hands you hold, soggy diapers you feel on your arms and laps, dirty cheeks you kiss, there is never too much love. “Are you going to come back? When will you come back? Promise you will come back?” Only God knows. But I’m so thankful we’ve had this time.

Can’t wait to go back. Viva Mexico. Viva Cristo.

Feliz Navidad.

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