There were so many milestones in 2009…my sons turned 16 and 18. One became a new driver and one became a high school graduate…their mom turned 50, got her first passport and almost before she knew it in December, was on a plane to the Yucatan.
Over three years ago I heard about the little village of Ek Balam. My spirit jumped every time someone spoke about a mission trip or the people there. WHY? I have never been there, never even been allowed into a ‘third world’ area, I’ve always considered myself the cruise ship~lay be the pool ~ or on the beach~ vacationer and I really do make a great tourist.
WHY here? And WHY now?
The bank account is not exactly overflowing, I was not prepared, I didn’t have this item , I certainly don’t have skills and I do have a life with some responsibility!
The Lord has a plan for every aspect of our lives and this was all part of stepping deeper into His amazing plan. My supportive sons said “GO!”, my gracious employers and coworkers said “GO!”, my friends and family said “GO!” with loaned luggage, packs, a digital camera, advice, encouragement, prayer and so much more. The team offered GRACE, safety, guidance, talents, gifts and skills and LAUGHTER.
After all what are you gonna do when your teacher team-mate (yes me!) inadvertently declares that she IS indeed carrying more than $10,000 coming into the country of Mexico. If you are the immigration gal you smile, roll your eyes and politely ask that the “Missionary Lady” please redo the declaration form before entering her country. And if you are part of the Mission Team you proof read each others’ forms on the way home, and laugh, a lot.
Our mission was to show the village women about cooking with solar stoves, share more donated clothing at their thrift store, offer baby clothes to the newborns, provide reading glasses after performing vision screenings at the local school. Seven previous mission teams had done some of this and so much more. We were building on the foundation laid before us….and our true mission was to be so much more than we could have imagined.
Ten women, virtual strangers just months before, living and working together for one week. In a different country, with different customs, and a different language but serving one very BIG, very Gracious God. We laughed, we cried, we shared our hurts and our hearts, our hopes and our dreams, our joys and our fears. And in the midst of a tiny village with 63 families in all, we shared the tangible love and hope of a very good God with a people who live well below poverty levels, who have little education, hard manual work (when they can find it), alcoholism, domestic abuse. The people of Ek Balam opened their hearts to us and out of their very little gave so much more back to us. We laughed, we cried, we shared our hurts and our hearts, our hopes and our dreams, our joys and our fears, our failures and success. Different countries, different cultures, same human hearts, same loving God.
The foundations that have been laid for us all, shine through like tiny pieces of gold glinting in the sun, working up from a path that one thought was only dirt and stone. We can stay where we are and be satisfied or perhaps complacent, or we can see to it that our future and that of the next generations are better…brighter. But how do we do that if for generations there has been no hope, when we don’t even know there may be a different brighter path? That is why here, why now. To remind me that there is more, always more if I will reach out and share with others the Hope that has led me to want more…deeper faith, more…true hope, more…Life.
Looking toward 2010 with more confidence, more encouragement and more hope than ever before. Shandra
Checkout more of our adventures here:
Linking here:The Social Scene