Highlights from my FIRST Mission Trip

  1. YES! I was chosen to “Go!”

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Going on mission trips has always been my heart’s desire when I began walking with the Lord. I just knew that I had to share this wonderful savior with the world! When I was granted the opportunity to go to Mexico, I felt my spirit get excited! But with only 30 slots available out of over 2,000 people who could apply, would I be one of those chosen? I simply prayed, “Lord if it is YOUR will for me to go on this mission trip, I ask that you make a way and allow me to go.” Long story short…He obviously wanted me to Go because here I am back from Tijuana to tell my story! HEHEHE. I was Chosen to be His Hands, Feet, Mouth Piece and Heart Beat and there is such a joy unspeakable when you are fulfilling the Great Commission!

 

  1. Plane ride with people I love

plane ride

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the term “Road Trip” I get super excited! There’s just something about packing up a suitcase, getting supplies and knowing that your leaving the state that you are in. (Maybe it’s prophetic. Lol) So imagine a road trip with your girlfriends, but instead of a car, you’re all getting on a plane traveling to a different country together, and its almost 30 of you!  Insert our theme song here. “We’re going on a trip on our favorite rocket ship!” Little Einstein’s.

I got to sit in between 2 of my favs. for hours! Lol. Yes, I felt like a little school girl with her besties, and it was great. We slept (or tried to sleep), we laughed, we played and we shared simple moments that I keep as great memories simply because I love them.

 

  1. Friendly Faces

them

When I arrived at our destination, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the people there. I mean, I knew about some of the conditions of the area they were staying in, but I wasn’t sure how THEY would be. Would they be sad and sorrowful? Would they be extra needy? Perhaps I was thinking about myself. If I lived in a poor and desert land, would I be extra nice to people? Perhaps I made these assumptions about the people there based on how I might feel if I were in their shoes. However, when we got off of the transporting van, we were greeted by some of the friendliest and loving people. The ministry’s leaders came and welcomed us with the most warm and beautiful smiles. They helped us unload our bags, escorted us to our rooms, and gave us a tour of the orphanage grounds we were staying on. At first, it defiantly seemed like we were being dropped off in the desert in the middle of know where, but the people that worked in this ministry made me feel so comfortable with their pleasant and welcoming  attitudes. If they are here completely full of joy, then I should be fine. Right?

Stinky Porter Pottys, Scorching heat, 3 Minute Showers and Fire Ants in the bed

the ranch

Now, this doesn’t seem very appealing and it defiantly doesn’t seem like it would be a highlight, but it was. It made for great laughs knowing that I overcame them all!

The Porter Potties stunk from almost miles away! I never wanted to use those stinky porter potties (and I never did) (Shh. My secret.)

  • I was so irritable trying to sleep in the super-hot room at night. Not to mention I was on the top bunk closes to the spiders.  But that just allowed me to appreciate the A.C waiting for me at home.

I truly despise bugs, and fire ants in my bed was a huge no no. The first night I climbed in my bed I was welcomed by HUNDREDS of small fire ants. I mean I appreciate God’s creations and think they’re great, but can’t they just stay FAR away from me?

These moments were ones that will not be forgotten and they taught me a lot about myself. I truly had to remain humble and keep the joy of the Lord. He reminded me, that this trip was not about being comfortable but about bringing love and life to those I encounter. What does anything else have to do with it? If the people here live and tolerate these conditions with such a joy than why couldn’t I?

 

  1. The Orphan Children

Chucho

Now this was definitely one of my FAVORITE highlights of the trip! I was able to interact with so many beautiful children, that were full of love and life. Although they were orphans, I couldn’t tell if I hadn’t been told. The children were so open to receive anything that I had to give them, especially my love, but yet they were the ones that filled me up with so much love. Hugs, sweet innocent kisses, laughs and smiles. I was overjoyed by their huge hearts. I enjoy reminiscing on the awesome experiences I had with them and when I do I remember that although many of the children did not speak fluent English, we still made a heart connection. We loved one another in the simplest yet profoundest ways.

 

  1. Visiting Local Churches

I’m not sure if it is a foreign country thing, but I feel like the connection to God through worship seems so much more intense being abroad. It was nice to be apart of a congregation that sang their songs in Spanish. During worship at the first church, God told me to feel His heart for the people there. I stood in the back of the church with my arms raised and I could almost literally feel an overwhelming heavy love for these people. To describe this moment in words is almost impossible, but it was if there was a passion for the people that I hadn’t felt or understood before. Of course God loves us all, but He shared His heart with me concerning a group of people

 

  1. Treasuring Hunting! Looking for God’s treasures using the clues He gave us.

chico

It was our leader’s plan to go on a treasure hunt in a community that was very poor. A treasure Hunt is basically a creative and fun way to evangelize. We got into groups of 5 or 6 and prayed, asking God to show us clues to His treasure (which are certain people that He wanted us to minister to). The Lord gave me 2 clues. The color green and a thumb. Long story short, it wasn’t until I got back to the orphanage café’ where I found my treasure. He wasn’t in the poor community where I expected him to be! He was working for the ministry. The Lord showed me that He can still work “outside” of my expected box. I thought I would find Him in the streets, but God showed me that sometimes His treasure can be found right at home. So I asked the guy working at the orphanage’s café,  if there was anything that I could pray for him for, and He gave me a list of things he was concerned about. I prayed for Him concerning those things and gave Him an encouraging word from God, revealing to Him how special He was that God would give me special clues to find HIM!

 

  1.  Open Hearts

kids

Before we left for Mexico, we had an early morning conference call prayer every Wednesday. One of our prayers was that God would prepare the hearts of those we would be with, and that their hearts would be open to receive Him through us. Well they most definitely were. From the ministry’s workers, to the orphaned children, to the Mexican people in the community, almost everyone we encountered was open and easily ready to receive all and anything we had to share from the Lord. This made it much easier to minister to them and love them. And even though we came to love them they probably without even knowing poured out their love for us. Being with so many passionate people has made me even more passionate towards the people that I encounter in my own communities.

  1. Lasting relationships

paulina

I went to Mexico with a group of about 29 people and we had a blast. We worked hard together and served with amazing people full of the heart of God. I made connections with people that I will not forget. The leaders, workers, teachers and orphanage house parents were great influences filled with talents and a heart for God’s people. I am so grateful for Facebook and the staff’s capability  to access WiFi! I am now able to stay updated with the children and their photos. Since being back I’ve spoken to a few people back in Tijuana through Facebook and I truly look forward to seeing them again.

 

  1. A Greater Appreciation

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I was also allowed to see a glimpse of what life is like outside of my plush American culture. It  is now obvious that some of my priorities must be changed. The moment I stepped back into the airport in San Diego, CA, I was amazed at how much I had taken for granted. Air Conditioning! Normal American snacks like potato chips. A clean bathroom with flushing toilets and clean running water in all the faucets. NO bugs. Compared to the places we visited in Tijuana, I live like a Queen in Paradise!

 

Bonus*

What I’ve learned on my first mission trip

  1. Being uncomfortable is a given. There’s no reason to bring it up or even complain. This is missions. Just accept it and keep the focus the focus. You are not on vacation, but you are here on a secret mission from the base camp of Heaven. (Hard lesson)
  1. Sometimes wecan be so spoiled by the “stuff” we think we need. The Bible says, that Christ alone is sufficient. In a country that didn’t seem to have much, this was sovery true. Love, peace, joy, grace, mercy and salvation is what they had in Tijuana and they knew that they had everything. I know even more now that I am much more blessed than I thought. The ‘simple’ things we take advantage of here in the U.S seemto be so much more important now, YET, having
    • Clean water to drink and brush my teeth with.
    • Flushing toilets
    • Taking LONG hot bath
    • Toilet Paper
    • A house without scorpions and other critters that attack you
    • Air conditioning and fans, doesn’t even come close to KNOWING that we have ALL that we truly need through Christ Jesus.

Yes, all of the extra amenities that we normally have are great and seem essential, but I learned that it is possible to still live and enjoy a life with God without them.

  1. Every child and person is absolutely beautiful and precious in the eyes of God no matter what they do, or where they come from. I already “knew” this with a head knowledge, but I actually saw and experienced this in person when God allowed me to share His heart for the people living in poverty. Seeing people differently now is an understatement. I don’t see people who live in shacks as homes as poor and unfortunate, but I see them as a great child of God, who may simply be lost and needs a hand to reconnect them with the savior and all of the blessings He bestows.

Overall, my mission trip experience has left me yearning for more and I look forward to future trips and ways I can express who God is to the World!

Have you ever been on a Mission Trip or plan on going on one? Share your thoughts and comments below!

With Love,

Latia Ashley

 

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