I am writing this post while sitting on our plane headed to Portland! We are headed home with many memories and great stories to share of God’s work in both the lives of our team and the lives of the children and staff at the Children’s Home in Oaxaca. The people of Oaxaca, especially those at the children home, have blessed us more than we can put into words. We went into this trip with the goal to be a blessing to everyone we met in Oaxaca. The truth is that as we sought to be a blessing, but God blessed us in tremendous ways. During the last ten days, God has worked very specifically in each person’s life through revealing himself to each person in different ways. Each person on our team has come away from this experience with very different perspectives. You have had a chance to read about their stories and experiences on this blog. They have left with a far bigger vision of God. They have experienced close fellowship with believers from other cultures. They have shared in the joy of partnering with the children’s home in the expansion of God’s worldwide kingdom. We have left Oaxaca transformed.
It almost always seems that great transformation is accompanied with the moving out of the comfort zone and into an area of risk and fear. It takes courage to let God move in your life. Letting God transform you always requires faith and courage; the faith that God knows what He is doing and the courage to follow God into the unknown. Our team took the leap of faith and courageously stepped out of their comfort zone into whatever God put in our path. They walked into a Mexican prison and shared their stories of faith with drug addicts, murderers and thieves. (I write this after hearing from the inmates; the team did go into the prison knowing the past wrongs that these men committed)
On the first day entering the prison, being nervous and fearful they stepped into a room with almost fifty inmates and shared the gospel to many non-believers. On the second day, they shared verses and worshipped with believers during a chapel service. Both experiences were life changing. What was life-changing was not necessarily the act of getting up in front of many people and sharing, but the life change came from the responses from the inmates. Numerous inmates prayed for team members and opened up to us through sharing their encouraging stories of how they have found hope through Jesus in a very hopeless place. A few inmates were strengthened in their faith because of our presence with them. They were blown away that these ‘Americanos’ would travel from the United States to visit them in the prison. Our initial perspectives prior to entering the prison were shattered because Jesus was in the prison with the murderers, drug addicts and thieves. Jesus is always found with the broken and downtrodden. The team left the prison joyfully giving thanks to God for the experience. We found Jesus in the Mexican prison.
Throughout the ten days, we had opportunities to spend time with the kids at the Children’s Home. As one of our team members said to me, “Each one, each face, every single kid has a story”. These kids each have a story, many full of heart ache and pain. Abandonment, abuse, and neglect characterize the past lives of these kids. Jesus has brought them out of that lifestyle and into a home full of joy, peace and love. On the inside, the kids still hurt for the loss of a family, so please join us in praying for these young kids. The staff is amazing at loving these kids where they are at in life. The staff is ALL about the children and their growth, which was great to participate in this vision.
Overall, the best trip that I have ever had the privilege of going on. God moved mightily in the lives of our team and showed Himself to be faithful in every step of the way. Six months ago this was a dream and now we can say that it was more than we could have expected. God provided the team, provided the support of others and provided the funds for this trip. It was an incredible experience from the start. Thank you for your support and prayer. God provides goers and senders on trips like these and both are vital to God’s global mission. Thank you to the team. It has been a privilege to journey alongside you.
We are hoping to post on the blog reflections from team members, a sort of post-Oaxaca experience post.