Mexican Road Trip
Mexican Road TripOne of my earliest memories is of sitting on the staircase with my brother as we hit each other over the head with our socks. This was our Sunday morning ritual. My brother and I disagreed on pretty much everything; but on Sunday mornings we were completely united in our dislike for going to church and Sunday school. For many years I believed that this is what it meant to be a Christian - to be bathed and "clean" for a day, dressed in my Sundayís best, and having to listen to archaic hymns and Sunday school lessons about a man named Jesus who had lived two thousand years ago on the other side of the world. However, all of this changed when I went on my first mission trip to San Quintin Mexico in 1998.
Away from television, work, and all of the other distractions I tended to engage myself in, as well as seeing abject poverty at a level I had never seen before, and hearing the gospel message presented clearly (without the fluff), I decided to become a follower of Christ. That was four years ago, but I can wholeheartedly say my life has not been the same since that day in Mexico.
Still, it seemed there were always things that were holding me back from making a long-term commitment to missions - money, career plans, and the pressure to settle for a "normal" life. But this summer everything changed.
In May, after finishing my degree, I went again to the same mission site in Mexico with some friends. It was supposed to be a two week road trip - one last bit of fun before finding a "real" job. On the second day, the missionary who runs the site asked me two questions: what are you going back home for? would you do a summer internship here? So, after much prayer, and a necessary phone call home to let my parents know, I decided to stay for the summer.
Our ministry was with Native Mexicans who are brought in from mainland Mexico to work in the fields (corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. are all grown in the San Quintin valley and transported to the US and Canada). We do vacation Bible school (songs, puppet shows, Bible lessons, and crafts) and show Christian films in the worker camps. We also include something related to health/hygiene (ie. checking for lice, washing hair, or teaching teeth brushing or hand washing) in order to improve their lives physically.
My initial plan, after being freed from university, was to spend a couple years learning skills, learning about life in general, and being prepared spiritually before going on a two or three year long mission. Rarely in life do things work out exactly as planned. As Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." This summer God taught me that all I need to do is fully surrender and simply step out in faith, trusting that He will provide the necessities when the time is right.
God also taught me that three months in Mexico is not nearly long enough when my passion for helping others is still burning strong as I pack my bags to come home. This is why I will be returning to Mexico for a few more years. Make no mistake, I am not trying to save the world. I suppose my biggest fear is waking up at the tender age of 48 and having to live with regrets - regrets about not going against the norm, regrets about not using my time/resources to help others, and, most importantly, regrets about not living my faith. Matthew 6:33 says, "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness." I guess, in a small way, this will be my goal as I serve others in Mexico. And I will always look back upon the road trip which began in May of 2002 as the most strange, and amazing holiday I ever expect to take.
Steve Monks (with the Rev. Ed Hird) St. Simonís Anglican Church, North Vancouver
The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector, St. Simonís Anglican Church
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St. Simon's Anglican Church
North Vancouver, B.C.