Last week I had the chance to go to Mexico for a few days. I was a little wary of going as I only knew two of the seventy people that were going to be on the trip. I have this underlying fear that I will be in a group of a lot of friends that do not want me to be friends with them. But after some words of encouragement from John I decided to go.
Bridget, Amber, and myself left about nine o'clock Thursday morning and arrived in San Diego a few hours ahead of everyone else. We just kinda hung out until the others showed up, which after a small car accident was about five hours. We got everyone together and began the drive down to Ensenata, It was a little crazy having a line of seventeen cars trying to stay together, but it all went really smoothly. After a stop for tacos we made it to the beach and set up camp.
The next day we packed up and headed to the orphanage. It was a little nicer place than I think I had imagined. I also don't think that I expected to see the kids so happy. I'll touch on that a little more a little later. After meeting the kids we broke off into groups, some painting beds and cribs, some reapplying lacquer to a jungle gym, and my group that went up to the neighborhood school to play with the kids.
Some played tag and others played kickball. One of the teachers grabbed me and we drew little flowers for the kids to color and cut out. After a little while I went and played tag for a bit. It was all a lot of fun. After lunch we broke off again, this time I was assigned to tree-decorating-duty. Tashina and I got out the boxes of ornaments and covered the huge fake tree with them and nearly a thousand lights. I did have to defer the angel to someone much taller than me.
After dinner there was a great variety show which included a first time performance for a band of With or Without You. There was a wrestling match, a clown, pies thrown in faces, a Beauty and the Beast reenactment, a magic show, hula hooping performance. . . . It was awesome. After, all of the kids got a bag of presents that someone had bought specifically for them. They came back in and excitedly opened them. It was a very magical feeling to see the excitement on their faces. I think that might have been my first real glimpse into how parents feel on Christmas morning. All very magical.
We camped around the orphanage that night so that we could get started early the next morning. My group began moving thousands of pounds of bagged flour from one building to another. I have never seen so much flour in all of my life!!! As soon as I find a picture of it I will post it. We got to go deliver little Christmas boxes later throughout the community. It was really neat. They had a few little toys, along with some rice, beans, and hygiene kits. Even though most of the people just smiled and said thanks as we stumbled our way through a Christmas carol, there were some really neat experiences. At one house we were invited in (there were only like ten of us) and sang to the woman's bedridden husband. At one house Bridget was immediately greeted with tears as she needed help so badly. They went back and gave several blankets and bags of things to help her out with her seven children. When the original boxes were gone, most of the group left, but ten or so of us went to deliver a few more bins of toys and bags of clothes. Word traveled pretty fast and people ran down the hill to come find us. It was a really neat experience.
We stopped back by the orphanage briefly to say goodbye and then headed to Ensenata for trinket shopping. As soon as everyone had their fill of bracelets and jewelry that they didn't really want in the first place, we returned to the beach for our last night. We gathered around the campfire and had a little testimony of sorts where people could share their thoughts or favorite parts of the trip. A random beach dance party followed, and then we took off a little after six the next morning to come home.
Overall it was really great for me. I am so glad that I was able to go and that I went. Even though I am not someone who suddenly feels bad for the material things that he has, it does make me appreciate a little more what I have been given. Going back now to the kids being happy, I know that part of it was the excitement of having so many visitors, and so many people that wanted to do whatever THEY wanted to do. But I also believe that those kids did feel some love from others around them. Those running the orphanage seemed to care, and they were surrounded by a lot of friends that cared about them too. Though they clung to the one on one attention because they didn't get that a lot, they were still in a pretty safe place. I'm glad that Heavenly Father has blessed them. They are dealt a very difficult card being orphans. That is their cross to bear in this life. But He takes care of them in different ways, and shows his love to them by sending them people to love them. And even though it puts into perspective how much the Lord requires of me because of the things I am given, I am still very grateful. Hasta la proxima Mexico.