By Kristin Hori
Mexicali applications were due on my first Sunday returning to Evergreen after 10 years of being away. Being new to Evergreen, I was hesitant to sign-up. Going to Mexicali would mean spending my spring break in a foreign land with people I hardly knew. Despite my fears, I prayed about the opportunity. The Lord brought to mind Joshua 1:9 “ Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified and do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
As I released my fears to God, He calmed my heart and gave me the courage to obey His call. Because I trusted in Him, I can truly say it was an unforgettable and joyous experience.
In Mexicali, I was blessed to serve at Bethel Church. I attended worship services, fellowshipped with the youth, and enjoyed homemade Mexican food. Throughout the week, my team and I led VBS for the kids: we acted out skits, sang songs, taught memory verses, did crafts and shared testimonies. It was such a joy to build relationships with the kids, while serving alongside my team. Simply playing, talking, and laughing together was the highlight of my whole week.
After returning from mission trips, I’ve heard many people say they feel grateful for what they have. When I returned home, I experienced these same feelings. Yet, I also noticed that the people we served in Mexico possessed something that many of us here in America lack. True joy. I heard the joy in the kids’ laughter as they took delight in the simple things.
I witnessed the genuine smiles of Pastor Jaime and his family as they graciously served us. And, by the end of the week, I realized that I was starting to experience joy myself. Being truly joyful didn’t mean everything was easy or fun (port-a-potties, being covered with mosquito bites, and showering only twice the whole week was definitely not fun). Yet, God revealed to me an important lesson. By depending on Him, He was going to give me everything I needed. He was the source of my strength and courage. And through it, I was able to experience His true joy.