I had asked God to use me – to give me some direction or point me where he needed me to be. Within four months I was on a bus in the middle of Mexico on a missions trip with five others. I knew that it was going to be life changing and that we were going to be a blessing to the family that we were going to build a home for, but I truly had no idea how the Lord would bless me in return in immeasurable ways.
Looking back, I see the hand of God all over this trip. I went down to San Quintin with the goal of building a home…it’s the focus of your fundraising and its what gets you there. Wood, saws, tools and hard work were what I envisioned during the planning of my trip. Now that I have been home for a while, the reality was that now those “things” were the smallest parts in building this home. It was the much simpler moments that had such a huge impact.
We were able to see this woman that had been so abused for years, to a point of not being able to look you in the eye, start coming around. Over our five days I watched not only her smile grow but also her self confidence, laughter and joy. In those five days we were not only building her home, God was using us to build her back up. Her son was very shy; he barely spoke at all. He was the man of the house at a mere 13. Within days we watched him open up. He started to get silly with the guys. He helped in the build wherever he could and you could tell that he really enjoyed having the guys around. His mom said that we had come into his life at a time when he needed it most. He needed a friend, and more importantly, I believe God sent the guys on my team to touch his heart and give him some positive role models. Only they knew what had happened in the past with their father, but I believe the Lord was showing him something; I could tell he had changed. The daughter was a beautiful young lady. Looking at her and her smile you would never have known the world she had come from or that she had lived in the home she did. The only way I can explain it was she looked regal. She was very confident, incredibly smart and so loving. From the moment that I met her my life changed. I learned so many things about myself through her. She was always close to my side and I cherish every moment that I had with her.
We went to a church service at their home church. The service was in Spanish but we were so blessed to have the most amazing translator with us. There was a moment in that service that I will never forget – that even when I think about it today I get the chills. During worship they were singing, and all of a sudden it came to me. A familiar melody; I recognized the song somehow. It was How Great is Our God… Sing with me how great is our God… The church was singing in Spanish and then I realized that my group was singing it in English… that we all sing the same praises to the Lord. No matter what edge of the Earth that you are on, what language you speak or what instrument you play, it’s a common language binding the family of God. We all sing the same praises. In my huge church in Langley to that clay brick church in San Quintin, Mexico…we were all the same. We were all one family under God.
Looking back now, I see this trip to Mexico was not so much about building a house but it was about building bonds. Building relationships, building confidence, building a hope for better days ahead. The house will sit on that land for years and be weathered by the winds and rain. What we left there in the hearts of those three people whom I now call my family will live on and bless others. Each of us walked away from this experience a better person. I am not one for goodbyes, and anyone who knows me knows that I cry at the drop of a hat. This goodbye broke my heart. They didn’t want us to leave and honestly, I could have left my life at home and stayed in that town. There is no better feeling then being the hands and feet of Jesus. Spending your days blessing others and in return blessing your own life so greatly.
One Life One Chance gave me the opportunity to find myself in Mexico. They gave me a chance to dig deep inside and find the real me again. In a world where you are surrounded by noise, and bills, and debt, and work, school, traffic, news… you have to listen closely to hear the voice of God. In Mexico I could hear it loud and clear. He was everywhere.
Erin Schulte – CLA Recovery Church