by Lindsey Clements

Going into Mexico, I knew God was going to change my life in a dramatic way. I didn’t know how, but I knew he would. I had been extremely stubborn and didn’t listen to anything God told me to do in the past couple months. I was living my own life and I thought it was going good. I knew that if God intervened in my life it would be flipped upside down and I wasn’t ready for that. I was lazy and selfish in my walk with God.

The first official day of the trip we went to watch the sunset at night on the beach in San Diego. Paul had given us a tiny sermon about God’s love and how it never fails. He then wrapped it up with a prayer, praying that we would all be willing to change on this trip and keep an open mind. Then he sent us off to have a personal reflection time.

I knew that if God intervened in my life it would be flipped upside down and I wasn’t ready for that.

I prayed what I knew God had been waiting to hear for a long time – for Him to change me from the inside out. I told Him I was ready. After that prayer, I felt overwhelming joy and peace in my heart. I couldn’t help but be anything but happy and willing.

Each day, I grew closer to the people on that trip with me and the people I had just met for the first time. God tested me with the overwhelming amount of work he gave our group. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t know that was going to be a way God would change me. I worked for hours in the blistering heat doing whatever Kate, my youth leader, told me to do. I was willing.

My group and I would do half of the day doing hard labor: painting the outside of the church, building a new room upstairs, installing sinks and toilets, and whatever else needed to be done in that church. The other half we spent leading a Vacation Bible School program.

On Wednesday night, we went to the church were we had been working for a church service. The pastor asked if there was anyone willing to come up and share their testimony or something that was on their heart to say. I was nervous but I went up- I am not in the slightest a good public speaker. I tried to just get out a few words of gratitude for everyone there. Even though I didn’t say much, and the words that came out of my mouth probably didn’t make any sense, I could tell that people knew what I was trying to say. They expressed their gratefulness for me as they always do.

The last night we were there was when God broke me completely. He had been subtly changing me throughout the week, but that wasn’t enough. I needed to be broken completely to truly change my hardened heart. The speaker touched on every point I had been struggling with: you have a purpose, don’t let others define you, others may not understand and they might judge, and you have to make your faith your own.

You have a purpose, don’t let others define you, others may not understand and they might judge, and you have to make your faith your own.

He then asked if anyone had been pushing God away. He had those people stand up. I was terrified, but I stood up. I was so vulnerable at that moment, having hundreds of eyes on me. I just closed my eyes and focused on what mattered at that moment. Tears were streaming down my face as I apologized to God for neglecting my relationship with Him and for being selfish.

I told Him to let me remember how I felt in that very moment so I would never distance myself as far as I had from Him again. I sat back down and felt a million hands on me, some praying for me, and some just giving me support. Everybody in our St. Luke group (plus Stephanie, our group’s encourager) prayed over one another and then went to bed.

The next day we packed up, did our last missions work and headed for San Diego. There we went to Mount Soledad where Paul gave another short sermon and sent us off again for personal reflection. That time I was super excited to talk to God. I ran and found a spot that overlooked San Diego and reflected on God’s creation for a couple minutes. I prayed for guidance when I got back home. I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to take all that God had taught me that week home.

A couple minutes after I was done praying Paul came up to me. He asked me about the trip and I broke down crying because of how worried I was. I told him what I was going through and how I needed God’s help through it and he related with me. After a couple minutes of conversation and a whole lot of tears from me, he asked if he could pray for me. He prayed for guidance for me and strength. I knew that God was talking through him comforting me and telling me that I would be okay.

I wouldn’t have changed if it wasn’t for God working through the people on that trip. Without Paul’s prayers for me, Kate’s pushing me to do more, or help from Rachael and the rest of the group I probably wouldn’t have changed much. They helped me to serve God with complete willingness and it turned out to change my life.

Sure, it’s only been a few weeks since we got home but they gave me the push I needed to change into whom I needed to be. Mexicali changed my mind set in more ways than I could ever imagine. I know now that whenever it’s time for me to be a leader, I will step up. With the power of God and his word behind me pushing me and giving me the knowledge of the right things to say, I can make a difference.

“Christ Be All Around Me” by Leeland