by Eliana Felgner

The church was like a sauna, only slightly covered by torn-up plastic. The red carpet-covered stage once filled with kids was now empty, with scraps of paper scattered all over. Glistening with sweat, I started to clean up the craft from that day’s activity.

I heard the shouts of “Adios, hasta manana!” from the boys and felt the embrace of sweet little girls. Exhausted, yet completely at ease, I picked up the bin of craft supplies and hauled it to the car. The one hundred degree weather was finally getting to me, and I wanted nothing more than to get into the van and begin the one hour car ride back to the place where it all began.

Freshman year of high school, I was offered the opportunity to participate in this thing called “Mexicali;” however, I neglected that opportunity because I simply did not want to go. Sophomore year the same mission trip came around again, and people were asking me if I was going to participate, and again my answer was no. However, I did end up going to Mexicali that year because of two people, Kate Giger and Emily Anderson.

Emily was always cheerful and positive, and she raved about how awesome Mexicali was. Mrs. Giger and I talked about it a few Sundays for a couple of weeks, and she simply said how much she knows I enjoy spending time with little kids and that I would have a blast in Mexicali. So I decided to embark on this journey, not knowing how much of an impact it would have on my life.

While in Mexico, after a week of ministering to little kids, we have a chance to stand up in front of everyone and give our personal testimonies. I sat listening to everyone’s, laughing, crying, and before I knew it I was standing at the front of the church with a microphone in my hand.

“I was on the border about coming to Mexico.” These were the first few words that came out of my mouth, and everyone started laughing. I did not realize the pun I had just said, but after the laughter subsided, I just kept talking.

I felt overcome with joy, but also panicked at the same time, because how could I have a testimony and what was I going to talk about?!

Isaiah 41:9-10: “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I found myself reciting this Bible verse, and I didn’t know why, but then I remembered. This verse was the confirmation verse I had picked out just a couple years before. I had finally found how I wanted to use my confirmation verse in my faith walk.

I was not in Mexicali for myself or a fun vacation; I was there to be a servant to the Lord and spread His never-ending love. We are called to be selfless servants of the Lord, and this is just one of many ways that I can do that.

This upcoming Mexicali trip, being the last one I will take as a student, is one that I plan to cherish. I look forward to returning to see the kids and adults I have built relationships with over the past two years, and spend a week ministering to them one last time.

After this year, I hope I will be able to return as an adult, but I will forever remember what my first trip taught me, that we are servants. So go in peace and serve the Lord.

For more information about the next trip to Mexicali, you’re invited to a meeting on Wednesday, November 19, at St. Luke-Ann Arbor at 6 p.m. in the West Wing, or on Sunday November 23, at Living Water after church.

Photo credit: Hannah Renken