By Emily Anderson

When someone asks me about my experiences with the Mexicali mission trip, I almost can’t answer because of all the different thoughts swirling in my head. It spans such a huge section of my life, and it has shaped me in almost inexplicable ways.

When I first went to Mexico I was just a freshmen, unsure of myself, struggling with holding up my beliefs in a public school system. Being able to escape the pressures of what every day seemed to be, it was such a blessing. I was in a safe place, where people wanted me to share my love. A place where the little girl in front of me wanted to hear about the love Jesus had for her even if she didn’t quite know who Jesus was yet or didn’t understand exactly what I was saying.

The Mexicali mission trip was a place where love was spread in such potent ways. Through singing and dancing, through laughter and hugs, through translation screw ups and tickle fights, there was support, there was community, there was welcome, there was God. When I was coming from a place where it seemed like people were against me, where I felt like I was told to be quiet and to not speak out, the experience having someone in front of me eager to learn and understand was the most refreshing feeling in the world. It reminded me that I had a purpose, that following Jesus gave me purpose. The Mexicali experience ripped me away from the electronic world, from drama, from every day first world problems and put things in perspective.SONY DSC

It doesn’t stop there. As I continued to go back to this place where the people blessed me and gave me hope, my experience changed. I came to have close relationships with the adults and teenagers that lived there. I was able to find my niche with others. I was blessed over and over again by insights from people, by different perspectives, by the worship every morning and night.

In my senior year of high school my experience took on another change. I was able to lead. I was given the opportunity to organize and help everyone else on the trip. For me, it changed from a trip that built my faith and taught me to serve to trip where I found my path. It was on my senior year Mexicali trip that I realized I wanted to work like this all the time. That nothing else would ever compare. That going into youth ministry and helping people was God’s calling for me.

It reminded me that I had a purpose, that following Jesus gave me purpose.

My story is not special. I don’t stand alone. Though not everyone hears their life calling when they head out to that dusty town, it is still an amazing experience. You can find peace, you can lose yourself in service to people who need the help. Even if you just want to hang out with your youth group friends. Even if you just want something to do over your break, or you like having a full out worship band for your quiet time every morning and night. Even if you just need to remind yourself that there are other teens that want to serve God and want to praise him, come. Come all who are thirsty, for in this desert, there is a well of peace, of love, of God.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Mexicali Mission Trip for 2014 come out to one of our info meetings: Sunday November 17 – 5:30pm at The Dive in Whitmore Lake (364 E Shore Drive) or Wednesday November 20 – 6:00pm at St. Luke Ann Arbor.