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Mission to Mexico

Sermon - 4/06/08
Mission to Mexico Participants -- Youth and Adults
First Christian Church, Eugene, Oregon

17 youth and 6 adults traveled to Mexico over spring break where they built three homes for those without shelter.  This morning they led our worship service as they shared their experiences.

Let us together celebrate the presence of the awesome God we worship and serve.

Kelsey Hertel wrote the words and music to the following song (first song she's ever written!):

She Gave Me Everything

I was a stranger,
But she ran to me with open arms.
I didn't speak her language,
But she sang with me a simple song.

My eyes were closed,
But she always found me.
She had nothing,
But she gave me everything.

She was an angel,
Sent to me from God above.
He knew she would change my heart,
Open it to love.
A miracle never asked for,
She was a perfect gift.
As her arms held me,
She gave me everything.

I was frightened,
But she comforted me with a hug.
My heart was lonely,
But she blessed it with her love.

I cried when we said goodbye,
But she wiped away my tears.
She had nothing,
But she gave me everything.

(Repeat Chorus)

She showed me,
How to care,
How to give.
She showed me,
How to love,
How to live.
She had nothing,
But she gave me everything.

She was an angel,
Sent to me from God above.
He knew she would change my heart,
Open it to love.
A miracle never asked for,
She was a perfect gift.
As her arms held me,
She gave me everything.


The following reflection is from one of the adult members of the Mission to Mexico team:

I have often wondered about the impact of what we do in Mexico.  It seems so self-serving at times.  We take a few days out of our lives to go and build houses in a foreign country.  We come home and pat ourselves on the backs.  And yes, our lives are changed, but what about theirs?  What does building a 16 x 20 foot structure (or even a 16 x 40 foot one) really do for them? Although we talk a lot about how little they have, they seem rich beyond measure to me:  they have each other, they have community and they have faith.  In many ways it is much more than anything that we can give them.  We dot their landscape with little houses and then we go home all righteous.  Do we really change things for the better?

The answer to this question was given on this year's mission trip.  On the last day of building, we always have a fiesta.  Everyone who has joined our extended family by having a house built for them is invited to the party.  Sometimes we go and pick up folks who need a ride.  A group of us set out at dusk to take some food and hygiene supplies to Martin and Rosa and their children and to bring them back to the festivities with us.  Martin and Rosa and their family of five kids were the recipient of a double house last year, and of the three families I had served at that point, seemed the least likely to sustain what had been given them.  They had no water, no electricity, no car...they were living a subsistence living.  They seemed cut off from their community.  I was worried that the house would be in shambles and their lives would not have be lifted much.

Boy was I wrong.

We arrived at their house in grand American style, by getting our fancy American car summarily stuck in the Mexican mud left from irrigating the fields.  Rosa and Martin must have been waiting for us because no sooner had we gotten out of the car to assess our 'stuckness', we saw them running down the road armed with shovels.  I decided to start towards the house with our packages and Rosa met me with arms open saying how happy she was to see her new American friends, that God had brought us there.  Martin greeted me with a big smile, and looked twice as robust as last year.  All the kids came running up as well, greeting us with big hugs around our knees.

Martin immediately started on getting us unstuck, while Rosa took one of our youth to a store to call for help.  Martin shooed me into the house, insisting that I get out of the mosquitoes, but not before he had given me his prized possession, the key to his home.  I walked with the kids towards the house and was so amazed by what I found.  Where there had been a pile of shacks, the yard was now clean; there was now running water and electricity.  There were the beginnings of a fence around the house to keep the dust out.  The inside of the house was clean and tidy, and the kids, who were very excited about the fruit snacks and toothbrushes we had brought, were all chattering away in Spanish, and insisted on showing me their rooms and their school photos on the wall.

Well, car help finally arrived and we made our way back.  But we couldn't leave without saying goodbye to our new family and Martin shared that he knew God had sent us to be with them once again.

The answer was clear.  We had believed in them enough to give them the gift of our time and our love.  We had given them a little boost and they had taken the initiative to move forward. We had each shared something across the cultural and social divide of our countries:  we are all God's children, and when we treat each other from that place, and believe in each other's ability to grow with God's love, amazing things can happen, even if it just starts with a house.

Eliza Drummond, First Christian Church, Mission to Mexico 2008.


Some additional pictures taken during the 2008 Mission to Mexico trip:


All hands on deck as a house nears completion.

A visit to a local orphanage provided some international tickling.

Local orphanage near the construction sites.

A family begins decorating their new home.

Kids can't wait to see inside!

A children's bedroom awaits.

Scripture is read at a dedication of a new home.

Workers are plum tuckered out.

Those crazy American's aren't afraid to get their hands dirty!

Or their legs!

John and Robin celebrate by dancing on a new sub-floor!


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