I didn’t actually go back to Mexico today, but since the 14 year old and I brought home a souvenir of our trip last weekend in the form of a stomach bug, we won’t be going anywhere soon. This cuts down significantly on my No Filter December photo ops for the day, and I have 308 photos from the weekend just begging to be posted somewhere, so I will spend the next few days doing a TBT of sorts. Despite the fact that it isn’t Thursday. And that I’m only throwing back a couple of days.
Friday, Dec. 5, 2014
We arrived in Rosarito at lunch time and met up with our missionary friends, the Wilsons, at Mariscos Tito’s. Just as I had predicted. There are certain elements of these missions trips that are predictable, and this is one of them.
The rest of the trip, also predictably, generally falls under the category of The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men.
In fact, David Wilson’s favorite thing to say when working with mission groups is, “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be broken.” It’s just an unavoidable aspect of taking 27 people from one country and coordinating efforts with a handful of people and a couple of organizations in another country, crossing both language and cultural barriers. A veritable plethora of cracks through which details may fall abounds in situations like this.
So one can either get bent out of shape that the Schedule Was Not Followed, or one can see these cracks as New Opportunities instead. We know this going in, so while we have an Itinerary, it’s considered, like the Pirate Code, to be “more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”
The rest of Friday actually did follow more or less according to the Itinerary, with the ten under-15-year-olds in the team joining with a local group of missionary kids to make Christmas cards to be given out through local ministries.
It must have been a little surreal for the kids, however, considering that they got up early in the morning, drove a long way on the freeway, then reached a scary place with high fences and guards with guns who might at any minute pull over one of the cars in the group and search it, and then found themselves in a place that looked completely different from the only world they had known so far in their lives, where everyone was driving crazy and nothing was in English except the signs for Office Depot, McDonalds and Burger King.
As if this wasn’t enough for one day, after an hour or so of acclimating to the foreignness of it all, these kids were piled into cars, bumped down some pot-hole-ridden roads and before they knew it, they were sitting around at a house on the beach with a bunch of American kids, eating sugar cookies and making Christmas cards.
Kids are resilient, so they handled it well. The cards were made, the kids filled up on cookies. At this point, however, due to some last-minute shuffling of team members, a couple of the mothers who had probably not intended to drive in Mexico found themselves faced with piling more kids into their cars than they had seatbelts for and following a caravan of cars through the streets of Rosarito at dusk during rush-hour. And let’s just say that traffic laws in Rosarito are another thing that tends to be treated like the Pirate Code. These women deserve an Award of Bravery.
In the meantime, the rest of the team was setting up for an appreciation dinner for volunteers at Capilla Calvario/Calvary Chapel Rosarito. The name of the church is such a mouthful because everything they do there, from the sermon to the worship songs to the announcements and signage, is bilingual. It takes a little longer, but it results in a wonderful melding not just of two languages but of two cultures into one, unified body of believers numbering above 1500 members. It takes a lot of staff and volunteer members to keep a church of that size going, and our team was privileged to be the ones serving them at the dinner.
Except for the kids, who were playing in the church playground.
It was at this point that our leader, Andy, told us he was coming down with the flu, so we pulled the kids off the swings and headed back to the guest house where we were staying.
I’m pretty sure the kids would have kept going all night if the parents hadn’t insisted on bed, knowing that we had to be up at 5:30 the next morning.
Youth is indeed wasted on the young.