Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Arriving in the Rio Grande Valley, by guest blogger Sarah Weber
Well, I've been asked talk about what's happened so far on this great trip, but as I'm having a hard time condensing the past (almost) five days into one readable post, I'm going to stick with Friday through Sunday.
Friday we were greatly blessed with great (or so I thought) travel. The van was comfy, the company was fun, and I totally rocked at rummy. I'm pretty sure I also slept more than anyone else.
Upon arrival in Mission, TX (after traveling through such adventurous conditions as extremely thick fog and a very sleepy driver), we experienced H.E.B. Plus, drove to the church/parsonage, unloaded the van, and promptly collapsed. At least, everyone else did. I stayed up and decorated my room. Later we had frozen yogurt and a brainstorming session. I went to bed thinking that it all was way too enjoyable for a mission trip.
And then, suddenly, it was Sunday morning.
It began with breakfast tacos, and took off from there. After breakfast, we met Hermana Hope who, in a whirlwind of energy and conversation, whisked Billy and I off in the church van to pick up kids from a neighborhood around the corner. As soon as we returned with the first load of boys, we were asked to take over the two children's Sunday School classes.
"They love to do crafts. Just do any crafts you want," she said, then the door closed and I found myself in a room full of kids eager to do anything they could get their hands on (why do they make shelves at child-reaching levels?).
Believe it or not, it was pretty fantastic. Sure, I didn't get much of a lesson in, and to say that it was organized and under control would definitely be exaggerating. But despite recreating the sea of Galilee in the floor, and my having to ask each child what their name was at least five times, it was an incredible blessing. And, just as all hope of order had been abandoned, it was time for the church service. Perfect timing!
After a little bit of worship through song and prayer, the kids were sent to Children's Church, and I offered my services. I got to work in the nursery, which pretty much meant sitting there smiling at adorable kids who were far more interested in entertaining themselves than my attempts at playing with them.
That night, we had a sort of fellowship at the parsonage, and I was able to get better acquainted with the church members. I had been nervous about meeting so many new people, but it was an amazing blessing. The congregation is mostly made up of children and... not-so-children. Trying to get to know sisters in the faith around my grandmother's age was a cool experience. While some of them don't speak much English, and I don't speak much Spanish, we were able to communicate through translators, hand motions, and laughter. You know that Christian connection that everyone always talks about? The one where you meet another Christian and click immediately because of your common bond in Christ? That's how I feel about these women. It's like being surrounded by a group of great aunts. I love it.
After the church members had left, I was given a ride through the orchard that surrounds the church on the back of a golf cart. The weather was amazing, the oranges smelled divine, and the sky was beautiful. It was like God's signature at the end of a love letter called Sunday.
There was something very special about Sunday. It was a day of restful exhaustion; a day only a God who does not conform to the silly standards of what we think determines a good or a bad day could have come up with. At least, that's how I experienced it.
And so ended our first full day in Mission, Texas.
(This from Billy, pictures and more to come in the next post)