Mexico Mission Trip
Upon meeting Caren for the first time, she was a quiet and small 9 year old girl who often kept her head down after you made eye contact with her. She still smiled and played games, and knowing she’s come a long way since her first year at Rancho Genesis summer camp, I knew I wanted to be gentle approaching her. On Monday I could tell she felt uncomfortable holding my hand; she would let go quickly and again, look to the ground. Tuesday at Vacation Bible School, she sat with the friends who came with her to camp, and refused any help during a paper maché project. I thought we were making headway when I saw her enjoying the beach on Wednesday, but when I would come near to play with her in the sand, she kept running away. Campfire that night, she said her favor- ite part of the day was playing with her ‘amiga!’ That’s Me! I was her Amiga!!! Okay so we’re getting somewhere, whew! At this point I said a prayer: “Lord help me be patient. Patient for You to work in her. Patient like You’ve been with me in my life. Lord, be her Shepherd, letting her know I’m a safe haven. Give me the words and the actions to show Your love to Caren.” Our God is so good!
Let me preface this by saying that Caren started coming to camp afraid of getting close to water and showing hesitance walking across shallow creeks. Thursday we went to a pool where I (hesitantly) asked her to go into the deep part, motioning how I would hold onto her and keep her safe. She agreed and we had a blast in the deep pool, creating a whirlpool with the other niños and amigos. Get this, on Friday we went to an- other pool and she asked me to take her down the slide near the deep end. How exciting was that! She was picking up hair ties from the bottom of the pool, and waving to me under the water. The day went by quickly, and Saturday we were all scheduled to leave camp and say our ‘God byes.’
A concert was given by all the niños to us amigos as the kids sang a beautiful song of ‘how great to have a friend like you who doesn’t hide their light in a drawer,’ and ‘we’ll always be friends you and I. Time and distance, nothing will change.’ As they sang the song, I kept noticing Caren. She sang the song without a tear, but never took her eyes off me. It was then I understood God was giving me that opportunity to practice patience in His story. Though she didn’t respond to me the way I’m used to with children, she still saw me, and she just needed my presence. She needed me there to watch her sing, to watch her grow, to applaud her when she went down the slide, to help her dig a big sand hole, to be consistent, and never cease loving her. My prayer was answered more than I had even asked. He needed me to be His hands and feet. Not my own, but His. God is our backbone, applauding us in the good, always loving, watching us grow, and willing to say ‘yes, I will hold you when you are afraid, and I will wait for you consistently.’
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