Way back in 2011, I went on a missions trip with my youth group to Merida, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. We went for two weeks, and it was a life-changing experience. I stepped out of my comfort zone on a daily basis, had complete culture shock, and bonded with my teammates in a way that I will never forget.
This summer, a family from Merida came to my part of Pennsylvania to live at a camp and learn about Christian camp ministry. So, this week, the leader of the 2011 trip to Mexico organized a barbecue so that we could see each other again. I was so excited when I heard about this opportunity because, when I left Mexico, I didn’t think I would ever see any of those people again.
When I got to the barbecue and saw the family (Edward, Rocio, and Esteban), it was like being back in Mexico for a few hours– except that it wasn’t 110 degrees, and I could drink the water. I loved practicing my Spanish and catching up. Talking to them reminded me of my trip and how it stretched me spiritually in ways I never thought possible. I learned to trust God totally and completely on that trip because I simply had no other choice.
The other thing I was reminded of was the power of the global church. I feel like sometimes, especially in America, we can get really caught up in our little corner of the world and forget that we share this planet with billions of other people. It’s the same for the church– it extends out into these far corners of the world, and though you may not have anything in common with someone from Merida, Mexico, the bond two believers can share is incredible. Unless you’ve experienced this, I’m not sure you’ll know what I’m talking about, because it’s a feeling so hard to explain. When you meet a believer from a different country, though you may not share the same language, culture, likes, or dislikes, you have something so deep in common– your belief in Jesus– that nothing else matters.
I was beyond thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with my Mexican brothers and sister in Christ this week. I encourage you, if you ever get the chance, to put yourself in a situation where you can connect with a believer from a different part of the world.