Bright and early this morning (Saturday) we ate breakfast at our hotel and loaded up the bus to head to the border. We snuck in our last few phone calls to mom and dad and switched our phones into airplane mode just as the giant sign that read “MEXICO” came into view ahead of us.
Making our way into the country was relatively painless. I made the mistake of smiling and asking one of the men in customs “How are you?” in Spanish. I quickly realized I had far overstepped my boundaries of the Spanish language. Luckily he laughed and switched over to English to help me out. Next thing we know, we are being lead through the streets of Mexico by Carlos our bus driver.
The hour-long trip to Ensenada was strikingly beautiful. We traveled the coast the entire way down enjoying the company of the clear, blue Pacific Ocean. Eventually we reached our destination and pulled into The City of Children. We met our three translators, Pilar, Misael, and Laura Dorris. Yes, mom and dad, you read that correctly.
What do you know that I travel all the way to Mexico to have one of my cousins as a translator for a mission trip? It’s a small world and getting smaller. First stop before we make it to our home for the next week: Costco!
Here we experienced a first for many of the girls.
Forget crossing the border and traveling to a new country, at least four girls had to make it to Mexico in order to make their first Costco trip. Kelly Young assured me it was just as great as she hoped it would be, but Caitlin Plocheck is still partial to SAMs. I know what you are thinking, and yes, they hand out samples at the Costco in Mexico too! Despite the fact that JJ’s credit card company thought his card had been stolen and was being used for a shopping spree south of the border, we bought all of our food and other supplies for the week.
Next on the list: food. Disclaimer, when in a foreign country, you better believe I eat local as much as I possibly can. This is where Pilar took care of us. Coach Ryman, Riley, Jenna, Taylor, Kelly, and I followed Pilar to the most delicious little taco shop we could find. Between the homemade guacamole, chipotle mayo, and habanera salsa, my mouth was on fire, and my stomach was happy as could be. Don’t worry, no one went hungry.
The other girls found some pretty yummy tamales and burritos from what I heard! All we had between us and our home for the week was a three hour drive down the winding roads of Baja, California. The road was indeed long and windy, but then it all became worth it.
We made it to Colonet, BC and turned off of the winding road to a slightly more windy road made completely of dirt. We passed a few houses before turning left into a dust yard that held two buildings and a swing set. Before we could unload the buses two kids had run out to the swings. Laura and Samuel: our first two kids to meet. They immediately began doing flips and swinging as high as they possibly could to hold our attention before melting into laughter at our reactions. In that moment the chaos of customs, the mishap at Costco, and the three-hour drive were a distant memory.
We were here where God sent us, and the first relationships were being built.
We stayed a bit longer and assured the two that we would return the next day. We loaded the vans back up and headed the 15 minutes down the road to our hotel. Let me paint you a picture. Picture a serene desert scene somewhere in Arizona. Picture rolling hills and a sky that promises to never end. Feel the most perfect 70 degrees and sunny weather you have ever experienced. That is the picture to which we arrived. We all exited the vans and stood there in silent stillness for a few moments. The day had been chaos, but this moment was still.
I think you see where I am going with this. We finished the day after a FANTASTIC dinner by sitting around a table sharing our “Low lights” and “High lights” of the day (basically the bad and the good). I quickly realized I was not alone in being completely taken aback by the stillness we experienced.
The day had been long. The day had been stressful. But in that moment we all stopped to BE STILL and KNOW that HE IS GOD (Psalm 46:10).