Lessons from Mexico

During my time in seminary, I had the opportunity to go to Mexico as a translator for a missions trip. The youth pastor from my former church was leading a group of teenagers, and he asked me to go along because I knew the students in the group and because I studied Spanish for 8 years. This trip was my first missions trip, as well as my first opportunity to leave the country. I was 24 years old and wasn’t married or a mom yet.

Since it was my first missions trip, I didn’t know what to expect from the week. I knew that it was going to be challenging: I was spending a week with teenagers in a foreign country that didn’t speak my native language. I was excited about the trip, but I was nervous as well. My inexperience made me feel vulnerable and insecure, not the most comforting situation to be in when you have a Type A personality like me. So, I was out of my comfort zone. However, God stretched me during that week in ways that have eternal implications. Here’s what I learned on my Mexico missions trip:

• They don’t teach “Christianese” in Spanish class.

When we got to Mexico, I discovered I had difficulty communicating Christian themes or phrases that we take for granted in the United States. For example, I didn’t know how to describe sin or repentance. Thankfully, I had taken my English-Spanish dictionary. By the end of the week, I learned how to share the gospel in another language, and doing so helped me to value the meaning behind the words we use. I had a fuller understanding of the gospel as a result of learning how to communicate it in a second language.

• Worship transcends cultural and linguistic barriers.

During one of the VBS camps our group lead, someone began playing worship music in Spanish over a loud speaker. While the native Spanish speakers began to sing, our teenagers observed and listened to the music. As the singing continued, I saw some of our girls close their eyes, clearly moved by the Spirit-filled moment. It was breathtaking to watch genuine worship occurring in spite of the language differences, and it gave me a glimpse of eternity in heaven, when people of every tribe, tongue, and nation will worship around the throne.

• Leading someone to faith in Christ is a life-changing experience.

Prior to this trip, I had never led someone to declare faith in Jesus Christ. However, I was able to share the gospel with a young girl named Isabella, and she prayed with me to receive Christ. This encounter changed her life for eternity, and mine. I not only communicated the gospel in another language but also was given the great privilege of joining God’s work to build His kingdom. I overcame insecurity and fear and shared my faith boldly, and I discovered the joy of evangelism.
 

After my Mexico trip, I concluded that every believer should go on at least one missions trip in his or her life. The dying to self that occurs through going to another place for the sole purpose of declaring Christ through acts of service and words of gospel proclamation is a sanctifying work that we all need. And even if our efforts don’t end in someone declaring faith in Jesus, our joy is increased when we are faithful to obey God’s call to go and tell.

Even moms have the opportunity for missions trips. Have you considered bringing your children, too? For family friendly trips, check out wmu.com/trips.

 

 

Rachel Forrest is a 30-something working mom of two. When she’s not chasing her toddlers, you can find her nose stuck in a book. She also writes about the “coffee stains and growing pains” of motherhood at www.rachelforrest.me.

  

 

 

 

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