August 8, 2015 - Mexico
It feels like 6 weeks in Mexico went by just like that. One minute, I was on a red eye flight to meet my team at orientation and the next, I was saying goodbye to them at a church in Long Beach. This summer was so incredibly full: full of moments of joy and of sadness, full of realizations of the brokenness that individuals embody and that systems perpetuate, full of friendship, family, hospitality, and love that ran deep. Most of all, it was full of the Lord. It was full of what God was doing and how he was working. In the darkness, there was light.
It didn’t hit me that we had left Mexico until we got to the church we stayed at the week of debrief. Happiness, comfort, confusion, grief, and exhaustion hit me all at once and I was so incredibly overwhelmed. How do I come back from this summer? How do I even begin to put into words the things that I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, the stories I’ve heard and the encounters with God that I’ve had? How do I share these moments with family and friends and loved ones? How do I enter back in to life in America? How do I leave behind those that I came to love in Mexico? At first, I felt like I had to figure out all those things before my parents picked me up this past Friday. I thought that all the processing and learning had to be done in those five days and at the end of it, I had to be ready to share everything with anyone who asked.
Through debrief, however, I came to see how wrong that expectation was. Through moments of lament, crying and grieving, moments just listening to my team share stories, and times of quiet where I just sat with the Lord, I realized that there was no way to process these past 7 weeks in 5 days. Not only could I not do that, I’m not supposed to. I’m allowed to take time to let this experience sink in, it’s ok if I don’t have answers to everyone’s questions, and debrief goes so much farther beyond the week we spent in Long Beach.
This Trek changed me. I saw beauty, the way God created the world to be reflected in the hospitality and love that I received. I saw brokenness, in individuals, in families, and in the systems that have come to oppress so many in Mexico. I learned what Godly humility looks like, putting yourself in a posture of openhandedness and being willing to learn. I learned what it means to stand firm in what I have convinced of, life within the context of the Gospel, life with Jesus. I developed relationships with my team, with the staff I worked with, and with the families I became a part of. This world was created for good and we broke it, but because of Jesus, we get to be a part of restoring it; this summer was a taste of that restoration.
As everyone who took part in this summer moves on, we are all going different places. As a graduate, the real world is before me and in a month and a half, I will be going into the Peace Corps in Guatemala. Can Jesus be at work in a non Christian context? Although I doubted this for a long time, he showed me over and over again this summer that regardless of the context, he is working. This summer, I barely scratched the surface of what it means to be incarnational, missional, marginal, devotional, and communal and I am still figuring out exactly how to put this Trek into words; that is ok. In this life after Trek, there is only one thing that I am sure of, and that is that I want my life to be reflected by the values that I saw lived out on Trek, in Guatemala and beyond, wherever the Lord leads.
Written by Marissa