Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mexico Reflections


Some musings on my past weekend of building a house for a family in Mexico:

Junior highers are some of the most remarkable people you will ever encounter. I like to say that junior high ministry is people ministry, only to the extreme. Their humor, their energy, their passion, their desire for God--it's like adults, only pushed a bit more to the edge. They have wonderful stories and dreams and imaginations. Their sorrow is deeply felt and their joy is vividly expressed. Spending a weekend building a house alongside them was an incredible blessing. I also was blessed to serve alongside a number of my volunteers, who are themselves remarkable people who continually bless me.

The kingdom of heaven is already here (and not yet). Everyone worked without grumbling or complaining. Junior highers, college students, parents, and elders from Red Mountain all worked alongside the Mexican family we were serving. Even the family we built a house for last year showed up to help build this new home. When asked what we were thankful for after the first day of work, one of my volunteer staff, Amber, said "laughter." I fully agree. The kingdom of heaven will be a kingdom of laughter, the ridiculously joy-filled noise that comes from deep within and transcends all cultures and languages. I laughed a lot on this trip, laughed until my face and stomach hurt, laughed until tears streamed down my face and I was short of breath. The kingdom is here, and its soundtrack is the sound of united laughter.

Grace is a mystery. I'm adopted. I was born to a young Mexican-American woman living in west Texas. I don't know much about her, but I do know that she was single and likely not very wealthy. When I see poverty in Mexico, I can't help but wonder if that could have been me. I could have been aborted. I could have been abandoned. Best case scenario, I could have been raised by a poor single Mexican woman in west Texas. None of those are my story. That is grace.

It is also grace to be born in a place where my basic needs can be met. Our Mexican family had a child with severe physical disabilities. He could not walk and barely spoke; he mostly sat in a chair or was carried by members of our team. The parents will likely have to bury their child in a short time. I came home and fell asleep weeping next to my healthy infant son, thankful that he is healthy and safe. This family is no different than me, yet they have experienced so much more loss. I cannot wrap my mind or heart around that. I have been given an extraordinary amount of grace. Now it is my charge to extend that grace to others, to forgive and bless and love as I have been forgiven and blessed and loved.

Grace is mystery to me, but it is a mystery worth spreading around.

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