Untainted Eyes

Joyful, different, heart-opening, reassuring, laughter; these are just a couple of words we chose to describe our trip. It really is true that not a second goes by that we don’t have something to thank God for in this beautiful city of Mazatlán, Mexico. God is doing such great work here, and amazing things through Back2Back Ministries that we are so ecstatic to have been a part of it this week.
To give you a brief overview of what these past couple days have been like, I can say “we’ve never been more thankful”. We’ve had such great opportunities to play with children at a Salvation Army Home; running with them, loving on them, and even praying for them. We’ve gotten to work with children with special needs; doing equine therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and play with them at a nearby park. We’ve also had the opportunity to do work projects and help build walls around both children’s homes that will protect the children from dangerous situations and help them feel safer. And yet, we’ve also had the experience of sharing laughter, skits, music and stories with girls who’ve been taken out of their homes because of abuse and sex trafficking situations. God really has let us have a full experience here in Mexico this spring break.
I’m not quite sure what we were all expecting this trip before we got here, but I know that so many of us have been challenge to make a change in our lives as we return to the states. One thing about Back2Back that many of us have never heard of before is that they don’t share the children’s stories with the missions’ teams that come. At first a lot of us were sad, as we wanted to know who we were working with. But as we grew to love the kids and see them without the words abused, neglected, or trafficked on their foreheads, we were able to see these children as God sees them. It’s this opportunity to see through God’s untainted eyes that we’ve been able to love the children as much as we have this past week. Of course, we know they come from hard homes and have had trauma in their lives, but we don’t know the details that could directly affect our attitudes. However, we also know that this cannot affect our time with the children here in Mazatlán. God has blessed us time and time again this week in just showing us little glimpses into how He sees His children. Untainted, unconditionally loved, never forgotten, beautiful. This is how God sees His children, and this is how we’ve gotten to experience the people here in Mazatlán. But since we’ve begun to learn this amazing idea of seeing people through God’s eyes, we’ve been challenged to make a change in the way we view all people; in Mexico or in the United States. God has given us tools this past week to really see that it’s the person that matters, and that no matter what trauma, experience, or hardship they have experienced, they are still seen as beautiful children of God.
This week has been hard, draining, jam packed with activities and changes, but we couldn’t have asked for a more widespread opportunity to see God’s heart for his children. The Father loves His people, regardless of what their paths have shaped out to be. He knows they’ve been through hard times, He knows they’ve made mistakes; and yet in the end He comes to see them as beautiful and loved. Our team can only hope that this concept can be lived out as we head home in just a few short days, to love and to see others as God has seen His Children.

Diggin Up Them Holes

The adventures of Mexico have been nonstop since we’ve arrived in Mazatlán. Our first day here we went right to work, as we were told that children from the Salvation Army Children’s home would join us at the Back2Back home to swim. As flexibility is a part of every mission’s trip though, we found out that the children would not be coming and instead the girl’s home would be coming to swim with us instead. We had such a great time with the girls, swimming, playing spoons, coloring, and working on our Spanish skills through some amazing conversations and then finished our day with the group facilitator who shared his testimony.
Day two was as busy as could be as we went to a Spanish church, had lunch at a lookout that gave us an amazing view of the Pacific ocean, and then had the joy of going to the Salvation Army Children’s home to meet some adorable children, do skits, music and watch the children of the home show us a couple of cultural dances . Day three was all about the Salvation Army Children’s Home. We worked on a construction project the first part of the day, digging holes, bending wires, and jack-hammering away. Then the children got home from school and it was finally play time! This was a very exciting moment for us as we had been waiting all day for the children to arrive. We then did some more skits, sang some songs, made salvation bracelets and played numerous games of tag with the children.
All in all, these last 3 days have been absolutely phenomenal and have already proven to be a lasting impact on our lives. Each night we have debrief with our group facilitator and we’ve had the opportunity to talk about the experiences we’ve had so far in Mexico as well as reflect on what God has been teaching us so far. God really is doing amazing works in our lives and in our hearts and we are so ready to continue this journey with Back2Back Ministries in Mazatlán, Mexico.

3 Days Left!

With only a couple days left until we head out to Mazatlan, our team could not be more excited about the adventure we are about to embark on! Of course we are excited about spending time with children, working with Back2Back Ministries and immersing ourselves in the Mexican culture, however, we cannot express enough excitement about spending more time together as a team! Last weekend we had the privilege to spend a couple days together on a retreat; serving together, being vulnerable with one another, playing crazy games together, discussing our Enneagram results over dinner, and even attending a church together.

    The weekend first started out with an early morning drive to Fort Wayne, where we worked on a cleaning project for a women’s and children’s shelter. This project was a great opportunity to learn our different skills and how we can work together as a team to get something done. After our adventures in cleaning, we moved onto our debrief at Dunkin Donuts (because who doesn’t love Dunkin) and discussed our snapshots of the day; or some meaningful moment that we want to take away from this experience. We then proceeded to head to the home we were staying at and shared our testimonies, ate dinner and had Enneagram discussions, as well as worship and have some group bonding time. The night brought all sorts of emotion, but really opened us up as a team and taught us how to encourage and love one another. The next morning we had the opportunity to attend a church service in the area, and allowed us to spend time worshiping our God together.

    It was this weekend that really got us excited about spending more time together in Mazatlan. Mexico is something we are excited to experience, but more an adventure we are thrilled to take on together. It’s crazy to think in just 7 days we will be in a different country, using our individual gifts to glorify and worship our God. We ask that you would keep us in your prayers as we prepare for our trip in just a few short days! There are numerous people who are more than excited to go and focusing on this last week of school will be challenging as we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Please also pray for the people we will be working with in Mexico and especially for Back2Back Ministries and for all that they do throughout the entire year!

We hope you enjoy reading our blog and can’t wait to tell you all about our escapades in Mexico! 🙂