August 22, 2019
I participated in the Estado 29 Mexico orphanage, mission trip for the fourth time this year. Throughout the course of the year, the other participants and I look forward to the week we get to be welcomed into a place where the veil between Heaven and Earth is overwhelmingly thin. Everyone there, whether they live in the orphanage or are part of our group, are brothers and sisters in the eyes of God. We are all a loving family.
Each year, there are always kids who we have seen in previous years and children who have arrived in the past year. But, whether or not they know us, they are always eager to welcome us for the week. We spend the week playing with the kids, running a smaller-scale VBS in the mornings, teaching English, and participating in worship. This year we took the kids to see the newly-released live action Lion King movie and they loved it! It was in Spanish, so I didn’t understand any of it, but it was the best movie experience I’ve ever had. It was so touching to see the kids react to the movie by singing along to the songs and laughing at all the jokes. The whole experience is something I hold very close to my heart.
This year, I connected with the teenagers a lot more than in previous years. My favorite night was when we were all laying on the ground, stargazing up at the sky. Then, the boys had to go to their room to get ready for bed, but they opened their door and started playing different dance songs they wanted us to teach them. So, we were all having a dance party at night, which was so fun. Then, Dylan Holt and I taught them how to play a game called Ninja, which they instantly loved. We played it all week with them and shared so many laughs over the game. The teenage boys taught us a game called eighteen, which is a tag-like game. One person would be “it” and then everyone else would hide and run if they were found. If they were tagged, they would also be “it”, creating a team. So, when we were hiding, all the boys would show us the best places to go around the vicinity. One of the funniest memories from the game is when one of the boys was hidden so well, since he knew the best places in the orphanage, that he had to make animal sounds in order for us to find him. All the games created an environment of friendly competition, which resulted in many jokes and laughs.
Throughout the week, everyone’s individual experiences combined to create an overall memory of unconditional love and faith. The four years that I’ve been participating at Estado 29, the community and the presence of God have revealed to me an environment that is truly the epitome of Heaven.