I received the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Vicente Guerrero, Baja California, Mexico from August 2-16, 2017, with a few people from our youth group this year. Members of our group joined with other church groups and together we journeyed South on a coach bus.

Travelling together brought me so close to people who, two weeks earlier, were strangers to me. I wish I never had to leave this group of people because they have really become family to me. I didn’t think you could become so close to people in that short amount of time. Some may think that the bus ride would be terrible, but the bus rides were some of the best bonding times.

At the orphanage, we stayed in the visitor centre. Every day, we would eat our meals in the dining hall with the centre’s staff and children. The food was amazing. Breakfast is when we’d receive our day’s assignment and then head out to work under a staff member. There were plenty of jobs to do such as working in the nursery, pulling weeds, cleaning bathrooms, helping in the kitchen, sweeping the gym, working on vehicles, and much more.

Babysitting the children was one of the most fun and best parts of the trip because that is when we got to make connections with the kids in the orphanage. The children knew enough English to talk with us making communication easy. The kids would see us, run up to us, hug us, and say, “Hi!” because they always wanted to show us the love they had for us and gratitude for our loving them.

Some of the days we would leave the centre to go on various outreaches. We’d give out peanut butter and milk to malnourished kids. A translator would accompany us to help us share about Jesus.

The second outreach is called Rancho De Christo (a Christian-based rehabilitation centre for men). The man who runs it, Hans, started it about seven years ago and it has blossomed into a beautiful centre where men find recovery and salvation in Christ. Hans talked to us during lunch about how happy he was that we came and helped them. He had tears of joy for the work that we did and because what we did meant so much to them. He said “no one ever comes to visit or help us because of the people that get help here, why would people want to help alcoholics or drug addicts.”

Our travel home was just as fun, if not more, than the drive down to Mexico. We stopped at Six Flags and spent a day riding roller coasters.

My week of serving at the orphanage opened my eyes to what God has in store for my life. The Mexico trip is so far, the biggest thing I have ever done. Going and staying so far away from my home seemed crazy to me but I was so ready for it. After serving at the orphanage for a week I am finally realizing that this could be what I want to do with my life.

I have been so indecisive about what I want to do after graduation, but I feel like God is leading me towards this as His plan for my life. I feel like this is what I could spend the rest of my life doing because I love helping others and working with kids and not staying in my little town. I have never in my life thought of becoming a missionary, but I am now thinking that this is what God has planned for me. It is the craziest thing to feel like you have found something after being so lost for so long because I have been so lost on what career I want to pursue or what I want to do with my life, but right now I feel like this is what God has always wanted me to do.

At the start of this trip one of the leaders told us that God is going to do something big on this trip for us and that we would definitely see Him do something in our lives sometime on this trip. I doubted what was shared because I had never seen God in a big way and nothing amazing had ever happened to me like that. People have told me stories about how God has showed up in their lives and told them that this is His plan for them and I have never been able to relate because nothing like that has ever happened to me.

That’s why I am so shocked and am overwhelmed with what I experienced on this trip because I finally feel like I know what I’m doing with my life and where to go from here. I am not 100% if this is a for sure thing but I am so sure of it right now. God is calling me to do missionary work and to help and serve people who need it.

I am so thankful for this opportunity and I can’t wait to go back.