On Mission in Mexico: Three Students’ Testimonies

By: Alyssa Mendez
As Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale celebrates Missions Week 2022, we wanted to honor the 11th and 12th grade CCA student missionaries who recently traveled to Mexico for their class mission trip. After hearing their heartfelt testimonies, may you be encouraged to one day send your child on a mission trip and go on one yourself so that Jesus Christ’s name would be known around the world that He so loves.

Travelers from around the world escape to Mexico each winter to enjoy a beach vacation in paradise, but Calvary Christian Academy’s upperclassmen grabbed their passports and flew to the Yucatán Peninsula this past December and January for a different reason.

 
CCA’s mission trip to Mexico — in partnership with Calvary Chapel Mérida Centro led by Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale missionaries Robert and Damaris Aguayo — is an annual discipleship milestone that is offered to all juniors enrolled at the school. However, due to COVID travel restrictions last school year, this much-anticipated trip was canceled.

After careful consideration and prayer from CCA’s leadership team and gathering input from parents, the decision was made to move forward in faith with resuming international mission trips for the 2021-22 school year. Seniors who were unable to go on last year's trip were given the opportunity to take part in it this school year, along with juniors from CCA’s Hollywood campus.

Parents were ultimately in the position to decide whether their child would participate in this trip. New safety precautions were implemented such as COVID testing prior to departure, while in Mexico, and prior to flying back to the U.S.
[Mission Trips] play an integral role in the spiritual development of CCA’s Upper School students.
 
This trip, along with the Bahamas Mission Trip that’s offered to 8th grade students, play an integral role in the spiritual development of CCA’s Upper School students.

“Over the past 15 years, this annual mission trip to Mexico has had a profound impact on the souls of CCA students,” said Aaron Mills, CCA’s Head of Upper Schools who also served as a trip leader this year.

“Through our international church and school partnerships, our students have an incredible chance to put their faith into action, develop compassion through service, and draw closer to Jesus as they understand God’s heart for the world, all while serving alongside amazing missionaries on the ground in Mexico,” Mills said.

THREE STUDENTS' TESTIMONIES

We got the chance to connect with a few students who went on both the 11th and 12th grade trips this year and ask them questions about their experience. May their heartfelt, reflective responses encourage you to consider sending your child on a mission trip in the near future and going on one yourself!

 

What was the most memorable part of the Mexico Mission trip for you?

“I had so much fun doing mission work and growing closer with my friends. I loved travelling and seeing the untouched, rural beauty of Mexico. I also loved the impact that spending time with little kids had on me, even with a language barrier. I was expecting to be overwhelmed by not speaking fluent Spanish, but the kids were patient and tried to show us what they wanted to say, and having the help of translators by our side was a blessing.”

– Naia Montes, 11th grade
I also loved the impact that spending time with little kids had on me, even with a language barrier. – Naia
 

In what ways were you challenged on this trip? How did God stretch you?

“I was asked to share my testimony twice. The first time was in front of school kids, which wasn't as nerve-wrecking, but the second time was in front of a church, and I had every 5-6 words translated. I felt a lot more pressure to deliver that message perfectly but my leaders and peers reassured me that God was using me and my willingness for His glory.”

– Alyssa Clarke, 12th grade
My leaders and peers reassured me that God was using me and my willingness for His glory. – Alyssa
 

What was one thing God opened your eyes to on this trip?

“God made me realize many things on this trip, one of them being my corroded empathy for others. I’ve recently found myself in a state of apathy toward others in an effort to protect myself from hurt or pain, and I didn't realize how deep into this apathetic state I had gotten until I was pushed into a position where I had no choice but to care. Seeing these beautiful families and such a big community filled my heart with a desire to show love, kindness, and spread the Gospel through my actions to others. I felt a renewed sense of empathy, one I did not realize I had been lacking for some time.”

– Kemarah Thermidor, 11th grade
I felt a renewed sense of empathy, one I did not realize I had been lacking for some time. – Kemarah
 

How did your trip leaders contribute to your mission trip experience?

“My trip leaders were troopers who were patient and innovated at a moment’s notice. Their encouraging words in the tiring times were helpful. They also shared laughter and happiness with us, and I enjoyed being able to get to know them on a personal level. They were also hands-on so their willingness to work and not just monitor from a distance encouraged me to work and give it my all.”

– Alyssa Clarke, 12th grade
Their encouraging words in the tiring times were helpful. – Alyssa
 

Why do you think it's valuable for kids your age to go on Mission Trips?

“It is extremely valuable to go on a Mission Trip at this age because it opened my mind up to a different view on life. Seeing rural areas made me appreciate what I had but also made me long to grow closer to God as I saw how happy the people were despite their poor conditions. Understanding this at a young age has impacted the way I view the world going into my adult life.”

– Naia Montes, 11th Grade
__________________________

“I highly recommend for kids my age to go on Mission Trips at any stage of their spiritual journey. CCA does a great job of implementing teachings that apply to the Gospel and how to grow in your walk with Christ. So spiritually, I was prepared for this trip, but it was more about living out what I had known to a fuller extent.”

– Kemarah Thermidor, 11th grade
. . . made me long to grow closer to God as I saw how happy the people were despite their poor conditions. – Naia
 

What would you tell 10th graders who will be going on this trip next year? Any advice or encouragement?

“Work with your teammates, whether they’re your friends or not, and be open to making new friends. We walk the halls with the same people for years, knowing nothing about them, and sometimes that doesn’t change until a mission or out-of-school trip takes place.”

– Alyssa Clarke, 12th grade
__________________________

“I would tell them not to worry about what others are thinking while they are ministering. Just ask God to use you and your gifts and He will.”

– Kemarah Thermidor, 11th grade
Just ask God to use you and your gifts and He will. – Kemarah

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

If you are interested in learning more about the full breadth of spiritual growth opportunities that are available to students in Pre-K3 through 12th grade at Calvary Christian Academy, you’re invited to join us for our upcoming spring Open House!

 
Alyssa Mendez has served as the Content Specialist on CCA’s Communications team since 2019. She holds an M.S. in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University and a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida. Alyssa attends Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale with her husband and also served as a trip leader on this year’s 12th grade trip to Mexico.

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