A Mexico Mission Trip Memoir

By: Thea Young, 11th Grade Student
Ever wondered what a day-in-the-life of a student missionary looks like? Thea Young – an 11th grade student at CCA Fort Lauderdale – shares her daily experiences from the Mexico Mission Trip she got to take part in this semester with other CCA juniors. Learn how serving internationally changed her perspective and led to spiritual growth, and how you can get involved in global missions!

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Each year, juniors from Calvary Christian Academy’s Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood campuses have the opportunity to experience a mission trip to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. For over 15 years, this trip has been planned in partnership with Robert and Damaris Aguayo – Calvary missionaries who have planted a church and two Christian schools in the region.

As a high school student at CCA, I was looking forward to junior year the most because of this trip. Serving communities, sharing the love of Jesus, stepping out of my comfort zone, and staying in a different country without my parents were all experiences I had participating in my very first mission trip.

The Night Before My Trip

I was assembling all of my last minute packing items when I felt the butterflies in my stomach fluttering around. It was the night before my flight to Mexico, and the tossing and turning from excitement kept me up all night in anticipation. I couldn’t help but think of all of the new things I would see and the people I would get to serve.

 

Day 1

I first met up with my Mexico team at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and thanks to my trip leaders, we had an organized and timely start to the trip! When my team safely arrived in Cancún, we boarded a bus headed to Panabá – the small town we would be staying at and doing ministry. I still had some of the butterflies from the night before, but before I knew it, I was laughing and joking with all of my friends on the bus ride and barely noticed that we were already halfway through our four-hour bus ride!

It was dinner time when we arrived to our destination, and we were all so exhausted from our full day of traveling. The culture was a little shocking for all of us, as we immersed ourselves into a different language as well as different cultural norms like food and music, but we all knew God had us there for a specific purpose, and we couldn't wait to see how He was going to use us in the next couple days.

Day 2

My alarm went off at 6:30 AM, and while I would be struggling to wake up on a normal school day, that certainly wasn’t the case this morning. When I stepped outside my room, I saw the beautiful sunrise from the bullpen in the back of our hotel! We started our days off with devotions on our own, which really put me in the right mindset before going to serve the local children and school.

We drove to a local school in Panabá, and as soon as I walked in, the children were jumping up and down, waving to us excitedly. A few minutes later, I felt a little jolt on my legs; I looked down and saw a little girl wrapped around me, giving me the tightest hug. Her name was Kristen, and I had no idea how big of an impact we would have on each other's lives that day.

 
Kristen and I played, danced, and bonded the whole day and were glued to each other when doing activities. Although we had a language barrier between us, we communicated through playing, drawing, and dancing together. These simple activities were truly what connected us to each other. The hardest part about the relationship we made was the goodbye at the end of the day. She gave me a letter to keep as I was getting on the bus to leave, and I carried it with me the whole trip.

Day 3

The second day was one of the most significant days of the trip. We started our morning with breakfast and devotions in the book of James. After this alone time with the Lord, my team’s adult leaders – Ms. Fox and Mr. McGlashan – led a group debrief, and we got to share what God had shown us during our devotion time.

We then headed to the town of Tizimín where we visited a small special needs school. The kids were quieter and a little more shy than the school we visited the day before, but when I sat down with each of them, they all had the same amount of energy and joy as the other kids. We got to bless them with arts and crafts and engaging games, which they don’t get to experience regularly.

Communicating with these children was much more challenging this time around, but it really amazed me to see how my group stepped up and made an effort to try to connect with them as best as we could. After a long day of serving, we were back at our hotel, and I had the opportunity to lead worship on the guitar. It was my first time leading worship, but it was an amazing experience to lead for the first time with my group.

Day 4

 
On the fourth day, we visited Calvary Chapel Tizmín. We had a work project throughout the day, which involved us lifting cement and moving rocks to help build an addition to their church. We met so many new people through the church and had so much fun working together.

Later that day, we went around the town inviting neighbors to join us for the Vacation Bible School (VBS) we were going to lead! It was such a great feeling when we actually saw the people we invited show up and seeing how interested they were after we told them stories about Jesus through music and skits. We ended our night worshiping together as a group, which I got to lead again with two of my friends.

 

Day 5

After three long days of hard work, our day of exploring arrived. We climbed Mayan ruins, which were so cool to see, as they held so much history. We also got to swim in a cenote, which is an underground freshwater pool. Jumping into the fresh blue water and seeing a waterfall within the cenote was so much fun.

We then went to a small town where we looked around shops and ate the most delicious churros. We then drove back to our town of Panabá, debriefed about our day, and worshiped for the last night. Starting every day with a devotion and ending every night with worship was one of the most significant ways I grew closer to the Lord on this trip.

Day 6

The last morning was bittersweet. We were all sad to leave, but were also so grateful that we were able to help serve the communities of Panabá and Tizmín. This mission trip not only impacted my life, but also the lives of my classmates who also participated. Seeing the ways others lived outside of my own bubble in South Florida really changed my perspective and taught me not to take the blessings I have for granted. Serving on this mission trip was such an amazing opportunity, and I highly recommend it to both students and adults!

 
 
Thea Young is an 11th grade student who attends CCA’s Fort Lauderdale campus. Thea is very involved with the community and loves to help others around her. She is involved in several fundraising organizations locally and in school. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, yoga, and playing the guitar. Thea hopes to major in communications, public relations, or international relations when she attends college.

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