Day 9 – Saturday, July 5
Hey Summit – Just want to take a couple of moments to thank you all for your prayers throughout the last 8 days and also prior to departure. Prayer has power and for me it was evident it so many different ways throughout this trip… to see the youth leave Kamloops in a loose group at the beginning and as time passed on they became a tighter group that gave of themselves to serve others in such a short time. Very cool to see and my prayer is that after we get back to Kamloops they are able to keep that bond despite business or peer pressures. 🙂
But before I go on and on I am to share the events of Day 9- the crazy ” Leaving Day” where most are kinda excited yet kinda sad as they are leaving some new friends and new experiences behind. Up early to eat, clean the dorm (yes parents your kids did an awesome job) and load the vans with the hope of leaving by 8 am to beat the massive line ups at the Mexican border crossing. With the goodbyes done and team photos complete we did manage to hit the crazy (yet very fun to drive) Mexican freeway by 7:48 am ! As expected it took over an hour and a half just to reach the Tijuana side of the crossing where last minute bartering (even though the Nationals seemed to work together on supply the goods with some obvious price fixing) took place on the fly as the vans crept ever closer to the USA border. Even there the drama never quit both vans were pulled aside for a “secondary” search thus putting us into another detaining area at which we sat for another hour and half only to see the fella in front of us being throughly searched and repeated visits by the US Border Guards resulting in him being put into handcuffs right in front of our van full of wide eyed teens! We were next ! Drug dog did a walk around us as well and a Guard went through our van front to back (couple of youth arrested – Gerald will be contacting those parents for plans to extradite later- JUST KIDDING) and only one piece of contraband found- an apple core which had to be tossed before we were allowed into the USA.
This part of the trip really plays on your mind as we leave the border crossing and enter a land of milk and honey! Found our hotel after another 2 hours on the freeway (bumper to bumper) where the rules of the road are followed (had to re-learn to use signal light) and had nice shower before heading out to our first American meal after 6 days. Knowing full well we have just left a country were the people work so hard just to make ends meet and put a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families- and to see food being left on the table by other patrons (our group inhaled their meals) bothered me. This first day back has a feeling of being distant and surreal as the common sights of the USA are so different to what the group has just experienced living in manner similar to the frugal life of the Nationals. This was again so loudly evident when we went to Downtown Disney for a late supper in a setting that seemed to be from another planet and yet we were no more than 3 hrs north of people that struggles so hard. We all have been given so much in so many different ways – we do have the ability to help and bless others.
This trip has so many great memories for me and it would be difficult to convey in this short blog but I will leave you with a few that are prominent right now :
– parents you should be proud as the youth as they willing served in building houses (6 in total), washing feet and hair of young kids , treating lice, handing out food (LA homeless as well) and just playing with the local kids in extreme heat – with no complaining just large smiles and stories as we got back to the vans at the end of each day!
– Letting themselves give – as individuals or as a group to bless other local kids as they just played with them at the orphanage.
– being able to do something so small as pound a couple of nails for a day and see the smile of the receiving families as we as a team built a very modest structure that has truly altered their lives in a positive manner.
– being in a large group of likeminded fellow Christians sharing life experiences at the dorm is affirming that God is at work in a lot of different lives but all serving him .
– lastly I have to mention the awesome food at various restaurants that flood your senses with sights and sounds of a Mexican evening which you top off at the best Ice Cream place ever….Fresca de Crema is the bomb….
Thanks again for your prayers and if you want more stories do not hesitate to talk to me after church sometime!