I thoroughly loved my recent project trip to Mexico. I think this trip had a common theme of how God orchestrates lives, times, places and meetings for our good and His glory. How do I start to describe this?
Maybe the first thing to say is the way that Love in Action heard of us. Daniel was a project volunteer on an EMI trip about 5 years ago. Then, as one of 10 children, he felt led to work with kids and took Spanish language school and eventually moved to Chapala, Mexico to do a 9 month internship at LIA’s facility. When we arrived, he found out about the ministry’s vision for the campus and connected them to EMI. It was a real pleasure to work alongside Daniel over the course of our time there and to see where God has been leading him.
Then we have our volunteers. What a special team! There were 14 of us on this trip and I must confess that I was worried. This was my first trip as a soloist project leader and that is a big group. How would I handle challenges and complications that would arise? Not simply the technical challenges but interpersonal ones, spiritual ones. I think God places these questions and doubts in our lives so that we will remember to look to Him – the author and perfector of our faith. Our loving and perfect Father. So, our team was amazing. It wasn’t a time without any challenges. Rather it was a time of Christian community. Caring for each other. Praying for one another. Seeing God at work. What a privilege it is to be able to watch God at work in the lives of His people when they give Him an open door!
Finally, we have the center of EMI’s attention. The ones our ministry partners are there to serve. Even now, my heart breaks for these children. The abandonment, physical and sexual abuse that these children have endured is difficult for most of us to imagine. To even try is a heart-wrenching exercise. On our first day at the center, Kari, the director of LIA, shared a half a dozen of the countless stories of children sold into unthinkable activities, beaten, neglected, abandoned. We were all moved.
But, God is working in the hearts and minds of these children. Through the week, we were able to talk and play with the 21 children that live at LIA. Only the touch of Christ, experienced through LIA’s staff, can explain the joy we saw in their eyes. The kids aren’t perfect – as if we are, right? Fixing brokenness is a long haul effort. But God is redeeming these lives. For those who want proof, I would offer Anabelle – the founder of LIA. She grew up in an environment not unlike the children that she now serves. God led her into the care of her grandmother who brought her to Christ. Now she has the privilege of bringing the love of Christ to others who have faced similar circumstances.
Ben, one of our architects, recorded the following words that continued to surface in the meetings we had with Kari and Anabelle - God’s Provision, Healing, Forgiveness, Redemption, Love and Identity. God has truly provided. For me, as I look to serve others in meaningful ways. For our team members, in times of using their talents to serve LIA but also as He gave them one another in a time when they needed it. For Love in Action, as God continues to give them unexpected resources as they continue to serve His children. And most of all, He has provided redemption for His children at LIA. It is never easy to see children struggle in this broken world. However, I know that God continues to pursue each of them – each of us – and to offer healing and identity that will last an eternity. I think you catch a glimpse of the seed of joy we saw in their eyes as we had the blessing of serving the children of Love in Action.
P.S. All photos in this post courtesy of Julie Wilson; to see Kevin's trip photos, click here.
From the Keiters:
Here is where we share our daily experiences of how God is using our life in the US and abroad with EMI to draw us closer and to make Himself known.