This is the continuation of my story of my trip to a medical mission in the mountains of Mexico. If you haven’t read Part 1, check it out here.
Sunday morning dawned quickly in our hotel room. We got up and met the rest of our group in the hotel lobby, ready for church. But we were not yet headed back to the mountains for a church service. First, we headed into a market much like the one that sets up every Monday near the main campus of the ministry I work with. This market, however, was much larger! We wandered down a few different streets until we reached an open building. There we found several tables set up with benches along one side. Each section was a different vendor. Doc led our group to one of the vendors, and we all took a seat.
My fellow intern wasn’t feeling very well, so she didn’t eat. Instead, Doc prescribed a Coke with lime, which is what we always have if our stomachs are upset here. Knowing I don’t do well with spicy food, he recommended something to me, which I thought sounded fine. After eating for a while, we all get up. Doc asked the oldest boy to show us interns around the market. The other boy came with us. The girls went with Doc’s wife to buy some things. As we wandered through the market, I was struck by the variety of things available for purchase. There were food stalls like the one we ate at. There were knock-off brands of expensive clothing. There were toys for little kids. I was surrounded by fresh fruit and vegetables and good food. The boys teased us about nothing and everything, and we laughed with them. We spoke in a mixture of English and Spanish, marveling at the stalls around us.
Suddenly it was time to go. We headed back to the van. By this point, my fellow intern was feeling awful. She laid down in the van and slept off and on the whole way to the mountain village for church. When we got there, Doc and his wife told her it was better if she just rested through church. She very reluctantly agreed, not wanting to miss the experience of church there.
Since she was really sick and asleep in the van, I wandered down the slope to the little concrete building where we’d held the clinic the day before. Inside, I found that our little group of 8 nearly doubled the size of the congregation. Most of our group sat in one row, but one of my girls and I found ourselves in front of them. We experienced a very different church service than any of us were used to. The only instrument was a single tambourine. The sermon, as best as I could tell, was split into two sections. We had a time of prayer requests and praises, something I don’t often experience because I have, with very few exceptions, always attended large churches. Other things in the church service were very familiar. We had an offering time, announcements, and communion. That was pretty cool because the oldest boy in our group got to give the communion message. He spoke from the parable of the man who had a great banquet and invited people off the streets when his original guests wouldn’t come.
After service, Doc helped a few more people with medical matters. Then we ate lunch–rice, horchata, and chicken in a spicy salsa. We finally were separated from our wonderful hosts and began the trip back home. It’s incredible to me that though I will most likely never again see these brothers and sisters in this life, I will spend eternity with them! What an incredible blessing!
The road trip home was long, seemingly longer than the trip there. My intern buddy was miserable pretty much the whole time and spent most of the trip trying to sleep. The rest of us had a more enjoyable experience. Doc stopped for what is here called nieve and reminds me more of gelato than ice cream. After thoroughly enjoying that treat (and thanking Doc for it!), we climbed back into the van. We drove for a while longer, stopped at a rest stop for a bathroom break, and got back on the road. Much later, Doc stopped and bought us all something to drink at a gas station. As we got closer to home, the rain began to pour. We actually had to pull over and wait for a bit so Doc could see where he was going–even with the windshield wipers going at full speed!
When we finally reached home, all of us emptied the van simultaneously, grateful to be out of the van! We greatly enjoyed our experience in the mountains, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my weekend any other way. But there truly is no place like home.