This is my 7th year going to Guadalajara and it was our first time going back since Covid. I have been looking forward to going back to meet the brothers and sisters we have met. Although our reasoning for this trip was different from our previous ones. In a sense, I was very glad to have the opportunity to go represent our Church.
I was happy and excited to see some of the brothers and sisters we have served with, and they were happy to see us as well. However, I was shocked by what I saw, because I began to see firsthand how Covid has affected the church members in Guadalajara. I don’t think we can understand what they have gone through. Even though we had our hardships it is nothing compared to what they have gone through, and you can clearly see the huge toll it has taken on the members.
A place that was once filled with people worshiping and praising God, now you can find more empty seats… A place that was once filled with the laughter of kids now has gone silent… Although they tried to act like everything was okay, it was hard not to see the sadness and desperation in their eyes… In the previous years, every year we went, I saw growth in the church members. God was working in them, the church was growing, and they were saving many lives. But to see them how they are, it felt like Covid had taken everything away from them and to see them in this situation broke my heart.
Sure their lives were already hard to begin with, but there was joy in their eyes, and you can sense the hope they had. But all that seems to have disappeared and for those who were still here, you can sense that they are holding on very tight to the last line of hope but slowly fading. I even felt Missionary Chu’s desperation in trying to do anything and everything for his church members. Making him work harder in many ways he had never done before, making him worry about the things he had never worried about, and desperately coming up with ways to help his church members so he doesn’t lose any more of them. You can see the toll that this has taken on him. And on top of that, he had the Indian people to take care of… but he kept on working…
This broke my heart for him and I felt like God wasn’t being fair, so that night for the first time in a long time I prayed to God and I asked kept asking him why? Why is it that when we serve you, you bless us? But when they serve you, things get worse. I kept asking him the same thing over and over again until sleep overcame me, and I couldn’t pray anymore.
With a heavy heart, we set out to the Indian village the next morning. As I step out of the car the Indian village people came to greet us, some even came up to me saying my name, and the kids had so much joy on their faces just from seeing us. We were the first team to visit them in 4 years and for a short time, my spirit was lifted when I got to just play with them.
However, I couldn’t find the one person I was really looking forward to meeting, which was Pastor Constantino. I can’t forget what I saw, as soon as he saw Missionary Chu he broke down into tears and a few minutes later we find out he had recently put down his position as pastor from the fault of his daughter. Their family was struggling, and his wife had to start working outside the village the stress that she went through changed her so much that she was almost unrecognizable. Seeing him and his family like this really broke my heart. I was already discouraged from what I saw the day before and we already knew that we weren’t going to be able to get the corn to the first 3 villages but to hear what had happened to Pastor Constantino. I really didn’t know what to feel and just felt lost and I was emotionally broken. However, because of our busy schedule, we had to leave and the only thing we could do for them was pray.
A lot was going on in my mind and it seemed like nothing was going our way. Even the next day when we arrived at the corn distribution center, we get the news saying we can buy the corn, but they won’t deliver it, so at this point, I almost lost it. We didn’t know what to do so we just prayed, we prayed together as a group, and I continued to pray on my own. Honestly, I was angry with God, I asked him why did you send us all this way for us to do nothing? And I didn’t know what to do so I confessed, and I said to God I commit everything to you right now, I’m here use me, let me help your people, I’m here to help your people. After almost an hour we finally get the good news, we have been looking for. It’s very rare for a Mexican person to admit their fault but we were all surprised to see them admitting their fault and said they will help us out in any way possible. So, we were able to get the corns we needed only with a slight change in the schedule.
And like that things started to look up. In the first village, La Noria we were able to see 3 people accept Jesus into their lives and got to help 8 families. I started to see God working again and we already seemed to forget about all the bad things that had happened. Early next morning I woke up at 4 AM just to wait for the rest of the corn to arrive. The sound of the truck brought joy to everybody and you can see the happiness on everyone’s faces. The local pastor came to me to thank me as the group leader, but because of my terrible Spanish, I just shook my head “no” and pointed to the sky and said “God” because I didn’t want to take that glory away from him, and the pastor understood what I was trying to say.
I can honestly say I have never been this emotionally broken in my life. I prayed to God to use me, but he knew that I needed to be broken first. I have always said I wanted to live a life helping those in need, but I never really knew what that would look like. This whole week God broke me in so many ways, he melted my cold heart, and he made me feel for his people again. God showed me the reason why I was sent here and through what he has shown me, he has motivated me to do more and work harder. Not just for myself but for his people.
Does Missionary Chu always say “if I don’t do it who else would? I’m not here to fix any problems but to just walk with God and see him work.” And he asked me “If our Lord Jesus was here now, do you think he would be in Dallas preaching or will he be here with us right now?” Not only was he right, but he showed me the importance of Missions.
I honestly have been struggling a lot in my spiritual life for a while, there were many days I stopped going to house church, Sunday worship wasn’t even in my head, and I even thought about leaving the church as well. I can admit this was one of the worst slumps, and I tried to recover all on my own. And during this time, I can say that my heart has gone very cold, and I started to lose the ability to feel for others and only wanted to do things for myself. I worked hard every day, took no rest, and started to do anything and everything and forgot how to feel. But this mission trip broke me in so many ways I begin to feel again, God made me feel for his people and I realized all the hard work I am doing was nothing compared to the work of the missionaries, they work tirelessly, and they all do this for God’s people. I needed to experience this, and I believe God did that by breaking me first. Now I go forward motivated to work harder than before, not for myself but for his kingdom and for his kingdom and his people.