Quote of the day:
“Despite the overwhelming workload and tough language barrier, today was a good day. Both of the old folks’ homes that we visited had a beautiful and nice environment. We heard many stories of somber paths, yet the people were very positive and hopeful.”
Today we definitely hit the ground running! This morning, Dave made sure to get us all up at 7:00, and we fueled up with a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fruit. We spent some time getting ready for the day, and then went on a short walk in the neighborhoods surrounding the bunkhouse. It is always astonishing to see the poverty that some people live in down here. Yet, despite all they are lacking, you can always count on a friendly smile and a wave. Next, we did our morning devotional, during which we learned that we are called to be servants of God, not just of our own selfish desires. We also discussed the fact that God has called us to do good works, but we cannot be saved by our good works alone.
Our first outing was to an old folks’ home called Refuge of the Elders. This place houses 146 people who suffer from injuries, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, or just old age. While the Refuge of the Elders is one of the nicest facilities of its kind in Tijuana, there were still many problems with it. There is a small and courageous staff that works extremely hard, but they just don’t have enough man power to sufficiently care for everyone. There is also a lack of food and medical supplies. However, one thing that the Refuge of the Elders is not lacking is joy. Smiles and laughs abounded during our time there. The members of our mission team divided and conquered in order to maximize the use of our time. Some of the tasks that we worked on were cooking food, attending to medical needs, cleaning, visiting with the people, giving haircuts, and painting nails. There was a major shift in the atmosphere of the Refuge of the Elders between when we first came and when we left. Just being there and loving on the people made all of the difference in the world.
We took about an hour of a break for a delicious lunch at (in my opinion) the best taco stand, and then we regrouped and headed out again. Our next stop was at a ministry called City of Hope. This ministry houses 84 men that are suffering from some combination of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual disabilities. Most men were battling an addiction or mental disability. The living conditions of this place made the Refuge of the Elders look like a 5-Star hotel. The place was poorly built, overcrowded, understaffed, and unsanitary. Yet, like the Refuge of the Elders, you could see God’s hand all over the people and the ministry. We were able to hear several stories of recovering schizophrenics, quadriplegics, drug addicts, and many more. These were cases that doctors had no hope of healing in, but God was able to defy all possibilities. We went on a tour of the facilities, and then had the chance to pray over the men. This experience was shattering, bringing some of our team members to tears. Being in a place of such poverty gave us a deep appreciation of what we have, and what God can do in the most desolate of places.
We spent a large part of the evening at the beach, and we were able to watch the sun set over the ocean. We ate dinner at yet another taco stand, but it is difficult to get tired of such authentic Mexican food. We then returned to the bunk house and did our nightly devotional. Tonight we talked about how God is everywhere, and the ways in which we can tune ourselves in to seeing Him. The rest of the night was pretty low key. Everyone was tired after such an emotionally and physically exhausting day. However, there is a lot of positive energy that it geared towards tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see how God works through us!
So, make sure to check in tomorrow to hear about our adventures!