In less than one month, I will be on a plane to San Diego to join a wonderful bunch of people from Montgomery, Alabama on a beautiful bus ride through the California coast line.
We will cross la frontera (the border) in Tijuana and bus our way through the hills overlooking the most pristine water juxtaposing jagged, jutting rocks until we reach Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
And my soul, which has longed to live in Mexico as a missionary since I was 15, will not dry up.
After spending a lot of emotional energy on 3 ordination processes, walking with roughly 16 families through the deaths of their children, and a pretty eventful first year of church ministry, I get to be sweet to my soul and nurture it in the place I love most, the place that for no good earthly reason feels most like home to me.
When I get to the airport in San Diego, I will sit on the back wall at baggage claim while I wait to meet the rest of the group. I’ll listen to Spanish worship music and prepare to take my window seat so I can watch the ocean all the way to Mexico.
We’ll stop on the way for lunch at In ‘N’ Out and the nasty pigeons will try to eat our food. It’s just part of the process.
When we get to the City of Children to get our Baja Missions vans, I’ll hardly be able to stand myself. We will go to Costco and get supplies for the week- and we will head to Maneadero, where I first felt God’s urging toward a missional life.
Though I don’t live there now, I used to keep a picture of the city of Maneadero taken from a mountaintop, in my Bible (which was stolen the last time I was there).
I would look at the picture and pray for the church there, the city and all of my friends who live in tiny cardboard shacks.
We will spend a week serving the church, loving on kids, delivering food bags, conducting home bible studies, VBS, and sharing all the love we have to give, for one week, with some of the people who need to feel love the most.
At some point, I will eat a taco from a local taco stand. I can’t describe to you the pure, soul-nurturing bliss that is eating stewed shredded beef, slow- cooked for hours in a savory broth and then cradled by 2 homemade corn tortillas as soft as pillows. A little cilantro and chopped onion on top puts it over the edge.
You take that first bite- just as a car zooms by, swirling the Mexican dust around you.
The taste of the beef, corn, cilantro and onions mingle with the smell of exhaust and the sounds of a busy street; and of course that first sip of Coke.
Sight, smell, taste, touch and sound work together in perfect harmony to create an experience that our Costa Rican amigos would call pura vida (pure life).
But mostly, though I’ll be working as an interpreter and that job description includes some pretty long days, I know that I will be completely at peace, I will sleep for 5 consecutive days as deeply as I ever have, completely content and completely at home.
Some say that missionaries sacrifice the comforts of home to serve on the mission field.
When God asked me to sacrifice the mission field to serve God’s people at home, I was quite reluctant at first, but throughout the entire process of having doors to mission life repeatedly shut in my face, God was always there.
God would always show up when I needed it most, to open a window through which I could get enough of a glimpse of the land and people i love so much to keep me satisfied and full- trusting in God’s work in, with and through me.
And thanks to God’s timely faithfulness, this year, my Mexican culture- loving, Mexico- deprived soul, will not dry up.