City of Children: Carefree Joy
By Erin King, Freshman on 4/29/2014
When asked to talk about my spring break mission trip to City of Children, a children’s home in Ensenada, Mexico, I struggle to find the words to do it justice. It was most definitely the best week of my life, but sometimes it is hard to convey just how much it meant to me without selling it short. So, before I get ahead of myself, let me start from the beginning.
Looking back, it’s funny how easily I decided the City of Children was the mission trip for me. I had never been on a mission trip before, and for my roommate and I, it was like God guided us right to the City of Children table at the missions fair. We didn’t even look anywhere else!
After we signed up, I just went about my business with schoolwork and all the things that come with one’s first semester in college. Before I knew it, spring semester was here and the trip was right around the corner. My team started to meet once a week to plan the VBS that we were doing for the kids and to prepare ourselves for the journey that we were about to take together.
It was not until the time right before the trip that I realized I had no idea what I was in for. I did not know what to expect, and although I probably would not have admitted it at the time, I was scared. I wanted so badly to make a difference and maybe even discover something about myself as well.
But, finally, March 15 came, and we were off!
My first impressions of Mexico were all over the place. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen, surrounded by hills that were unreal, with the Pacific Ocean running along along the coast. There was heartache in the beauty though, for right there in the midst of all this wonder, there were little towns of houses constructed of inadequate materials like cardboard or tin and anything else that a house should not be made of. My team and I were mostly quiet on the bus; we realized that we had stepped into something that was so much bigger than what we’d ever known.
It did not take long for me to fall in love with the City of Children. My heart gets this funny feeling when I think about it, probably because a part of it was left there.
I have never felt such a carefree joy and love like I experienced with those kids at the orphanage. The children have come from all different backgrounds, have endured horrible things that you and I could not even fathom, yet they showed us love that was so relentless that I can only associate it with that of Christ.
I could already feel a change happening within me, but it was on the second to last day that the biggest change occurred: I was baptized. I grew up in a Christian home, and I have been a follower my whole life. But that took on a whole new meaning for me this year when I came to Lipscomb, and it had been on my heart to be baptized. I had been thinking about it all year and when the right time to do it would be, and when I got to Mexico, I knew it was time to give my life over fully to Christ.
I was surrounded by the most perfect, caring team, obviously hand-picked by God himself, in this new place that now holds a huge piece of who I am. I could not have chosen a better place to publicly announce the way I feel about Christ, and I know that Mexico is where He wanted me to claim Him.
Coming back to the States was rough; I wanted only to be with “my babies” again. After much prayer though, I realized a few things. I do not know what God has in store for me, but I am certain that I am not through with the City of Children, and it’s not done with me. I have to believe that God will lead me back to the all those loving faces and that special place where I felt His presence and dedicated myself to Him.
More than a month after returning, I can still say that in my heart, I’m already there.