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Baja (Volleyball) Summer 2023 - Addison Pelham's Story

June 5, 2023

Baja Volleyball Summer 2023 Team Pray with Local Family

It is no small task to try to recap this mission experience, but I believe I can speak for every member of the Lipscomb Volleyball Baja Missions team that we will remember this experience for the rest of our lives. I would like to first start out by thanking everyone who made this happen. Thank you to the people who gave financially for team members to go, lives were changed because of your generosity. Thank you to Pilar and Panfilo who quite literally were always there for us at the drop of a hat. They both were pictures of Jesus. They showed Jesus in their patience, in their laughter, in their service, and in the way they lead.  I will forever remember the ways Jesus shined through Pilar and Panfilo.  Thank you to Klotzy and Lipscomb missions who planned the details for us. Thank you to all of our leaders on the trip who poured out day in and day out, I know that was not easy. And finally thank you to every person who prayed for this trip. The power of prayer was so evident on this trip. The Lord went before us and paved the way and that is largely in part to those who prayed for Lipscomb volleyball. Those who prayed for our hearts, and our minds, and for us to come to know the Lord in a more intimate way. I don't think I will ever be able to thank all of you properly until we are in Heaven! 

With all that said, this trip was life-changing. I truly have no clue where to start, but as good a place as anywhere seems to be what I and I believe our team learned from the people and church of Mexico. The level of hospitality we saw in Mexico was something I have never experienced. No matter who we were meeting with or where we were, we were greeted with warmth, and excitement, with usually some sort of food or drink, and a trust and love I am sure is only possible when you love Jesus deeply. As I experienced this hospitality and radical trust from the people of Mexico, I was convicted of how little we do this in America. How we are not quick to open our homes (despite them being much larger than most of the homes we were invited into in Mexico). I was convicted of how quick I am to avoid a conversation with a stranger or to ignore the person sitting next to me at church. I believe that I and the American church could take quite a few lessons from the church in Mexico. In every child and person we met, I saw radical generosity and people always willing to help. If you asked anyone for help they would drop everything and do it. When we visited a school, I was surrounded by kids offering me their food, and one friend I made even insisted I have her 20 pesos after our day of hanging out because she wanted me to have it (don't worry I made sure to give her an American dollar as a trade). I saw this generosity everywhere we went. I saw the pride that everyone took in their families, in their communities, and in their homes, even when they had little in comparison to our American materialistic mindsets. Every child we met was so excited to get to know us and would always try to speak English with us just because they wanted to get to know us. Every child was so present and in the moment. I saw no pride or privilege in any of these children or in anyone we met in Mexico. I also got to learn more about the power of prayer from the people of Mexico. Everywhere we went, we prayed. When we left homes we always prayed, when we woke up we prayed, as we were working we prayed, as we hiked a mountain we worshiped. This inspired me to bring more of this back home with me. I was convicted of how timid I am sometimes to even pray for my friends when I am with them. How quick we are to forget about prayer before a volleyball match, or how I forget to pray throughout my day. I tend to forget I have direct access to the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE!!!! How often do we take this gift for granted?! I know I do. I know these lessons that my friends in Mexico taught me will forever change my faith and they have challenged me to go deeper in my faith while also reminding me that the God we serve is so great and His kingdom is bigger than I could ever imagine or will ever see this side of Heaven. What a gift to see a picture of His love through the people of Mexico. 

From my teammates and group leaders, I learned so many things about Jesus and His character. Every night we got to share where we saw God in each other and where we saw Him throughout the day. We also had opportunities to share our stories, our struggles, and where we were at with Jesus and in our walks of faith. This time was so sweet and a picture of true vulnerability and community. Meg Mersman shared a verse that I believe perfectly describes what I experienced in that room each and every night. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong."  We got to share the goodness of God and His faithfulness even in our sin, our weakness, our trials, and our difficulties. We shared our hurt and shame in where we were evil, and in where people were evil to us. In every girl's story, I saw how God makes broken things beautiful, how He loves to redeem messy stories, and how He loves when we share our struggles because it is a testimony of His faithfulness and lets us relate to one another and spur one another on to confession and repentance. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says,"Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." I got to see sin brought into the light and freedom from sin because the Lord moved and His Spirit was there. I truly saw how the POWER OF GOD rests on us when we are vulnerable. Even in doubts, in hard questions, in unanswered prayers, in church hurt, I was still reminded that Jesus wants it all. All He wants from us is to come to him. He hates when we run to the world to heal our hurt. He wants the doubts, the questions, and the hurt. He longs to know us intimately and to heal every scar, while also reminding us that our weaknesses still have purpose and that trials have a purpose. I remember words spoken by Berkley Mischler one night where she said, "Even when I didn't want him (Jesus), He was there. Ya, Jesus is my best friend." That's the God we serve! A God who relentlessly pursues, who is the definition of love, who never leaves, who is always working for our good, who wants nothing more than to love us and be loved by us. Berkley's words wrecked me! The devil hates when we share our stories. He wants us to believe that we are alone in our struggles and that God is not a good Father. If God is the definition of true love, He is so worth giving our entire lives to.  Beyond these nights getting to share our hearts. I got to see my teammates work hard and make even the most mundane task fun or even the hardest physical labor a good time, or turn it into a game. That's Lipscomb volleyball in a nutshell. I got to see them bring their laughter and joy to every child we met, making the teenagers of the church laugh and speaking broken Spanish to everyone we came in contact with.

Baja VB Baptisms in the Ocean

BUT! the biggest way I saw God move was getting to see THREE of my teammates give their lives fully to the Lord in baptism. This is a day I will remember for the rest of my life. Standing on the beach with my best friends getting to watch them make the best decision of their lives. Berkley, Courtney, and Delaney all chose to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and to give their lives to him. Thank you to everyone who prayed for Liscomb volleyball players to give their lives to Jesus. This prayer was answered as Berkley, Courtney, and Delaney got dunked in the pacific ocean! We got to pray over each girl as they came out of the water and a celebratory mosh pit and group hug (I should say tackle) was had after every baptism. The joy in the air was so tangible. I know heaven was going crazy because LUV was going crazy! We talked about how baptism and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is not the finish line, but rather the start of a life pursuing Jesus. And we know that a woman on fire for the Lord and sold out on the Gospel is dangerous to the devil. So as Christians, we can be confident that we will face trials and the waves will come and knock us over but we can have confidence in Christ because we have the greatest thing in the entire world, Jesus. We have everything we need when we have Jesus. Berkley, Delaney, and Courtney are forever changed! 2 Corinthians 5:17, THEY ARE NEW CREATIONS! Praise God for the ways He revealed Himself to Delaney, Berkeley, Courtney and to every single one of us on this trip. 

My goal going into this trip was to experience the global church as well as grow alongside my teammates in our faith and relationship with Jesus. Not only did God meet those goals but God exceeded them in every way possible. At the end of the trip we all chose verses or words as a reminder of the trip and what God did. Courtney chose the word passion, to remind her of the passion she is feeling right now for the Lord and that she never wants to forget the love and passion she feels for the Lord. Delaney chose the word seek as a reminder of when you seek God, you find Him. I chose Ephesians 3:20 which says, "Now to him (JESUS!) who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." If I could describe this trip, it would be this verse. God's power is at work in all of us, writing our stories, freeing us from sin, and making us more like Him. God is able to do so much more than my small human brain can comprehend and He is always working. God continues to prove to me that He is worthy of all my praise, of all my love, and of my whole life. I pray everyone on this trip will continue to be reminded of God's love for them and pursuit of them. I am thankful God exceeds every expectation I have, wrecks every box I put Him in, and continues to tear down lies I have believed about Him. So thank you once again to everyone who prayed big prayers over me and this team. I will forever be changed and impacted by this trip and will be amazed for the rest of my life at the ways God moved. I will forever be grateful for the eternal impact it will have on me and my teammates and I pray we would continue to invite God into every corner of our lives, no part of our lives not given fully to him for the purpose of God's glory. I pray Lipscomb volleyball would only be a vessel for His glory and we would all continue to fall more deeply in love with the Creator of the universe. I pray we would continue to tell of Jesus and His faithfulness everywhere we go for the rest of our lives!

Not a Trip
Category: Student Life
Tags: missions, Lipscomb missions, Baja, volleyball, LU volleyball