I have had the opportunity to go on several mission trips. One of my most memorable trips was to Mexico City in 2005 with the church I was on staff with. We took over 70 students and leaders. This has to have been my favorite trip of all time. There are so many memories from this trip that I could talk for hours. Below are just a few quick highlights:
“I MISSED THE FLIGHT”
To get all 70+ people to Mexico City we had to take two sets of teams on two different sets of flights. These flights went from DFW to Mexico City with a layover in Houston. I was on the later flight of students, so while I was at the church prepping for my team to arrive I got a phone call from one of my students who was on the early flight. He begins to tell me that he has missed his flight from Houston to Mexico City and he is not sure what to do. This caused me to panic. I told him to sit still in that airport and not move and we will deal with it when our team gets there. All of a sudden he begins to laugh and tell me that he was just kidding; this should have been my first clue of the kind of trip that I was in for!
"YOU’RE GETTING DEPORTED"
When we were going through immigration several of our students were pulled to the side and told that they were going to be sent back to the US because they did not list where they were staying on their immigration form & they listed they only had $100 on them. We didn’t list a hotel because we didn’t know where were staying because our missionary on the ground had taken care of that and we told our students not to bring more than $100 because everything they needed was covered in their trip costs.
In the end our on the ground missionary and their lawyer was able to go back to immigration and explain that these kids were on a “tour” group and that everything was paid for in advance. (I think a bribe may have also been paid.)
"WELCOME TO THE HOTEL"
Our accommodation options were limited so we had to stay at a hotel that rented rooms by the hour…. We did block off a whole floor so we didn’t have to worry about the safety of our students, but we did have to go through all rooms and remove the cable so they couldn’t watch TV. We also tried to keep them as busy as possible so they didn’t have time to explore.
"WADING THROUGH A FLOOD"
One day we finished ministry early so we got a free night for dinner. A group of about 25 of us decided that we would walk about a mile or so away and go get Domino’s pizza. As we finished dinner it was raining, so we started walking back with umbrellas in hand. One thing to note about Mexico City, it has no street drainage system; when it rains it floods. We did not know this and quickly found ourselves treading through knee high water. It was bad; at one point sewer caps began to pop up… we were essentially wading through poo water…. Enough water was coming quick enough that streets that were sloped downward turned into white water rapids. The guys had to pick up the girls and carry them across. At one point I look over and one of my student was literally swimming in a street that had sewage water running into it…. Needless to say when we finally made it back we told students to go shower like they’ve never showered before and throw absolutely all of the clothing they were wearing away.
"FREE DAY = SICK DAY"
For our free day we had chosen to drive 2 hours away to go see the pyramids in Mexico City, and it wasn’t until we were about 10 minutes away from the pyramids that people started getting sick. I literally had kids hanging out the windows throwing up as the bus drove... (I felt bad for the cars that got hit with vomit!) We had driven so far and only a few kids were sick that we decided to go head and let those that were not sick enjoy the pyramids and let those that were stay on the bus.
Kids eventually kept dropping like flies so we decided to pack it in and get them back. On the way back we decided to stop for lunch at a place were the food was not appeasing. Let’s just say that if they weren’t sick already this made them sick.
Once we finally got back to the hotel we had a doctor meet us there and we basically set up a hospital in one of the rooms. My dad, who was sickest of all, had to be put on IVs to be rehydrated. About ½ of our students and leaders had to see the doctor too. We were passing out anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medicine like it was candy. Good thing we were flying home the next day. Believe it or not it was not because of the aforementioned flood that these kids got sick.
Even through all of that we saw the power of God move mightily all week as we got to minister and feed people who live in the world’s largest dump, minister to an all men’s drug rehab center and pour into a local church that just has an amazing heart for their community.
It was an absolutely life changing trip!
Story by: Amber Brittain