For some, this was a return visit while others were traveling south of the border for the first time.
But for each of the 19 team members, the visit provided them with an opportunity to draw closer to God by helping those less fortunate.
Let’s hear from three participants about their experiences this year:
While I was at Project Mexico this year I made it a goal to journal my everyday experiences / encounters. And I wanted to share this particular experience that I wrote about on one of my journal entries.
On the last day of our time at Project Mexico, I reflected about the first morning service of Project Mexico, I felt like I was being cleansed. Something about the service felt like a breath of fresh air.
Maybe it was the different prayers that made me listen and pay more attention, but all I know is on that first day, I immediately knew that my soul needed this. And while I was following along with the lovely service, I was joined by God’s presence.
On my first day of being in Mexico, I was able to find God so easily. It was truly beautiful, I felt at peace. And this experience made me wonder how I found God in a third world country so much easier than I did when I was back home in the States. I always thought it would be the complete opposite.
And after a week of being here, I’m pretty sure I’ve come to the answer. Something about the quietness here due to the lack of technology and all the distractions we are so accustomed to, makes it easier to find God.
I remember reading bible verses about how it is in the stillness and silence where God is found. So it makes sense! But then I also realized that this quietness that is a big part of Project Mexico almost left me feeling a bit vulnerable those first couple days of the week.
Because not only I, but most of the youth here are so used to using noise to distract themselves from the quiet. So much so that it led us to almost in a way fear it, by avoiding it. In the silence is also where our own troubling thoughts come in, and also temptations from demons because they know that in the quiet God is found.
They do their best to keep you away from the silence. So many people feel vulnerable and uncomfortable in the silence. But I learned that barrier could be crossed.
At first keeping quiet and meditating on God’s words was hard, especially for a talker like me! I was tempted with troubling thoughts but I continued in that silence. And by staying silent through the temptations I found myself, once again in God’s presence.
Because of this experience in Project Mexico, I learned that one must be vulnerable before they can become strong. One of the many things that makes Mexico amazing is the effect it has on your spiritual life.
Being here points out your weaknesses and true self which allows you to change and become strong. And all this is achieved by doing the work of God.
– Lidya Abraham
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in… Then the righteous will answer him ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink, when did we see you a starved and invite you in?.. The King will reply ‘Truly I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
– Matthew 25:35-40
There is truly an unexplainable feeling you get whenever you do the work of God, and Project Mexico is that feeling in a nutshell. This year was my second year at Project Mexico, and it definitely will not be my last.
I would recommend it to anyone any age or size. What other opportunity do you have to build a home straight from scratch in 4 days for a family in need?
– Ivy Tesfay
Project Mexico, in itself, is not only a non-profit organization but a long lasting experience. This summer I had the pleasure of returning to Tijuana and continuing my Orthodox basic training for a second year.
Like many others, I felt a rush of depression and attachment to the city when forced to leave. These feelings derive from the immense love I felt towards the orphanage, the family I had built the house for, the interns, and lastly feeling God’s presence within each and every one of us.
We were fulfilling His work and spreading His words by simply building this house and serving those who are living impoverished lives.
Not only that, but I was surrounded by people who share a common faith and with this my faith grew stronger. I learned how to consistently maintain my daily prayers by attending the morning and evening prayer services. I also learned how to humble myself and once again serve others.
These are basic humane qualities that so many people deny here in the States.
As a citizen of a first world country, I too was once subject to this denial. By living a materialistic life, I was in a way ignoring my purpose as an Orthodox Christian.
One could say, I found my purpose at Project Mexico. It’s almost as if I found the light at the end of the tunnel and am no longer subject to darkness.
– Eden Tesfay
Share your memories of Project Mexico in the comments section below!
Learn how you can help Project Mexico or to be on a mission team at Project Mexico by visiting their website.