As you know, we got there safely and I caught on pretty quickly about our assignments and my role at the mission. I woke up and went to bed every night praying that I was there to serve God and was in the mindset of "Okay, I'm in Mexico instead of at home, of course God, you will use me to the the best of my ability...I'm already way out of my comfort zone, homesick, exhausted and everything else I may have been feeling each morning/evening. But after church on Wednesday night I went to bed journaling and praying a much different prayer. I realized that I was not really allowing God to use me where He wanted me. I was paired up with my awesome roomie, Michelle, most of the days and since she had already been to the mission in May she knew the ropes and who better to give me a taste of the mission than her? (plus I had a blast with her and really enjoyed getting to know her!) However, on Wednesday I realized I was going about this ALL wrong. I had talents that maybe Michelle didn't have and vise versa. Though Michelle enjoyed weeding and picking up trash (haha Michelle! Just joking... Love you!) God may have had a different plan for me and I had to allow for Him to show me. So Thursday morning I woke up early to shower and skipped out on breakfast and instead went to the Prayer Garden.
God had placed a little girl, Alondra, on my heart while journaling. I had no idea why God had brought her to mind, just that she was in a wheelchair and smiled all the time and basically I just wanted to hug her tightly and bring her home with me. (I only saw her for a quick second when we were getting a tour of the mission where Theresa was working with her) There I sat for over an hour praying and journaling and asking God to use me where He wanted me and I'd be up for anything...however dirty or sweaty or tired I would get. So a couple hours later I find myself raising my hand to work in the Daycare Home for the morning/afternoon where Alondra would be.
I was practically skipping with joy as I journeyed over to the Day Home. (quite a ways away from Sala where I had received my assignment.) I walked into the home and all of the children were out of their wheelchairs, seated in a circle on chairs and getting a lesson in Spanish. After about 10 minutes of me feeling pretty insecure in this room, one of the boys asked me my name (in English) and then welcomed me to their classroom (again in English) for the day. After being in Mexico for nearly 5 days and only hearing Spanish besides between our own American folks, this little gesture made me more comfortable than you could ever imagine. My first assignment was to take Javier on a bike ride. Javier, a 14 year old, has muscular dystrophy and his 2 brothers were getting physical therapy for the day so the teacher thought it would be perfect if I could take him out on the mission for his bike ride. His bike had 2 large wheels as training wheels, a slot for his feet to be strapped in and a steering while made specially for him to hold onto to steer. I was told that he would lead the way and that my only job was to push him along until I got too hot to stand it. So off we went. And oh my gosh,,,oh did we go! I didn't say in my last entry but the missions grounds were HUGE! And Javier had me pushing him across every square inch. Everyone knew Javier as we passed he'd shout, "!Hola!" and they'd respond back, "!Hola, Javier!" He'd point out the hoses with water by the macadamia trees, saying "Agua." and every other word was "!Wow!" While we were walking (sweat dripping down my face, neck, back, chest...because I was wearing jeans...I thought I was going to be sitting in the classroom all day! HA!) I saw this little gecko-like thing jet across the sand. I got all excited trying to show Javier but he was less than thrilled. I later learned that he is pretty much afraid of everything and wouldn't enjoy a gecko! oops! So after about 30 minutes of walking around the mission we finally came back to the classroom. The rest of the afternoon, I had the biggest smile on my face enjoying hearing about each child and their story. (and Alondra wasn't even there that day!) I thought the Day Home was children from the orphanage who just had disabilities but instead was children from the community who were bussed in by the orphanage and taught during the day and then bussed back home. All in all it was the most rewarding day of the entire week!
Javier on his bike. (too bad his eyes are closed in this picture!!)
I had no idea I had such a love for those children but since returning home and praying about it, I realized it's been there all along I just never put two and two together!
Since I've been back I've been researching schools and have narrowed it down and am applying to Northeastern Illinois University to hopefully start grad school in January for my Masters of Arts in Special Education!! The program consists of 45 credit hours, 2 internships, 16 weeks of student teaching and should take 2 1/2 - 3 years to complete.