Hi. My name is Avery and I’m going into 7th grade at McNeely Elementary School in Richmond. I volunteered to write this post. This is my first Project Serve trip with Youth Unlimited, and I am so glad I am here. Please be sure to write your comments on our Facebook page!
There was both excitement and anxiety as we drove away from Richmond Christian School early Wednesday morning. It was a quiet first leg of the journey. Everyone was either really tired, or their minds were thinking about the unknown that lay ahead.
Shortly after the border, the silence shattered. We were in ‘MERICA! Laughter and chatter filled the vans as the tires hummed along the road. Coffee helped the drivers stay alert (except Patrick, who may or may not have fallen asleep for a few seconds. Nobody knows). People bonded. Our team is beginning to really connect. The many hours in the van seemed to tick by, each minute faster than the last. Sometimes it felt as if we were in the van for only ten minutes before we arrived at our next rest stop.
After many games of Go Fish, Catchphrase, Trouble, Apples to Apples, and hundreds of origami masterpieces, our journey to the orphanage was almost complete. One night in Grants Pass, another in Bakersfield, and then two nights at the Chinese Community Church in San Diego. The people there welcomed us with friendly smiles and warm hospitality which included three meals! We enjoyed the swimming and showers the next day – my hair was fabulous once again! The trip to the shopping outlet didn’t hurt either, although our feet and wallets begged to differ.
On Sunday after a brilliant sermon, we packed up and were on our way to Mexico! It seemed that the border wanted to delay us as much as possible, and we had to lug ALL of our food, backpacks, and pillows out of the vans so they could inspect it. It appeared the border guards were hungry, and decided to help themselves to all of our fruit. Even the watermelons! After filling out immigration forms and spending time in the heat of the day, one of our vans decided to not start. After some banging and wrenching and battery swapping, we convinced the engine to turn over! And soon after that we arrived at Rancho El Milagro.
Tents were pitched, food was unpacked, and we began to settle in. We scarfed down our Subway – well, most of us anyway (two sandwiches were missing – Boo Subway). After dinner, we happily scampered off to meet the kids – kinda the main reason we came here. We exchanged names, shook hands, gave hugs, and soon it was a great big game of tag. But the fun couldn’t last forever, so we reluctantly said our Bonus Nachos (good nights), and the younger kids went to bed. Meanwhile, our team (dubbed “The Canadians”) and the older kids went to campfire to for a sing-a-long. At one point Eric busted into a completely different song than everyone else. After the songs, a talk, and a night hike, we were off to bed, knowing sleep would be needed for the next day.
The trip has been eventful thus far, and will continue to be for the next nine days to be sure! Our team is learning more and more how to put the needs of others before ourselves and have servants’ hearts in ways that we may have not ever imagined. The Bible tells us that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And it is a privilege to be able to serve here wholeheartedly in this special place with so many special people.
Posted on August 3, 2015