When I created my “bucket list,” my desire was to create a “better” me. However, I didn’t want it to be all about me, so I also thought about how I could bring others along with me.
One of my goals was to organize groups to travel to Mexico to build homes and provide medical screenings (again, this was nearly 20 years ago). Within two years of listing this goal, I was able to make contact with some individuals who lived near the border and had contacts within the border area in Mexico. I found a group of teenagers and adults (from our church) who shared an interest in helping others and our first trip was organized.
We were a ragged bunch. Most of our adults worked in the construction or medical industries (Doctors or Nurses), but our teenagers had no experience with either. Almost no one had ever been to Mexico. Most had never been out of the U.S.
I have many stories to tell about the trips over the years, but will keep it short (for tonight). As the years passed and many of the same teenagers made the trip with us year after year (through college and into their adult years), we not only saw their skill level increase, but their compassion for others grew as well.
A favorite story: On the first trip, one of our teenagers would not get off the bus when we arrived at a village. While the others in the group were chatting with the people who lived in the area and unloading supplies to begin building, I climbed back onto the bus to see if I could discover the problem. As I made my way to where the student was sitting, I noticed he was crying, so I asked why. He said that he was ashamed to get off the bus and let anyone see his shoes because his shoes “cost more than these people’s houses.” Needless to say, we scrounged up a pair of shoes for him and as we completed the trip he returned home a changed man.
That first year we also discovered a McTaco and returned time and again. The photo below is not mine (ours actually had golden arches, but is in a box somewhere), but I found this on Perry Jasper’s site (go look at his great photos).