Tijuana, Mexico

Can your life really be changed in a just one week? I’ve heard people talk about it millions of times, about how they realized they needed to change their life based off one life-altering week. To be honest, I was skeptical and didn’t really think that someone’s life could be changed in a week. Well, my naïve self was about to be proven wrong.

So quick backstory…the whole year leading up to spring break, I had been going to Life Group, which is a Bible study that brings college students together on Tuesdays at 7pm in Burdine Hall. Life Group was something I never wanted to miss and something I loved being a part of. It was through the church that I sometimes attended, Antioch. When spring break rolled around, my Life Group decided to go on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for spring break. Most of my friends were going to Florida, so I figured I would probably end up there. But somehow, before I knew it, I had said yes to go on the mission trip to Tijuana. I don’t think I really even know to this day how I ended up on the mission trip, but it was definitely by the hands of Jesus that I did.

I remember the morning we were supposed to leave, I prayed for God to work through me this week for the people of Tijuana. Little did I know He would not only use me to serve Tijuana, but he would use Tijuana to wreck my world and make me a new person.

Our days consisted of amazing morning worship and sermons and in the afternoons, we participated in outreach or service projects. I remember the first day we were there; we headed to our fist outreach. Now, I thought I knew what outreach was, but I don’t think I REALLY knew what one was. When we got there, they told us the ground rules. They told us basically to go out in this park and invite people to the drama where the gospel would be presented. We split ourselves into groups and started going to talk to people. I am by no means fluent in Spanish, but I can get through conversations (more or less, probably more on the less side haha!). I remember my first conversation was with a mom and her adorable little girl; I nervously invited them to the drama after talking to her a bit about life and family. I walked away wondering if she would come and thinking, “okay I can do this.” After about thirty minutes, we walked back towards the drama and there was a pretty good crowd of local Tijuana people gathered. We watched as the death of Jesus was acted out and watched as He rose again (amen!). At the end of the show, it was asked if anyone would like to accept Jesus into their lives. So many people raised their hands. So many. I even saw the mom and daughter that I had talked to with their hands raised. That hit me hard. I thought to myself…if the power God had moved through us 60 Americans in only 30 minutes; imagine what we could do in a week. We were the Lord’s hands and feet that week as we went on many more afternoon outreaches. The people of Tijuana were being changed, but we were being changed as well. I watched people get healed, people be saved from prostitution, people jumping for the joy of the Lord and so much more.

Around the fourth day, I was feeling it. I was experiencing the love of Jesus, and seeing everything so up close, made the Lord feel that much closer. I began to realize things about my past that were holding me back from a full relationship with Jesus. In high school, I sort of knew who Jesus was, but at the same time, I had no idea who he was. I had been finding my worth in temporary things that were continuously leaving me and breaking my heart. I had thought of my God as someone that wasn’t a father figure but more of an authority figure. I was lost in things that were never going to matter in the future. All of these high school struggles led to a kind of belief that I wasn’t good enough to be loved by the Lord, that I was too broken to be fixed. And let me tell you first, that all of those things I believed about myself are so false, and second, that God broke through all of these things during my week in Tijuana Mexico.

Through worship, prayer over me, and the Life Group community, I realized that yes, I may be broken, but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love me; quite the opposite actually, God loves us so well and loves every broken piece inside of us. He wants us to push aside our brokenness and find a full pieced life though Him. Our sin does not define us and the Lord calls us to be higher and to learn from sin and continue to pursue Him in all that we do. I learned that while God is an authority figure, he is also a father figure; He cares about us and He knows our hearts to such a full extent. His love for us can never be explained. I found new perspectives on life and found a new relationship with the Lord, my Father.

In 2 Timothy 2:13 it says, “if we are unfaithful, he is still faithful because he cannot deny who he is.”

At the start of spring break, I came in depleted and feeling the weight of everything on me. So many times, I had turned away from truth and what I already knew because I thought I wasn’t good enough to be loved by God, who is so good. But God knew better, God is so faithful to us always. He continuously loves us when we don’t love Him. He showed me Life Group and brought me on the mission trip out of His faithful in love for me. He wanted so badly to have a relationship with me that He gave me what I needed to discover my worth in Him. God is good.

So yes, I am a firm believer in the statement “your life can change in a week.” I am living proof of this. God took my spring break and used it to make me so close to Him. I could not be more honored to be His daughter. I am still on the spring break high and it is June. The Lord’s faithfulness is so present in all of our lives; he continues to bring us back to Him when the brokenness of the world gets the best of us. Lord, let us always rest in your faithfulness and always chase after your promise of everlasting love.