Thursday, July 4, 2013

Our Week in Review

Here's a quick video review of our amazing week in Colima!

Thanks again to the whole team, to our gracious hosts, to our fab team leaders, and most of all to our Savior for providing us with this week of fun, joy, and hard work all for his glory.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Reflections on Serving - Marcia

There’s so much to tell about the missions trip to Colima and the Hogar de Amor orphanage. One thing I noticed about the church Grupo Amor, which oversees many orphanages, is their focus. The church has a central focus - orphans. There is a unity of purpose and destiny in their calling because the entire church is pulling in the same direction. They built buildings to house orphans, they built a school to educate orphans, and they give so much of their time and resources to care for them. The entire community benefits because the school is open to the community (and is considered one of the best private schools in the city), they have parenting classes to try to reunite families – but anyone can take them. In the USA, I sometimes think that church is a gathering of people who worship together and do outreaches or programs or activities, but we promote our “ministry” rather than having a united vision.

Here are some other things I really liked about the trip:
  • I liked working as a team. I felt accepted by the CenterPoint group, even though I didn’t help with the planning or the purchasing of so many supplies. They found a place for me in the activities and treated me as though they knew me forever. 
  • I liked getting to know the Hogar de Amor kids while working. When they would stop by, I would intentionally stop and show them the sewing machine. Then I’d pull a balloon out of my pocket and engage in a little balloon volley ball before they went back to their chores and I returned to sewing. 
  • The trip had a great balance between practical and spiritual. I loved the idea of God moments that we took notice of throughout the week. I continue to follow the practice to focus on what God is doing during the day, then to thank Him for those moments (and maybe even journal them – sigh) 
  • I liked working as family units – it was fun to see parents and kids interact and share about their days. I think Father God is pleased to see family units work together, and He blesses us in ways we have yet to see
  • The best moment was when a boy we altered some clothes for proudly wore a newly-tailored polo shirt to the tamale party. He made a point of showing off the shirt. I saw that the little things make such a difference in the lives of the kids at Hogar de Amor. He needed the sleeves shortened so that it felt more like a shirt that fit. He in turn expressed his appreciation in words but also in his countenance – he was proud to have a shirt that fit.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reflections on Serving - Carlee

Reflections on our time in Mexico by Carlee, age 10:

While I was in Mexico I learned that the world does not revolve around me and that I am not the center of attention.I also experienced that when someone needs something you should always be willing to step in and help even if it means hard work.It broke my heart to see that these wonderful kids not in a permanent home with a family who really loves them.That made me realize how blessed I am to have a real a family with a brother, mom, and dad who really love and care for me.I also saw that these children are ever so thankful when we did activities with them, or taught them music or even just sitting down with them and helping them with their sock puppets.They were always so excited to show us their imaginative creations and they never overlooked a single thing.We as americans sometimes think that we are to busy to help others or if you're a kid like me, you might tend to give your mom a dirty look when she asks you to take out the trash, but when you do remember others around you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Reflections on Serving - Jamie

We had a truly blessed week in Colima, Mexico serving and learning and having a whole lot of fun. Before we left, we had three purposes for our trip:
  1. To serve orphans and their caregivers in Mexico 
  2. To grow deeper in our relationships with God, with our church body, our families, and the universal church 
  3. To let our hearts be transformed by the need in our world and teach our children lives of grateful service by example And God really knocked our socks off in all three areas. 
If you ask any of the 16 members of the CenterPoint team, we’ll talk your ear off about the trip, telling our our unique stories and the work that God did in us and through us in Colima, both through our struggles and through the fun times.

For me, I left Mexico with lots of lessons and impressions, but one of the strongest was what a joy it was to contribute to and serve in a place truly focused on the best interests of the kids living there. No child should have to grow up in institutional care – every child deserves a permanent home and a loving family. But if a kid does have to spend time in a group home, Hogar de Amor is the best I can imagine. I’m an adoptive parent – I have 2 children by birth and 2 by adoption – and our family knows firsthand the struggles and damage institutional care introduces into a kid’s life.

I was really struck by Hogar de Amor. It’s a place where kids are surrounded with the love of Christ and provided for by caregivers who truly love them and love Jesus. It’s a place where kids are supported by a church family who cares about them and their future, their education, their hearts, and their souls. Serving in Hogar de Amor even for a few days truly was a privilege.

The other thing I learned about in a whole new way last week was the unity of the body of Christ. In preparation for this trip, we studied the book of Ephesians. Ephesians talks a lot about unity and in Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul writes:
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

We were a very diverse group, spanning 60 years and every vocation out there. Some of us were focused on forming deeper relationships with caregivers and kids. Some of us really wanted to go heads-down and complete our projects. We each had different struggles – health struggles, language struggles, heat and fatigue struggles. And God used it all!

I experienced the unity of the Body of Christ, the Family of Christ in a whole new way in Colima. This isn’t uniformity – God created us unique and loves our uniqueness – but rather unity of heart and purpose, a unity of Spirit. God grew in me a deeper respect and love for his church and a devotion to each member of our team.