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A grand story

Well this is my sister's story. We both went to mexico last year, and her story is AMAZING!!!

Lets see, my trip to Mexico could be described as life changing. I have tried several times to explain to people in words what my trip was like. It didn’t exactly work because the Mexicali missions trip cannot be explained verbally. Luckily, I took a lot of pictures. God worked in so many ways through me and my teammates. Let me tell you all about it.

I guess we will have to start at the beginning….Good Friday. No, wait, Let’s go back even further. I had been planning on going to Mexicali, Mexico with my church. It is a missions trip that the highschoolers go on every year over Easter break. Faith Lutheran of Troy, MI has about 80 students that go on this trip every year. We start preparing in early January. Now, I have to tell you, I am probably the most impatient person on earth. I have counted the days until this trip since the end of my trip last year. So, I’m starting this story in the beginning of March. I was at my cousins house and we were fooling around in the backyard. Brad and I were playing on a culvert….sort of like a log roll ya know? My other cousin Ethan (not really meaning to do any harm) shoved the culvert with his foot causing it to go really fast. Bradley fell off and wasn’t hurt, but I on the other hand, flew off and screamed (I’m such a girl). I actually landed on my feet, but I had hyper-extended my right knee and when I landed, I felt something snap, crackle, and crunch. I cannot begin to describe to you the pain I felt. I was carried back into the house and we left to go to the emergency room.
After a few x-rays, the doctor told me that nothing was wrong, and I just probably bruised the bone. I wasn’t so sure of his diagnosis, but hey, he’s a doctor! He should know what he’s doing right? I hobbled around on for about 2 weeks in major pain. Since I wasn’t getting any better, and my departure time was drawing closer, my mother took me to our family doctor. He did his thing and took more x-rays. He too said that nothing was wrong. About 3 days later, I was still complaining of pain, so he sent me to have an MRI done. They were supposed to get back to me with the results in less than 2 days. That way, if they found something wrong, I could have it taken care of before my trip. Of course, wouldn’t you know, they didn’t call me with the results until the NIGHT before I left. Apparently, I had fractured my knee in 2 possibly 3 places. We called my doctor and he advised against leaving for my trip. I begged him to let me go and just use crutches. Reluctantly, he gave me his permission. After my Youth pastor agreed to let me go under the conditions of taking it easy and not stressing myself, I went to bed and awaited my trip the next day.
Yay! You’ve made it! Finally we are at the real beginning of my story. Through a small misunderstanding, we arrived at the airport too early. (cough, Justin, cough) So by the time we actually left, I had been in the Detroit Airport for 6 hours. So, to pass the time, my team played the ever-famous Mexico card game. Euchre. I didn’t know how to play, So I watched. I was already having a hard time, no thanks to my knee. I was glad that I was able to come on the trip, but I knew it would be difficult with a double fracture. I hobbled around the airport on my crutches, My friend Cameron ever offered to carry me on a few occasions. So, for 6 stinkin hours, my team just got to hang out. We boarded the plane at 6 o’clock pm. That plane ride gave Cam and I a chance to get to know one another. We became very good friends. We touched down in San Diego at 10 o’clock.
When we got to our hotel, I just wanted to go to bed. I was completely exhausted. We had pizza for dinner, but by the time I got to the table, there was none left. Go figure. Luckily, Andy was kind and gave me a piece that he had. The next morning, I got up early at 5:30 to meet for breakfast with some of the guys. I again was tired, but once I got moving, I was fine. We left the hotel in San Diego at 9:00 am. We all piled into our vans and made the 3 hour journey to the Mexican border. Cam and I talked and played around. He painted my nails….he was actually quite good at it, for a guy.
When we crossed the border, we stopped at this wal-mart to get lunch and any other things we may need to minister to the kids we would be visiting. I kept thinking about how different my trip was from last year. I mean, my team was great last year, but somehow this was different. I couldn’t put my finger on it yet, but I was soon to find out.
We arrived at base camp and sort of just sat in our vans for a moment as if deciding what to do. Then, we threw open the doors and the warm air hit our faces. It was pleasant for about, ohh….5 seconds, then It felt sickly disgusting. The air was hot…hot, hot, hot! Since I was not allowed to do anything to stress myself in my condition, I had to stand in the shade of the vans (it actually wasn’t any warmer in the sun…lol) I felt really bad that I was just standing around, so I took it upon myself that even though my knee was in pain, I should at least try to help set up the tents. I hopped around on one leg for a few hours. All together, I think I helped set up 3 or 4 tents. I was exhausted when I finished and still had to set up my cot and unpack.
Once I was settled in to my tent, my team was given our translator. Her name is Dez and she is 15. So was like, a mini me! She and I got along great. Dezzy was usually quiet around people she didn’t know, but when she was around us, you couldn’t keep her mouth shut for more than 2 minutes. We sort of all just milled around with nothing to do until dinner time. h, and by the way, dinner was gross! Afterwards, we set up our chairs for evening chapel. While we were waiting for service to start, we all chatted and sang songs. 2 times I had people bump into or drop something on my knee. OWWIE! Then, the MC’s came up on stage, so we all had to be quiet. As I am sitting there listening to what I could and could not wear to our church site the next day, My mind was having an argument with itself over whether or not I should have come on the trip. My knee was in so much pain. I leaned over to my best friend Emily who tried to comfort me when I said, “I wish I had stayed home.” Once chapel started, we sang songs like, “the duck song”, “God of Wonders”, and “I’ve got a friend”. All 1600-2000 teens had come together to worship God. I have had many people tell me that their favorite part of Mexico was the worship services. I agree with them. God covers you like a blanket while you are there. It’s like you are on Holy ground.
Once worship was over, our speaker, Mark Browning ( I think that is what his name is) came up to talk. This year, our speaker taught us about the gifts that God gives us like love and grace. He was an awesome speaker. Throughout the sermon, my knee continually got worse and worse. Mark had us do this one very cool thing. At the beginning of the weeks, he told us to find a medium sized rock. He had us write on the rock, “Mexicali 4/07/04 Ebenezer” which was to chow us that God has seen us this far. He will see us through whatever is to come. That rock still sits on my nightstand and is a constant reminder that God is and always will be there for me. When the service ended, we broke into out team groups to answer the questions that our youth pastor, Dave, had given us. Back in the safety of my tent, a few of us girls chatted into the wee hours of the night. We all shared secrets and things that God had been doing in our lives lately.
The next morning, Emily woke me up and said we had to go eat breakfast. It was difficult for me to function. Getting dressed in a tent with the use of only one leg was very hard. Then I had the difficult task of carrying my chair, plus using my crutches. I was about to scream, when Cam said he would carry my chair. The boys had been so kind to me the entire time since we left the airport. They were always seeing if I needed any help. I watched the people in my group play more euchre (blah) until service began. Before we left to go to our church site, we had to drop our tents. I was already in so much pain that I almost didn’t help. But I sucked it up and clenched my teeth so we could be on our way.
We got in our van and let me tell you something funny about that little trip. Our van did not have the back row of seats. So that meant that 2 people had to sit on the coolers. On that particular time, Kyle and I sat in the back ( I had more room to stretch out my leg back there) We weren’t used to it and we kept falling over or hitting the ceiling every time we went over a bump. It was a riot to the two of us. We laughed hysterically the entire time. When we arrived at the site, only 2 little boys were there; Javier and Carlos. We sat in the church while the pastor gave a sermon (it was Easter Sunday ya know) and Dez translated for us. Throughout the service, more and more children showed up so the pastor asked Mary Beth to take the kids outside to play. When he service ended, we all went out to play with the kids. I was excited until I remembered that I wasn’t going to be able to really play with these kids. I wanted to cry. I had waited for this trip for an entire year. Now, that I was here, I was confined to sitting down and watching my team run around and have fun. I was miserable, but I was determined to hide that from everyone. People who knew me well saw right through my act. So I watched Emily play with little, little Carlos and his older sister Karen. I watched the boys playing soccer with Javier and Carlos. It broke my heart when Claudia asked me to dance with her and I had to tell her no. Around lunch time, I did finally cry for a little bit, but once the kids came back, they wanted to color with chalk and that was something I could do. I was having fun coloring until it got so hot that if you touched the ground with your bare skin, you would literally burn yourself. I don’t remember what time we left that day, but before we got ready to leave, the pastor invited us to the evening Easter Sunday service. We complied and went back to “tent city” (its what we called base camp) We hung with some of our friends but had to leave before dinner was served. We got back to our church site just in time for the sermon. It was all in Spanish, and I can’t speak Spanish, so it was dreadfully boring. I sat in the pew wishing that I had just stayed home and saved myself from the agony that I was going through. I tried for the longest time to keep the emotions from showing on my face. I failed miserably and Mom Kaufmann (our lady leader) asked if I wanted some medicine. I sucked it up and said that I could wait until after the service, while my head was screaming, “Give me medicine or give me death!!!” I suffered through a 3 hour sermon. Towards the end of the service, I didn’t really ay attention because I was debating on whether or not I should ask Dave to send me Home. All of the sudden, Dez turned around and said, “The pastor wants the girl with the crutches to come up to the front.” I was terrified. I didn’t want to be put on display and have the whole church pity me. So with the help of Dez, I answered questions that the pastor was asking. Then, the pastor told me to sit in the pew with my Hips touching the back of the seat. He told me not to tell him which knee was fractured (as if he couldn’t tell…..lol) He laid his hands on my left knee, said a quick prayer, then laid his hands on my right knee and said a quick prayer. I tried not to flinch, but I did. I wanted to push his hands away. It hurt even when my skirt brushed up against my knee, and now this dude was grabbing onto my knee…I was very close to tears as it was and this gesture made things worse. Then, the pastor grabbed my ankles and lifted them so that my legs were out-stretched in front of me. At this, I did start to cry. I literally had to cover my mouth to keep from screaming. I mean, come one people, you don’t tug around on a BROKEN KNEE!!! Then he asked me to put my left hand on my left knee and my right hand on my right knee and close my eyes. I noticed that my right leg was shorter than the left one by about ½ an inch because of the break. I closed my eyes thinking that It was nice of this man to want to pray for me. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I could be healed by god. That was something He did for special people, right? Not people like me. I was angry at God from the beginning. I yelled at him and blamed him the entire time the pastor prayed. All of the sudden, an intense, burning, fiery pain shot through my knee. I had these before, where I would drop to the ground because of the pain, but it only lasted a short second or two. But this time, the pain continued to escalate causing the dam to break. Deep sobs racked through my frame. I couldn’t hear the pastor anymore. I couldn’t hear to concerned murmurs of my friends, I couldn’t even hear my own self crying. All at once I opened my eyes to see the pastor staring intently at me. After looking into the pastors eyes, I forced myself to look my feet….they were even!!! It didn’t even register in my brain until I noticed that my knee didn’t hurt anymore. I covered my mouth and began to weep. I do not believe that I have ever cried that hard in my entire life. Then, something really cool happened. I understood the pastors next words. “get up and walk, child.” I stood, still covering my mouth as I wept, and I walked across the stage. The first time in a month and a half that I had been able to put weight on my leg without a rush of tears. This just made me cry even harder. (if it is possible to cry harder than I was…but these tears were tears of sheer joy) He motioned for me to jump and so I did, I was still crying. It wasn’t until we left the church that I realized that I had come to the realization that my friends had no idea as to what had just happened. They all gathered around me when Rennie spoke up and asked what happened. I said, “I’m healed! He healed me! My knee isn’t broken anymore!” I was jumping up and down and a few of my teammates started to cry. I hugged the pastor and said, “Gracias Senor” over and over and over. Then, he reminded me that It was not he who had healed me, but God had and that I should be thanking God for healing me, not him. He gave me this look that told me he knew what my mind had been wrestling with. It was like he knew I blamed God. So I shouted , “GLORIA DE DIOS!” which means “glory to God” or something to that effect. Once we got into our van to head home, my team practically begged for the details. As I told them, I thanked God the entire time. Then, I don’t know who started it, but someone started singing “awesome God”. As Justin put it in his paper that he wrote about Mexico, “On the way back to base camp, we were so full of the Spirit, we couldn’t help singing that song.”
We arrived back at base camp just as the sermon Mark was giving, was winding down. We decided to psych everyone out by pretending that my knee was still broken. We all walked over to where everyone was sitting and asked them to come to the back so I could tell them something. When most of my friends who were not present for the miracle had gathered around me, I told them what had happened. Megan started to cry and Eric nearly attacked me with a hug. It was so amazing. As we quieted down and sat in our chairs to listen to the rest of the sermon, we found out that Mark was giving a very special sermon. The first thing we all heard him say was, “God still does miracles today!” Kyle and I looked at each other and dissolved into giggles. It was so weird. The whole sermon had been on miracles and how God still does them in today’s day and age. That night, the question that Dave wanted our team to answer together was, “Where in your life do you need God to perform a miracle?” We joked around when it was my turn by saying that I had used up my share of miracles.
The next morning, Emily and I made our way to the breakfast tables. Nothing appealed to us, so she and I opted to wait until lunch to eat. Brandon did not like the fact that we weren’t eating, and he told me to go eat a banana. It was gross but I knew he was just looking out for me. Emily on the other hand could not be convinced. We waited for service to start and a few people played, you guessed it, euchre.
This time, when we left for our church site, I was actually excited about going. I knew that I would be able to scoop up little Carlos and spin him around. I was so antsy during the van ride to the site. When we pulled up, I jumped out and Javier asked me what happened to my crutches. So, I had Dez help me tell the kids what happened. Javier was clearly happy that I could run around because he immediately wanted me to play tag. The rest of the day was spent chasing kids, teaching them the chicken dance, playing ocho, and coloring.
That night after dinner, which was gross again, we went to explore the vendors. The vendors are little shops of Mexicans who live where we are staying. The things they sell are so cool. Very good souvenirs to take home. I wanted to buy a blanket, but I forgot to get one before we left.
Worship was one thing I was looking forward to, but because of the let down from the previous night where they didn’t turn off the spot light and we only sang for about 15 minutes, Andy and I were pretty bummed that worship would not be the same with the lights on and such. But to our surprise, the song leader asked to turn off the lights and worship lasted a long time. I was very thankful to have the chance to get on my knees and worship the Lord.
The next morning, Justin was sick. The last thing I saw before getting into our van, was Frank holding up Justin as they walked to the infirmary. We all prayed for him to get better. The Kids we so adorable that day. They really care about us. They were all asking us “Harry Potter?” over and over. They called Justin “Harry Potter” because they look very similar. They were all very sad when they found out that he was sick. We left the church site early because we were going to the zoo. Yea, It sounds like it would be fun, but we didn’t go to see the animals. We went to pick up trash and sweep the ground. It was so hot on that day. At first, I had a bad attitude about it. It was hot and boring. But, after a while, we learned to lighten up and look on the bright side. We started to have fun about half-way through. Dez and I both lost our voices that afternoon. So, Mom Kaufmann told us to not talk until we got back to the vans….that went over like a lead balloon. You try getting 2 teenage girls to stay quiet for more than 2 minutes. Needless to say, we were talking a few minutes later. It was kinda hard to hear us, but he strained our voices so we were loud.
When we got back to base camp, I think we had missed dinner, but Megan said it was gross anyways. (does anyone else see a trend of gross dinners here?) We went to visit Justin and he said he was feeling better which was an answer to our prayers. That night, the sermon was about finding love in the wrong and right places. He talked about people who look for love in the "graveyard" of the past, the ones who don't find love. He talked about how if your living in the "graveyard" that God can rescue you from there.
When we went to the site the next morning, things went bad. Emily and Cam didn't want to do the skit, because they said the kids didn't like them. I don't think the kids liked it, but we were already there, and we couldn't fix it. So after some heated words, Dad got us straightened out. This was our worst day, but outside of those 20 minutes, it was a fine day.
The last day. It was a sad day. Everyone knew we would have to leave the kids we grew so close to. We had a fiesta with the church. We had lunch…mmmm. Chicken burritos with homemade pita bread and rice. *sigh* After lunch, we got out our giant piñata.. And when I say giant, I mean GIANT! This thing was huge! It took about 2 people to carry it. It was in the shape of Nemo. The kids had fun tearing him apart and eating all the candy. We said our goodbyes, and like the girl that I am, I cried like a baby. I was so heart broken about leaving these kids. I really and truly loved them.
The ride back to base camp and then to San Diego could best be described as depressing. Everyone had someone they would miss. Several people cried. As time went on though, the mood lightened. We crossed the Mexican American borders, without a hitch. The guard said that we were the first van (number 7 of 15, I think) that had there passports ready to b inspected. When we got to the hotel, Dave gave us the plan for the next two days. He told us that we were going to mission beach, and then we were going to the mall in the evening. Mission beach is a huge beach, with an amusement park, and shops, and food. The amusement park was small, but it was cool. They have a roller coaster, bumper cars, and little rides. We hung out in there for an hour or so. Then our group of 8 split into 2 groups of 4, and we went shopping. The shops on the beach ranged from clothes, to food, to skateboards. That day, we ate at McDonalds. we had so much fun that day. We went stone skipping, and walking the beach. We did so many crazy things that day, I don't remember them all.
That night we went to the mall. The rule was that we had to stay in groups if three. My group had three people in it, Cameron, Brittany and I. We went around the mall going crazy. Singing,” I’ve got a friend," at the top of our lungs. We went crazy for hours. We ate at this really expensive restaurant…compliments of Cam! After walking around and getting smoothies, we caught up with the rest of the people from our group and we hung around for a while. Andy and Justin ran around Sam Goodie like chickens with their heads cut off. It was funny to watch, but people looked at us like we were insane.
That night, before we went to bed, the entire youth group gathered in a room to talk about things that happened during our trip. Since everyone already knew about my miracle, I stayed quiet. But, someone stood up and said something very special. Zack stood up in tears and looked at me. He then turned to the rest of the crowd and said this, “On Easter Sunday night, I sat in the worship service and I was about to give up on God. I really didn’t believe anymore. I asked God to show me a miracle and then I would believe in Him again. What do you know, she (pointing at me) comes walking in not even 2 minutes later. I would have given up on God that night If He hadn’t healed her.” I didn’t know that something like this could affect others in the way that it did. Several others stood up and shared how my experience had affected them…I was so touched that God used me to minister to all these different people.
Then we had to fly back to Detroit. We got up at 4 in the morning. When we got to the airport, Dave finds out that whoever booked our flights, booked us two different ones, one to Denver and one to O'Hare. I was on the flight to O‘Hare. That flight was uneventful, but on the connecting flight to Detroit, I sat next to Mike and somewhat close to Mady and Andy. It was so much fun. We talked the entire way home, even though I was exhausted. Once we reached the Detroit airport, I had to say goodbye to my team, and hello to my family.
So that’s the end of the story. Last year’s Mexicali trip was completely different, and next year's will be too. God works in so many ways down there, and the teams become more like families instead of teams. I hope this story blessed you as much as it has blessed the lives of all my friends and everyone else that I have told it to. May God keep you safe…and always remember. You are special. Special things happen to special people, God will show you just how special you are in His own time.

Umm... can you say, AMAZING??!!! WOW!!!

God is so incredibly AWESOME!!! Thank you so much for posting that..
yes, it was a blessing to read all that.. it was pretty darn long but well worth it!

God is soooo cooool!!!!!
wow what a great story

All I can say is that was a really good story glad to see you made out, God is Good!!!!
Hi, thanks for sharing your story. It was beautiful and amazing. It's nice to know that I am special. Lately I have felt like I didnt really deserve to be happy because I really hurt someone I loved. I didnt mean to but I did. I felt like I died inside when I realized what I'd done, like God had blessed me with meeting this person and I threw it in his face. I couldnt believe what I did but know I think that maybe God has a special plan for me and that if I trust Him everything will be ok. I pray it will. I hurt terribly inside, but God healed you so I know that God can gradually pick up the pieces of my life too. Thanks for that story!