Thank you so much for your prayers for our missions trip to Mazatlan.  We had an absolutely incredible time.  The trip definitely exceeded our expectations.  In fact, I wasn’t sure what to expect taking 22 people to Mazatlan during spring break, especially 12 children.  God was gracious, merciful, and definitely moved in a powerful way in the lives of the children.

It was pretty special seeing our kids experience things for the very first time.  As we came to the end of our 13 hour drive, the ocean appeared over the horizon.  The look on the children’s faces was priceless.  Eyes widened, jaws dropped, and gasps could be heard throughout the vans.  After a wonderful welcome and dinner from the YWAM crew, we headed down to the beach.  I tried to make the rule that you could only get your feet wet, but that lasted for about 30 seconds.  By the end of our time the kids were soaked, filled with joy, laughter and excitement for the rest of the week.

YWAM did a wonderful job setting up a schedule for us to both serve as well as have fun.  Each morning started out pretty early, usually on the road by 6:30 AM.  Throughout the week we were able to serve at an orphanage, feeding center, and retirement home.  The children did a lovely job singing songs, serving other children breakfast,  cleaning tables, doing dishes, playing mass quantities of soccer, interacting with other children, and, of course, having fun.

We made it clear that this was a missions trip, with the priority to SERVE first and then play later.  Our service/work projects usually ended after lunch and so we had the afternoon for different activities.   I’ve never seen children swim as much as our kids did.   Whether we were at the beach, or in the YWAM base pool,  the kids (and staff) swam forhours upon end.  Not a moment went by throughout the day where the question was asked, “when can we go swimming?”  They swam so much; some of the children actually taught themselves how to swim.

Before we left, Jackie and the gals put together little goodie bags for the kids, which included a journal and pen.  We really wanted to the kids to learn the importance of “personal devotion time”.  Each night before we went to bed, the children had to spend 10-15 minutes reading, writing, drawing (for those who don’t know how to write), praying, thinking about the things that the learned throughout the day.  It was a challenge for some of the kids at first, but by the end of the week, all of the children were looking forward to their “devotional” time.

I think for me, this was the highlight of the trip because it has carried over since returning home.  We have officially made nightly devotions part of the weekly schedule.  Every night since we’ve been home, the kids have been spending 15-20 minutes of quiet time on their bed with God.

The other night was extra special for me as I was putting the boys to bed.  I kept telling them 5 more minutes and then lights out.  I was tired and ready for bed myself.  Every time I went into their room, they kept asking for more time.  “Please, can we have 10 more minutes, or I have 1 more verse to write, they would say.  After about 45 minutes or so, they started falling asleep with their journals or Bibles still open on their beds.

What a testimony and answer to prayer!  Indeed, we had an amazing time serving, swimming, hanging out, laughing, going to the aquarium and a movie, walking along the beach, etc.  And the kids loved it all.  But, now that we are home and back to the “normal” routine of school, homework, chores, and daily life, we continue to see that change in the their lives.  They are fighting less, arguing less, serving more, and spending more time with Jesus then ever before.  That I would say, was the biggest blessing of the whole trip.

Please continue to pray for the kids and that through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will continue to change their lives for eternity!

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