Love Without Bounds
By: Meghan Schultz
I recently went on a mission trip to Mexico City with Renewal Ministries and my high school. We visited a village, a garbage dump where a community of hundreds of people live, and an orphanage. Before leaving on the trip, it was difficult to put into words what I would be doing on my spring break when loved ones or acquaintances asked. When I said I was going on a mission trip, it often felt far more disingenuine and cliché than I meant it. I knew this trip would impact me dearly, I knew I would hate to leave Mexico, but I didn’t know how the trip itself would go.
Before this trip, I did not know what I would learn as we left the garbage dump for the last time that week. I didn’t know how much I would miss the rolling hills of garbage, giving caballitos (piggyback rides), and handing out shoes. I didn’t know how special a plastic Princess Tiana bracelet could be to an eleven-year-old girl, or the generosity of a four-year-old offering his precious candy to a group of Americans he’d only met hours before. I knew this trip would be special (it’s hard not to see that, after three years of hearing about it at school), but I didn’t know how much these people and this trip would leave something with me more than I felt I was able to leave something with them. And what we were able to give them will never be enough. They are not extraordinary people, and that is the miraculous thing. The kids are kids: dancing, playing, laughing, just wanting one person’s extended attention. The adults are their protectors, their caregivers, and in great need of love. None of us are extraordinary on our own, but through our good, good God, our community was lifted up in fellowship and love during that short time we had together. But it is still a heartbreaking week
One moment you’re having fun playing soccer with a group of children, and in the next moment, you’ve never felt so helpless as they ask you for agua you don’t have, and you’re reminded that the soccer field is just dust lined with pools of actual garbage. This is their home. They don’t go back to their houses when they’re thirsty or hungry to get a snack. Their mothers and fathers won’t get to take a shower at the end of a long day of work, and when there isn’t a medical tent around, there might be no way for someone who needs help to get it.
I still don’t fully know what I am taking away from this trip. I still don’t fully know the ways it has impacted my life and my heart. But I think that’s the point. I don’t think we are supposed to be able to experience this and understand it completely. I didn’t go to Mexico and just see a problem. I didn’t go to Mexico and just see poverty. I went to Mexico and met Mitchell, Daniella, and Nancy, who are living in poverty. I will never be able to reconcile the goodness of those people with the broken reality around them, and that is how it should be. One of our most seasoned leaders told us that the day he stops hurting for Mexico is the day he will stop going. It should hurt to leave friends behind in a dangerous environment full of garbage.
This trip would not have happened the way the Lord designed it to without each member of our team making the decision to radically love the person in front of them, with everything they have to give, and without bounds, for seven days. I want to learn how to do that here, but I also can’t wait to get back to Mexico, where serving a new friend is as simple as giving them a piggyback ride.
BONUS: Here’s a video from the trip!
Meghan is a senior in high school who hopes you enjoy the blog! This year, she’s excited to explore the world a little more, get to know Jesus a lot more, and discover her inner creative through more writing and reading.