By Cindy Mejia (MOST Ministries Team Member)
MOST Ministries Team 2206 formed in January and started regular meetings in February. Several team members had been on previous mission trips. However, several of us had never been on a mission trip before and had lots of questions and even apprehensions. All of us were called in one way or another by God to “Feed my sheep”, and so we answered by coming together with a mission to serve on our hearts.
When the time to leave for El Paso and Juarez finally arrived most of us were ready to finally get started with the true purpose of serving the people God called us to help. We spent time getting to know the area and each other but always with the tug on our hearts to get started.
Monday morning finally arrived and we headed to Anapra, a sector of Juarez, where we set up in one of the LCMS Mexico mission churches for the clinic. The first day we served about 68 people, not as many as we had hoped but it gave us time to get our feet wet and get used to our roles on the team with Tuesday seeing an increase in the number of people.
The people of Anapra were patient and kind. We heard some of their stories as they moved through the clinic. Eva recently diagnosed with epilepsy worried and unsure of her future. Others with burdens on their hearts. We prayed with them, cried with them and pointed them to God.
Wednesday we moved to an area outside of Juarez on the other side of the city with no name just a location designation: Kilometer 30. KM 30 seems to sit in the most arid, desolate area imaginable. KM 30 has no running water, so people have to purchase water to fill large tanks outside their houses. The streets are just dirt lanes between rows of houses. Fencing around homes may be simple barbwire or old palettes.
At this location we served more people, lots of children and young families. Each person made sure to come to the clinic in their best clothes, many with their children in their Sunday best. Getting their children’s sight checked whether they needed glasses or not was important to their mother’s peace of mind. For some it was to replace their glasses lost in a house fire, for others it was their first pair and a true gift being able to see better than ever before in their life. Pastor Hernandez attended both days and brought his guitar and his deep faith and love of Jesus. He sang Jesus Loves Me to the children and got the ladies waiting for the next station to sing Alabare A Mi Señor and You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore.
Thursday was another very fulfilling day at KM 30 for the team and the people we served. The stories the people shared touched our hearts. We prayed with them and continue to pray for them.
Friday found us in the heart of Juarez city itself. We set up at a senior and young adult community center. It was the first time that MOST and YLM were able to serve through an eyeglass clinic at this location and it was advertised throughout the city in the newspapers, radio and TV. At 1:00pm, the organizers had to cutoff the people allowed to wait, the number waiting was a little over 200.
One man who was legally blind had tried to see us when we were at KM 30 but got there too late after we had already left. He walked overnight to come to the final day in Juarez and was fitted with reading glasses so he could finally read. I found on google maps that the journey between the locations is 22 km or 13.5 miles, being able to read was that important to him.
The team knew this was going to be a very big challenge to see all 200 in one day. Everyone did a great job supporting each other, giving team members a break when possible and working as long and hard as possible. We started clinic at about 9am and boarded the van at 7pm exhausted but very emotionally and spiritually fed.
Closing up the final day of the week was emotional as we had to say goodbye to all the wonderful team of local people that we had worked with. We decided to say “Hasta luego” – “until we meet again” rather than goodbye. We served a total of 608 people during the 5 days of clinics and dispensed over 701 pairs of eyeglasses.
Each member of Team 2206 was touched by the gift we receive in serving others. We felt the call of the Holy Spirit to go and “Feed the sheep” and returned ourselves fed by the grace of God being able to serve.