All of us have been wired by a Master Designer to shine. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14 that we are "the light of the world." The more we are connected to the source of the power, and the more we are connected to how we were wired to be, the brighter and further we shine.
Over Labor Day weekend, a team from Ventura Missionary went on a short-term mission project to Mexico. Team member, Vanessa Songer, says that one of the things that impressed her most about the trip is the "number of people who played a part by contributing. Not everyone could go on the trip, but many people contributed gifts and resources to make it possible for others to go."
Just one example of the wide variety of contributors toward this trip is how our students at Ventura Missionary School played a significant part. Last May, the eighth graders hosted "Fiesta Day," an annual event that has taken place for over ten years. Students are divided into groups, and each group chooses a food to sell and a game to play at their booth. The groups together vote on where they will donate the money that is raised. After hearing about the needs of an orphanage in Mexico called, "Pequenos Gigantes," (Little Giants), the 2017 Fiesta Day participants chose that ministry "hands down," remembers VMS Spanish Teacher, Martha Valentini.
On the recent mission project trip, the team was able to present the money in person to Pequenos Gigantes, along with a plaque signed by the VMS students. It was a touching scene. A lot of construction is needed on the property, so the team also conducted mold abatement and applied primer to some of the ceilings at the orphanage. There is much more work that needs to be done, and the team plans to return to continue the work.
The mission project also involved a day distributing the food supplies VMC donated in an impoverished community near the Alguien Me Ama (Somebody Loves Me) Teen Center. AMA is one of our partner ministries, and we also did some work at that facility while we were there.
On another day we rented a water truck and purchased tortillas and beans to give out in a different area where families regularly go without those basic needs. The VMC group was concerned about whether they would have enough food and water to go around. One of the team leaders, Kevin Barclay said, "But it was like the loaves and the fish...more and more food kept coming out of our bags to distribute. We didn't run out until we got to the end of the street where we were planning to stop." They also offered to pray for people as they gave out the food and water, and often the recipients welcomed that opportunity.
The collective efforts and contributions of so many, made this trip possible and fruitful. The light of Christ beamed far past the walls of VMC. It beamed out of this city, down the coast and across the border. It shined on orphans and workers, youth and adults, those in financial need and those in spiritual need. And the wonderful thing about God's light is that it also warms the hearts of those who are a conduit of that light. This is instantly evident when you talk to any of those who went on this trip or were a part of making it happen. They beam as they share about their experience. We are wired to shine, so it stands to reason, that when we are shining brightest, we are most fulfilled, as well.