Many service trips look the same, regardless of the location. Days are filled with small tasks: painting base boards in a room, organizing storage closets, picking up trash or scrubbing a forgotten floor. These seemingly menial tasks require willing hands and it is always the Lord’s work. However, when you know these simple tasks are done on behalf of a community that is growing in trust and devotion to a ministry center that cares, those actions take on new meaning. You scrub with more grit and form lesson plans for the after-school program with more intentionality.
I am profoundly grateful for our time in Cactus, TX. I can confidently say, on the behalf of my group from a small, rural university in Ohio, both our worldview and perspective of service were challenged. We were kindly convicted and guided by loving hands and hospitable eyes. We were given the opportunity to evaluate our preconceived notions on immigration, English language learning, children's programs and child development, and many other things… far more than can be put on paper.
We are challenged to continue researching and to continue pursuing difficult conversations, even when we are left with more questions. We cannot persist in the false comfort of simplicity when interacting with real people with real stories: immigrants, refugees, teachers, store keepers, police officers, pastors, and other humble civilians of the small community that Cactus provides. Muchas gracias, on behalf of Mount Vernon Nazarene University.