Written by Luke Coffman (Dallas, TX)
As I reflect on turning points in my life to this point, my experiences in Mexico always come to the forefront of my mind. For those of you who aren’t aware, I’ve spent a good chunk of my last two summers interning with Faith Ministry in Reynosa, Mexico, a border town and one of the poorest areas in the country. The ministry serves the community in many ways, from building houses, staffing two church locations, providing daily walk-in healthcare, a scholarship program, and many other community services. As an intern, I assist in a variety of ways, including translating, teaching construction skills, coordinating service groups’ daily activities, taking pictures, and anything else that needs doing.
In the past, God has used Mexico as a wake up call, convicting me in my faith and the overall direction of my life. This year, however, I feel I have gained some new understandings of myself, ministry, and life in general.
Although serving in Mexico is a blast, it’s definitely not an easy way to spend seven weeks of your summer. The challenges I faced this summer – a few bouts of sickness, the stresses of helping mission teams through their week, the heat and long work days – were an opportunity to lean on God for strength, not on myself. I was a part of a community with a shared vision for loving others as Christ loves them. I was freed from many of the distractions which we face in our everyday lives. I was able to do some awesome work for God and learned how to seek His will for me each morning. My only daily responsibility was to serve others, something I know I am called to do for the rest of my life. I watched friends who are so dear to me grow and work through their own struggles. I learned so much by watching the way my Mexican brothers and sisters wake up each morning and choose joy over their circumstances. I learned about healthcare abroad and gained insight on where I want to go career-wise. Overall, I had the opportunity to see what God can do when we trust in Him and step out in faith.
Part of the reason I want to reflect on my time in Mexico is so that I can apply it to my life for the other 10 months of the year. In my journaling, I have tried to break down what makes Faith Ministry so special to me into four points and four things I can do to apply those things to my life. Here they are:
- I am living with a community of believers, all working towards a God-breathed goal.
- I need to remain involved in church and campus ministry because the Bible tells us over and over again to keep meeting together so that we can spur one another on towards Jesus. (Hebrews 10)
- I need to break out time to be alone with God and be free of distractions like technology, schoolwork, and friends.
- I should seek opportunities to help people and continue to pursue a career which allows me to serve others.
- I need to act when I am called to and step out in faith over fear.
What I’ve written here is a short picture of my experience and what I’ve learned. If I wrote everything down, I’m pretty sure this would be a small novel. Though I’m not sure what the future will look like, I hope to visit Reynosa next summer and am so excited for this new year at UT Dallas.
I am so blessed to have had this opportunity for the past two years and can’t wait to return. If you want to find out more about Faith Ministry, visit their website: https://faithministry.org. If you are interested in bringing a team, contact Colleen Cook (she’s awesome) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for giving this a read!
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” – Psalm 55:22
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28