When one thinks of the word oasis, we often picture a place adorned with decadent landscapes with mountains so high they take the breath out of our lungs or an ocean that reaches as far as the eye can see. Or of the thirsty man traveling in the desert who discovers a river in the middle of a deserted landscape. Just as this man traveling in the desert discovered the river to quench his thirst, I found my river in a place called Reynosa, Tamaulipas, a place not so seemingly majestic, but a place filled with the living water of Christ. The people of Reynosa, through their kindness and true representation of Christ, quenched my thirsty soul with the living water which satisfies all desires of the heart.
In my week in Reynosa, I was blessed to work alongside my sisters and brothers in Christ, Mexican and American alike, in the construction of a new home for the De La Cruz Reyes family. Despite language and cultural differences, we became one family, one body of Christ, unified, and working alongside one another for the greater good and ultimately glorifying God in service to one another, building relationships that will withstand the distance between us. With the naked eye, one sees a town filled with trash, dust and dirt, but through a renewed lens, one sees a different kind of beauty – in the smile of a child, in the hug of a fellow brother or sister, in the tears of joy in the eyes of a family receiving a new place to call home, in new and old friendships, in laughter and in fellowship. Beauty goes farther than what the eye can see and what the hand can touch. It is not what we have that makes us who we are; it is WHO we have that makes this life worthwhile.
I traveled to Reynosa to serve the people there, but in turn they served me much more than I to them. They taught me humility. They taught me to love deeply. They taught me how to see as God sees the world and taught me how to love as God loves. They taught me trust, and they taught me hope, joy, and happiness. Life is not about pursuing the next big thing, a better job, more money or the best pair of shoes. Life is not about being the prettiest or the smartest or the richest. Life is about loving your brother through selfless actions as Christ did for all of us. True happiness is not bought in a store; true happiness is found in the heart of a child, in cherished relationships, and serving other people as you would serve yourself.
Thank you to Faith Ministry, Colleen Cook, David Rodriguez, Grace Community Church and to all of my family members who generously donated to this trip which made this all possible. And thank you to my amazing company TrialCard Inc. and a boss who allowed me to step away from the office for an entire week and forbade me to check my email!
This was truly a life changing experience. I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested in serving through missions abroad to travel to see our Mexican family in Reynosa. You may intend to serve them, but they will serve you in a much greater, eternal aspect which surpasses all human understanding. If you have any questions, please ask. SAFETY IS NOT AN ISSUE.
To all my brothers and sisters in Reynosa – I will miss you dearly and will be in constant prayer for each and every one of you. You have impacted my life more than you can imagine, and I will be eternally grateful. I will see you next year! Tú corazón es mismo a mi. Te amo mucho.
Written by Caroline Teachey of Raleigh, North Carolina