The Impossible

Mexican blanket

It’s all in the title, friends. I saw international missions as impossible… for me.

Yes, Jesus clearly calls us to make disciples of the nations in Matthew 28. He begins, though, by calling the twelve to their own backyard. I took this as a way to get out of, well, getting out of my comfort zone.

Needless to say, when I went to Mexico this year, the little bubble I had constructed around my life burst pretty quickly.

Let’s take it back to the beginning—

A couple at my church has been part of an annual trip to Mexicali where an incredible family has planted not one, but two churches. The team from Oregon helps paint, build, and serve alongside them wherever the greatest need exists as well as put on VBS in the colonia (one of the city’s poor neighborhoods).

Four years ago, our church championed this trip (it began 18 years ago with a different congregation). My younger sister went all three years up until 2018. Naturally, when I graduated from college and had the opportunity to go this spring if I so chose, she was a huge proponent.

Against my inner anxiety’s inclinations, I went to the first interest meeting. Sitting there, I thought of all the reasons going would be challenging and unnecessary. I was already involved in the youth group, met weekly with friends for our own Bible Study, worked nearly full-time, and had a side-business for lettering.

Why add something else? Wasn’t it clear that I served God and spread His Word? Did I really have to go to another country to follow Christ?

These were the seeds of fear taking hold of my decision-making.

Guess what? Everyone was SO EXCITED that I was going to Mexicali spring of 2018! Little did they know I was hardly considering the trip, but I didn’t need to ruin their enthusiasm just yet.

Well, I sat on the choice for months while continuing to go to interest meetings. I would help make crafts for the kids and sing along while we practiced songs in Spanish. I even nodded or said, “I might be able to handle that,” when asked if I could lead worship for the team on the trip.

How was I going to break the news that I wouldn’t be joining them?

Two months before the trip, I was sitting at Bible study with my closest friends listing off the reasons why I shouldn’t (or wouldn’t) go. They patiently waited for me to finish before giving me the… “talk.”

”Jen,” one of them started, “Every single ‘reason’ you just listed was actually an excuse based in fear.” Talk about truth bomb, am I right? While I was taken aback, I knew he had a point. They told me if I went, not only would I survive, but I just might break through my anxiety and come back forever changed.

And you know what? They were right.

I went home that evening and prayed myself to sleep. I said, “Jesus, if you actually wanted me to go, I would. You know that. But, why? What do You gain from this? What do you want with my going on the trip?”

As simple as can be, God said, “You.”

Tears flowed, and I knew in that moment I had to go. For my entire life, I had maintained steady control. Letting go was not only unpleasant, it didn’t feel like an option. I lay there reflecting on this notion that I was keeping myself from God because I wanted control. I cried because it made so much sense. God yearned for my heart like I yearned for His protection. I sighed and said, “I hear you, and I’ll go.”

Not a split second later, I felt a wave of peace with a hint of excitement. Can you believe it? After years of anxiety about the very concept of leaving the country, I, Jennifer Lewis, was excited!

A few weeks, two infections, a whiny meltdown, and many prayers later, and there I found myself in Mexico.

Fin de la parte uno “El Imposible”
The end of part one of “The Impossible”