Our youth group at church normally has a mission trip every summer. The past few years, they've gone to Casa de la Esperanza in Mexico, and spent the week doing hard labour and playing with the kids. Casa is a children's home, and they rely upon these visits from youth, college and other groups to get a lot of their funding and to get a lot of work done.
Problem: There is a travel advisory to Mexico, due to the violence that's been rampaging through parts of the country for the past few months. And then they had to go get Swine Flu.
So, our youth, along with many, many others, weren't able to go. On one level, that really depresses me; the Mexican people have to live there and deal with this situation all the time, but as soon as the going gets rough, the Americans back off and leave them to stand alone. It breaks my heart. On the other hand, I don't really have a solution apart from sending our kids down there regardless, and not for anything do I want one of our kids to get hurt.
But, we have a solution of sorts. Our youth group has spent a lot of time & energy on fundraisers the past couple of months, in order to make up some of the funding shortfall that Casa is looking at this year. All that fundraising cumulated in an "Ultimate Mexican Fiesta" last Sunday evening.
We had fajitas. We had tres leches cake. We had agua horchata, and some sort of mango drink. (Both of which were amazingly good.) We had a mariachi band, who were also amazingly good. I was sad when they left.
And, to cap it all off, we had a live auction of stuff actually brought from Mexico. Blankets, pottery, candy, souveniers, and other stuff along those lines were all up for grabs. Before we started, the youth minister encouraged everyone to be generous to help Casa: "I want you to leave this auction feeling like you were ripped off," he said.
And I was impressed, as ever, with the generosity to be found in the room that night. So much so that I wished that the people with deep pockets would go home so I could bid on something. The auctioneer, a member of the church, was really, really good. I don't know where he learned it, but he was brilliant.
And a lot of money was raised. I hope that those present felt some sort of solidarity with the Christians in Mexico, who are trying to serve the Lord in circumstances that we in Lubbock can't imagine. I hope that more than our money was sent south of the border last week. I hope that our hearts went along with it as well.