I sat in the crowded bus wondering where we were headed. The idea of not knowing where you are going becomes a common occurrence when you are on a mission trip, especially when the said person does not speak any Spanish. All I know was I was going to hand out Christmas gifts.
Today was a very special day for me—it was my twentieth birthday. I was out of the teen years forever. As we bustled along, I did not imagine that I would be spending my birthday on the mission field handing out gifts to others. The crowd inside the bus was filled with Mexicans and whites mish -mashed together. The smell of diesel permeated the air. I huddled in my sweat shirt as we passed dirt road, after dirt road with no signs until finally we chugged up a mountain to the top. The scene was breathtaking and sad at the very same time. Homes were clustered together in groups or spread out with barb-wired fences. Since you do not need to pay property tax if you don’t complete your house, the houses were without roofs or without doors. We climbed out and people started running to their fence property with their arms outstretched. I watched in fascination and a little horror at what the children were wearing. They were half-dressed with no shoes on. They were poorer than I had ever seen before. This was not my first time seeing poverty, but it was the first time the Lord showed me something that I never seen before. I walked with my group handing out the candies and little trinkets that I had brought with me. The children were eagerly grabbing the gifts as soon as I produced them. They were used to getting gifts, missionaries had come regularly to them every year. We passed a house and nobody came out. I stopped and stared at the house and saw a lone woman sitting in the door. I walked to the property edge and watched her sitting there.
“Morgan, we need to keep going.” My leader had stopped next to me and was tugging my sleeve.
“Why doesn’t she come and get some gifts?”
Wendy turned her eyes on the girl sitting in the doorway. “I don’t know”
“Can we try to give her a gift?”
Wendy eyed me before turning back to the property.
“I really think we should. I mean, she deserves a gift like everyone else.”
She nodded her head and we began looking for a way onto the property. We found no way in.
There was no entrance, everything was wired shut. I was determined to get over that fence and reach the girl that had not gotten up to receive any gifts. We climbed over the fence and made our way to the girl sitting in the entrance.
She got up and seemed about to walk away.
“Wait!” I cried out. My leader translated the sentence. She started speaking rapid Spanish to the girl.
The girl was no more than fifteen years old. She was pregnant and there was no hope in her eyes. She was surprised that we had made an effort to see her, to give her gifts. She took the gifts hesitantly and backed up slowly. After praying for her, we left her there standing shocked.
I am not sure what an impact I had on that girl’s life. I do know that she did not know what true love was. I am not sure why the property was wired shut. I do know that she changed the way I looked at life—the way I gave gifts. For the first time, I realized that I could show God’s love by giving gifts.