Summer of 2012 I went on my first overseas missions trip.
You may have guessed already...but yes, this was a Global Passion missions trips. My now boss, Steve Edwards, was my trip leader and this is how we first met.
We flew to Managua, Nicaragua for a week of sweaty, chaotic, and beautiful ministry. My first impression was a heavy one, as in emotionally heavy. I sat in the back of bus (because you know that's what cool kids do) as we bumped along the dirt streets in the night to our church dorms. I was memorized by the makeshift houses of tarp ceiling squeezed in one right next to the other. Poverty covered the streets in a way I never had seen before. My friend Brooke noticed, what I am sure was the saddened and awestruck expression on my face that I could not shake.
It had only been about 30 minutes into this trip and I felt the weight of the needs in the world that up into this point in my life I had no context for.
In the week that followed my team and I hosted a children's VBS camp, school assemblies, church services, and one morning partnered with a bible college for a time of prayer. Among all the sweet and exhaustive moments that I still hold in my heart 7 years later, one of my favorites was connecting with a young girls after the Sunday church service.
Alert Upsetting Content: I am of Mexican heritage, but do NOT speak a lick of the language. I know, you and my grandma can get together and talk about my failure to honor my ancestors.
So because I do not speak Spanish I didn't have many ways of socially interacting with the people in Managua. Basically said "hola" to anyone and everyone I saw:
Girl: waves at me
Girl: *turns to friends laughs and points at me
Yeah, I know it could use some work.
However, this young girls and I connected by playing a game. I mustered up all the Spanish I knew, uno, dos, tres. We played this counting game for maybe 20 minutes straight. Over and over again we did this and she did not tire of this simple, silly game. I was the last person on our bus that day because I could not leave her. As I ran to join my team I realized in that moment, it was happening to me. The experience of my heart complete melting to someone I barely knew but see clearly how Jesus loves her as much as He loves me. We are not so different despite what our culture, language, and up bringing differences would say.
This terribly fuzzy picture is the sweet girl and I playing our game. I love this picture to draw on this memory, but also to see the younger version of myself who was so present and joyful in this moment and on this trip.
I am not sure entirely, but I think it was this particular moment that God was planting a seed for missions. A seed, that I had no awareness of but see taking root today.
I love missions because I love how God weaves all people everywhere together in His Kingdom.
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My name is Marissa Deraya; Global Worker with Project Rescue serving women and children of Spain.
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