A Carnival for One
The finishing touches were complete inside this tiny, concrete church in the heart of the Yucatan. The room was filled with vibrant colors representing a myriad of carnival games, crafts ready for little hands and prizes around every corner. The Mexico missions team had been preparing for this day for months with multiple trips to the Dollar Store and suitcases carefully packed with fishing games, a bean bag toss, soccer chase, and coloring pages with crayons. Not only had the practical preparations been tended to but many prayers had been prayed for the exact children that would come on THIS day to this party set out all for them.
At breakfast, the team was busy practicing their broken Spanish before they headed out to the charming neighborhood surrounding the church to invite all of the children to come. Excitement was in the air as this day had finally come. And then the rain started. This was not a gentle drizzle or tender drip-drop. This was RAIN. The team laughed at the obstacle, doned garbage bag-ponchos over their clothes and went anyway believing that God still had a plan. Colorful home after home full of children were invited to come that afternoon to celebrate at the church with their families. The teams of inviters wrapped up their rounds and made their dripping way back to the church.
As lunch was over and the time for the children’s arrival was fast approaching, faith-filled prayers were once again prayed that though the rain still poured that the right children and families would come. The team got into their respective game positions and readied themselves for the carnival. The clocked ticked on, the rain still poured, and the carnival sat ready.
Finally, the gate opened and a timid, sweet little girl peered into the church wide-eyed at this beautiful carnival. Team members put their arm around this little one and made their way to the games. Team members looked at each other in disbelief that God had sent us ONE child. Even as time went by, no other children came. In that moment, we had a choice. Do we question God’s ways and embrace defeat at all of our plans and expectations, or, do we truly embrace this one. As the leader of the team, I prayed a quick prayer and heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “I sent you for this ONE little girl. All I ask is that you embrace the one I sent.”
That day the team did just that. Games were played with exuberant joy, prizes were handed out in handfuls and sweet, little Ana had the time of her life. I was struck in those moments to understand in a tangible way that we serve a God who sees the ONE. He is willing to send a team of Americans across the globe to demonstrate in an extravagant fashion how loved, valued, and adored this little girl was. It was a sight that day watching a group of grown adults go crazy with excitement and enthusiasm over one little child. It was a picture of love. A picture of overflowing joy. A picture that looked a whole lot like Jesus.
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This year’s Mexico missions team travels to Playa del Carmen April 4-11th to serve with Westside Missionaries, Steve and Holly Taft. Please be in prayer for them as they do a construction and community outreach in Playa. We know God has prepared the, “One,” for them to touch this year and can’t wait to hear all the stories.
Please pray for:
Protection and strength
Boldness to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading
Favor and prepared hearts for those they meet
Jesus to be clearly reflected in the work that they do