By Amy Tuell, Mission Trip Participant
I have traveled several times serving with Back2Back in Mexico, but this year was unique and special. Through Back2Back’s Child Sponsorship Program, I formed a relationship with an impressive young man named Adan. Currently living at Casa Hogar Bethany in Monterrey, Mexico, Adan is finishing his second year of college. I am incredibly impressed with all God is doing in this young man’s life.
Last October, Adan joined our medical mission team for three full days assisting us with translating and facilitating communication between the doctors, nurses and dentist and the children and adults they were examining and treating. He talked about his dream of becoming a pastor and his desire to go on a mission trip himself.
I felt a nudge from God saying, “Invite Adan to join your team going to Mazatlan next year.”
And, so the conversation began. A few months later, the money for Adan’s trip started pouring in from many different sources including Back2Back, his other sponsor and my staff, as a Christmas present to me!
After months of planning, the day finally arrived to depart for Mexico. The day we traveled, I was nervous and praying because Adan had never flown before. Arriving at the Mexico City airport, I was so excited to find him and wrapped him in a big hug. Adan had made his first solo flight successfully and we boarded the second plane together. But later that night, he confessed to our team at debriefing he was terrified to fly in an airplane and prayed to God, if he died, at least he knew he would be able to “see my Savior’s face!”
Over the next seven days, I was continually honored and privileged to serve alongside Adan, as he exemplified Romans 12:11: “Never lag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.” The love of God flowed through Adan, as he connected with every single person he came in contact with. His connection was especially strong with eight-year-old Alex on our mission team. Alex and Adan became buddies. If Alex wanted to sit with Adan, Adan sat with Alex. If Alex wanted to eat with Adan, Adan ate with Alex.
One day, Alex wanted to work on the roof with Adan, but his mother said, “No, it’s not safe.”
So Adan came down the ladder, picked up two paintbrushes and said, “Come on, Alex, let’s paint the fence!”
One night at Ranchos de los Niños, Adan agreed to share his testimony. He confided in me he was very nervous, and I told him to simply breathe and know that God would be with him. When he stood up to speak, he was steady and strong. Speaking with a solid voice, Adan shared about the difficult things he had lived through: loss of his parents, abuse, neglect, homelessness, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. But, then, he spoke about Jesus and how his entire life has changed since he invited Him into his heart. He now lives and breathes for Him!
Listening intently, the children fixed their eyes squarely on Adan, hanging on every word he said. They knew Adan understood what they were living because he had lived it, too. He wasn’t a family member. He wasn’t a paid staff person. He wasn’t a mission team visitor. He was one of them, and he shined the hope of Jesus. When he finished, one by one, the children slowly stood up and began to step forward to tell their stories and open up about their relationships with Christ. On that warm, Mazatlan night, I was privileged to witness a series of powerful and moving moments. At that moment, I had a vision set in the not too distant future – a vision of Adan preaching in his own church with the people from his congregation coming forward at the end of his sermon…
His story is just beginning.