“Nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Ok, we’re all here, let’s go!”
Twelve children from Bonfil, a community of Cancun, and a team of volunteers from the US filed onto the bus together. They looked around at each other and despite the language barrier, offered polite smiles and attempts to speak in broken Spanish and English. The children giggled and by the time, they reached their destination, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The bus stopped in front of the Museo Maya de Cancun. Everyone streamed down the bus steps and then back up the concrete steps of the museum. The children become quiet as they entered the front door. It was the first time any of the children had set foot in a museum.
Over the next few hours, kids and adults explored the historical and cultural context of the Mayans. They learned about jaguars, saw a piece of a Mayan calendar and learned about the Mayans introducing the world to the number zero. Even three-year-old Karla, who struggled to keep up with everything the others were learning, stayed engaged and focused on the exhibits.
After meandering through the museum hall, the children headed outside to an archeological pyramid site. They chased each other around and invented their own winner-takes-all games. The afternoon was hot under the midday sun, but the heat didn’t slow them down.
They hopped back into the bus and headed down the road for an ice cream stop at McDonald’s. Once they were full of soft serve, the mission trip guests asked the kids if they could pray with them. Together, they prayed for healing, restoration and God’s goodness to break free in each of their lives. The older teens later said this was the most memorable part of the day.
As the children get to experience more of the world and learn about the beauty of their own culture, it’s shifting their perspective and expanding their worldview. When 16-year-old Alberto walked in the front door at home, he couldn’t hide his massive smile plastered across his thin face. His parents asked him about the trip and he beamed with pride.
“It was a good day,” he said, “a very good day.”