My name is Kelly Velasco. I moved from North Carolina to Mazatlán, Mexico. My role is support staff. I’ve been on staff with Back2Back for 14 years.
1. Why did you join Back2Back staff?
I came on a trip, then I led a trip, I served for a month, then interned, then STINTed, and staff… Those gaps were filled in with Campus Crusade outreaches, and a pretty consistent desire to serve. It wouldn’t be until years later that I put some of the other pieces together. My sister was adopted the year before I was born, so growing up being around adoption had worked its way into my heart. Teaching in a public school system, with limited evangelistic opportunities, was making me antsy. Living in community the summers in Monterrey, gave me a taste & desire for living a shared life. The idea to pack up & move across the border didn’t feel so strange when I was surrounded by thousands of other young adults at a Passion Conference, all who were saying yes to some sort of ministry. Throw those experiences together, a set of specific skills & gifts, a clear calling from the Lord, and the fact that I have received the ultimate saving grace in life– then I’d offer my life for His service anywhere, anyway, everyday… keeping the burr never quite combed out.
2. What have you learned since you’ve lived on the field?
Here are a few lessons that stick out…
- Think about & talk more about what you’re grateful for, than what you’re not.
- I must do whatever it takes to keep my relationship with the Lord 2-sided.
- Living in community is hard, but oh so rewarding.
- Jesus loves me- A LOT.
- Always keep 5 pesos on you (for tips & tp)
- You can throw a party for just about anything, as long as you have a piñata.
- When eating salsa- let the local have the first bite. Make observations & then decide what level of spicy you’ll be in for.
- The enemy is prowling around & I have weapons to stand against him.
- Be a part of the culture you’re in.
- You don’t have to hide your faults & failures.
- Conflict resolution is not as scary as it sounds.
- There always seems to be enough.
3. Share a funny/embarrassing moment when the culture you’re familiar with was met with new cultural traditions?
- My daughter used to cry as kids beat candy out of pretty piñatas.
- When invited to a dinner or cookout, don’t expect for the meal to be ready upon your arrival. Sometimes the fellowship of going to the store & preparing the food is just as important as actually eating it.
- I knew about the Mexican hand shake/cheek kiss combo, but what I didn’t know was they weren’t really kissing each other. It’s just the sound. You don’t really kiss their cheek. #selfdiscovery #howmanyhaveyoukissed
4. What’s something from the culture you live in that you’ll keep with you forever?
Greet everyone in the room, individually. It takes more time, but you’ll be glad you did it.