My name is Bailey Prescott. I moved to Mazatlán, Mexico from Indiana, and my role is teacher/Child Sponsorship Program Coordinator/Assistant Captain at Salvation Army Children’s Home. I’ve been on staff with Back2Back for 2 years.
1. Why did you go/join Back2Back?
The Lord gave me a heart for orphan care when I was very young, and I’ve been on staff with Back2Back for almost two years now, but I would still say that my “burr in the saddle” moment, the why behind my story, happened just two months ago. Although I had a burning passion to love and care for the orphaned child, I didn’t fully understand why we advocated so strongly for family-style care and reunification in particular. About two months ago, we identified a child at one of the partner-homes who is academically advanced, and we enrolled her in a private school here in Mazatlán. Before she could be officially enrolled, she had to go to the school for two “shadow” days, and I was her transportation. I walked Maria into her new school, introduced her to her new teachers, and saw the nervousness on her face as I left her there with them. As I drove away, I felt this overwhelming sense of inadequacy wash over me as I realized this was a job a mother is supposed to do. Although I love Maria very much and have a wonderful relationship with her, I realized on that day that nothing would ever take the place of that parental relationship, and I want nothing less than that for her.
2. What have you learned since you’ve lived on the field?
These past few months, I’ve been spending much more time out at a children’s home where we partner, and I’ve interacted much more with the caregivers, kids, and staff there. One lesson the Lord has been reinforcing in my life through these cross-cultural interactions is the power of humility and weakness. The “power” of weakness sounds like such a paradox, but I’ve noticed that when I feel strong or competent, I simply rely on my own strength rather than asking the Lord for His. However, when I feel weak, or humble, or even insecure, I find myself begging the Lord to move and counting on Him to do what I can’t. It’s not a lesson I’ve mastered yet, and I still have to fight my own pride every day, but I think living in a different culture and speaking a second language has forced me to come to the Lord in ways I didn’t need to in the past. It has also helped me to take myself less seriously and to laugh at my own mistakes and hang-ups – especially when it comes to Spanish!
3. Share a funny/embarrassing moment when the culture you’re familiar with was met with new cultural traditions?
When I first moved to Mazatlán, I took a Cross Cultural Servanthood class led by one of our national staff. The purpose of the class was for me to learn more about the culture of Mexico. During one of my classes, my teacher told me that when you go to a party or social gathering here, it is customary to greet every single person in the room (no matter how many people there are) with a kiss. The introvert in me had a minor panic attack as I imagined talking to forty people in the span of five minutes.
4. What’s something from the culture you live in that you’ll keep with you forever?
The people here in Mexico are warm and welcoming, and they are so quick to laugh, connect, and enjoy one another. I really value my own culture and its customs, but I can be so “American” in the sense that I love to schedule, prioritize, and get things done. I want to be more like the people here in Mazatlán in the ways in which they care for each other well and always put people first. This summer, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know better the staff at one of our local children’s homes. One afternoon, I sat and talked with one of them for three hours just for fun. I’m sure she had a full schedule and better things to do, but instead she chose to sit and chat with me. I want to be a person who will always prioritize the person who is sitting in front of me, and I think the people here in Mexico already have that down.