Welcome home FLOCK! What a wonderful opportunity you had to go to Mexico, you are continuing a long-standing legacy of NorthCreek Church. I too went to Mexico (then we went to Mexicali) with Flock, ehem 11 years ago… Time flies. For some of you this was your first time away fro home for a whole week. Others left America for the first time. Either way, this is a unique time in your life. Have you written any of it down? Did you catalog ANY of the work that you saw the Lord do? Right now those memories are so fresh and you think that every detail will be burned in your brain forever, some will, others will quickly fade. Can I encourage you? Don’t leave what the Lord started, or continued in your heart in Tijuana. Although it seems like Tijuana is magical and filled with the Lord in a way that is impossible to Walnut Creek, it’s not. A better thought is maybe your heart was in a place watching, waiting, and praying for the Lord to work.

Please remember that the same God who created the earth, walked with Adam, wrestled with Jacob, died on the Cross, conquered death, converted Paul, established NorthCreek, is the same God that you served in Tijuana. We serve a God that is unchanging. Therefore, if something changes in your heart in the next few days as you come off your TJ Mountain; it is you. You have not carved out the time to be still and listen, you have chosen to compromise the Truth with your friends, you have ignored the prompting of the Spirit to be bold at school. God has not changed.

In reality, your trip to Tijuana, should have laid the groundwork for a potentially even greater ministry here. At home. At school. At Flock.

Let’s think about it. I’m not sure how Mexico was for you, but we rode in 15 passenger vans to Mexico. Crammed, driving through stinky Harris Ranch with the windows locked and heat on. We wore the ugliest long skirts, slept in tents, hardly showered, stayed up late, got up early. It was hot. Plans changed. People got sick. One year it rained. Oh yeah, and I didn’t even know Spanish. All I could say was bien, nino, and como te amo, and I got those mixed up. However, I was in the Word at least 3 times a day. We prayed about everything. I happily would volunteer for the lowliest jobs. I went on a limb. I didn’t care that I was dirty. I worshiped the LORD and encouraged others in the mundane tasks of the day. Serving the Lord was a joy. And it was wonderful. And the Lord sealed my heart for eternity my freshman year there.  Remember this time. Keep the pictures, laugh at the jokes. It is such a sweet time in your life.

So let’s compare it to here. I get to take showers whenever I want. I have food, a bed, my own room, the Internet, a phone, a car, clothes. Things that some people in ministry around the world would kill for and things they pray for to help them increase their ministry. The things that the Lord has given us for stepping-stones to be thankful and use for His glory turn into stumbling blocks and distractions in my faith. All of these things you have and do here are stepping-stones for God’s glory and your Spiritual act of service. Use those things and responsibilities. Do the dishes at home how you would do them in Mexico, dress like you would in Mexico if it gives you a few extra minutes for your quiet time, pray for your friends RIGHT THEN when they need it. Ask the Lord for a heart that is bent for Him all the time. 1 Corinthians 10:31, “ So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the Glory of God” That is pretty cut and dry. No loop holes, no exceptions. No ifs ands or buts.

I hate to break it to you that you probably will not be able to take a week to go to Mexico every year for the rest of your life. Nor, should you depend on that time alone to strengthen your soul. What is preventing you from living that life here? The real challenge is living your life for the glory of the Lord here. That will be an indicator of how effective your time there was. What happens there is about the sanctification of your heart. That is what Tony, your leaders and the Lord are striving for. It’s not about Tijuana. You could go anywhere and have a similar experience, if your heart was turned and your ears were tuned. God hasn’t changed and He never will. We serve a mighty God. Do you know Him?

PS. People at NorthCreek spend a LOT of time and money to send you to Mexico. Yes you pay to go, but that does not NEARLY cover the cost. Some of your leaders gave up their vacation time to go, away from their family to be with you. (When you grow up you will only get 2 MAYBE 3 weeks of vacation a year.) Please say thank you to them, write them a note, go out of your way to be thankful and appreciate them. You would not have been able to go without them, remember… you are still a minor.  More than that, the biggest reward they can have is to see the evidence of a changed heart that is softened towards the Lord. After all, as fun and cute and funny as you are, they went to serve the Lord.