Compassion Mexico ME983 - Part One

Life has been incredibly busy around here since we got back from Mexico! Here it is two months after we left for the trip and I am finally having a chance to write about our last full day in Mexico. This day was full of adventure! And because there is so much to cover about this one day, I am actually breaking it up into two parts.

Before I tell you about our day, let me tell you about the community we were on our way to visit. Jol Sacun is a jungle community in Chiapas, Mexico with approximately 900 residents. Most adults in this community work on plantations and earn about $128 per month. Typical houses in this area are constructed of cement floors, wood walls, and tin roofs. The most common language spoken here is Tzeltal. At the time of our visit, there were 177 Compassion children registered at Sc'uxul yo'tan Cristo Student Center.

Unlike the other two days when we visited student centers, we were all together as a group today. So we loaded up on the bus really early in the morning and started our long trek to the student center. Well, once we left the main road, our large bus had a bit of trouble navigating the windy, basically dirt roads we were traveling along. At one point, the bus actually got stuck! We were on the border of a small village when this happened, which ended up being a really good thing!

 Friendship bracelets for the children

Friendship bracelets for the children

While the leaders in our group were working to figure out how we were going to get the rest of the way to the student center, we started passing out friendship bracelets to the curious kids who were gathering around the bus. Before our trip, some of the young ladies at our church came over to our home and helped us make quite a few friendship bracelets. I wasn't really sure when or where we would pass these out, but God already knew we would run into this group of children. He is amazing like that!

So any guesses on how we traveled the rest of the way to the student center? Would you believe me if I told you we traveled in the back of cattle trucks? No? Well, here is a video to prove it!

Our group of 30 or so people divided up into the back of three cattle trucks and traveled an additional hour (yes! I did say one hour!) to the student center! I have to tell you though, it was probably the best way for us to travel for this portion of the trip. The area was so lush and green and beautiful, we would have missed so much being in the bus with the tinted windows.

 On our way to Compassion ME983

On our way to Compassion ME983

 We finally arrived!

We finally arrived!

 A few greeters

A few greeters

By the time we finally arrived (about 2 hours after our anticipated arrival time!), most of us needed to make a quick pit stop before we all made our way into the church for the beginning of our time here.

 Very full church!

Very full church!

They had all of us come to the front of the church and introduce ourselves and tell them where we live. The kids even recognized some of the names of the states, even in English!

 Very curious, but shy children at this center

Very curious, but shy children at this center

We were really behind our 'schedule' even before we arrived with our bus trouble. So after our initial greeting, we all made our way back to the cattle trucks. We split into three groups and went with three different families to spend a little bit of time with them, helping them with some of their daily activities.

 Picking coffee beans

Picking coffee beans

Our family group was paired with this family and we spent about 15 minutes helping them pick coffee beans.

 Matthew doing his share of the work

Matthew doing his share of the work

 Fifteen minutes worth of coffee bean picking

Fifteen minutes worth of coffee bean picking

Did you know that coffee beans look like oval cranberries when they are ripe? I didn't either! Because we arrived so late, we only spent about 15 minutes with the family helping them pick the coffee beans. Then it was back to the student center for lunch and the rest of our afternoon, which I will share with you in part two. So stay tuned!