A year ago, in July, I was able to be a part of the short-term missions trip to New Mexico. I could never have expected that I would grow as much as I did, both before and during the trip.
One of the first things I learned in New Mexico was the utter power of stepping outside of your comfort zone. For me, the idea of knocking on the doors of 50 strangers and handing out VBS flyers was, more or less, uncomfortable. It was not long, however, before I saw how God would use my frailty in this area for His good purpose. When it came time for VBS, I was overjoyed to see many of the children we had handed out flyers to. Even through my frailty, those little children got to hear about the good news of Jesus!
Later on in the week, our team traveled to a church inside of Navajo Nation. Right as the van pulled up, all the neighborhood children came running up to greet us. Their joy was so contagious! While we were at the church, I met a teenage boy named Sebastian. After we both navigated through our shyness, we had a lovely conversation, and I was able to share the gospel with him.
Later, a portion of our team branched off and went canvassing in a local neighborhood. As we drove into the area, it became evident that we were entering a difficult situation. There were many homes filled with what appeared to be alcohol or drug misuse as well as physical abuse. As I was walking down the sidewalk, I met another teenage boy whose face and arms were covered in bruises. I smiled at him and said “hello!”. When I tell you that his face lit up like a Christmas tree, I mean it! I was only able to speak with him for a few minutes, but I was able to share a smile with him and tell him that the Lord loved and valued him. The time in this neighborhood opened my eyes to the depravity that can be present behind a closed door. You truly never know what a person may be going through. If given an opportunity, I urge you to share the smile or the kind word; it is one way you can share God’s love with a stranger.
After church on Sunday, we were able to mingle with the community of Gallup. I met a sweet elderly woman named Rosie. We had a lovely conversation and exchanged our addresses and phone numbers. I am so glad that we are still in communication to this day. We text each other several times a week and exchange letters often. It has been such a joy to me!
Lastly, I want to share how encouraged I was to witness the Farris’ dedication to the Lord’s calling for their life. Even in their later years, their love for Jesus and the people of Gallup is so incredibly evident. I am so thankful that the Lord urged me to go on this trip. Not only did He provide me with the motivation, but the practical provisions as well.
by Kaitlyn Fesmire