Reflection from the high school immersion trip to Mexico City from All Souls, Berkley

Jul 11, 2023 | #DidYouKnow, #Stories

Story courtesy of Michael Drell

Sitting here at the departure gate having gotten up at 4:23 AM after finishing packing at midnight, I am feeling tired but immensely blessed. To say the trip was perfect would be inaccurate but only because of some tummy upsets and overly hot weather, some heavy traffic, sunburn and mosquito bites. Otherwise it really was perfect and astoundingly surpassed my expectations. Having spent a lot of time in Mexico, I felt I knew what to expect and could even dream and hope for a great trip for all. But what I failed to understand was the amazing grace God had in store for this group.

The group was composed of 8 high school youth aged from 16-18, 4 adults, and an adorable baby.

If you need something else to be proud of this Pride month, please feel pride for the All Souls community developing these amazing young people who arrived with open hearts, minds, eyes and joyous souls ready to connect with all the wonderful people (dogs and horses) and places here in Mexico. It would be impossible to give you a full sense of the connections we made, but as a well seasoned middle aged traveler, I was still blown away by how much fun and deep fellowship we could have together. The unforeseen miracle of Toni’s warm and welcoming relatives and friends in the Anglican Church here could not have been imagined. Strangers immediately considered us family and that’s pretty much the point of our faith right?

This was an immersion trip, visiting the city overall but specifically a few parishes with strong youth programs and various other locations including a hospital ministry with Padre Arturo of Sagrada Familia congregation. We also had a day in Cuernavaca where my sending parish St Michael and All Angels is located and we were hosted for lunch, relaxation, and swimming. On our way back to CDMX we stopped in Tres Marias at a horse rescue where I previously worked.

We approached “immersion” through meeting other youth groups and learning about what it is like to grow up in the Anglican church in Mexico, for the purpose of coming closer to God through relationships and experiences with others.

I personally held hopes for our group to experience and develop empathy, solidarity, unity amongst difference, and faith through worship and friendship.

This was all accomplished well beyond my expectations and each day or rather several times per day, my mind was blown and my heart filled with the countless miracles of God’s Love and Providence revealed through the offerings of welcome and hospitality and also the enthusiastic, respectful, and humble acceptance and appreciation of these gifts by our group.

Our hosts in Mexico embodied everything that we talk about in Christian faith.

We all knew and felt this; recognising it happening around and through us.

This was obvious as we played games, tried new things, and through the observations and reflections brought up during “roses, buds, and thorns” each evening.

Our youth were asked more than once what keeps them involved in church both by other youth and the various adults involved in their formation. The answer each time was ‘community’. The All Souls community that raised and sent out this group, but also the communities we encountered deeply as hosts and family. We are all part of something bigger now. We welcome you into our experience and thank you for the ways you supported us through prayers, enthusiasm, and financial sponsorship.

I want to encourage us all to keep the relational quality of the experience going through continuing the story telling. Ask us, especially our youth, about the trip. Maybe we can make this an annual event? If there is anyone interested in working towards this more specifically please speak to me and Toni. If there is anyone interested in further financial donations, we encountered ministries which would love that support and utilise it beyond its economic value. We would all gain further blessings through maintaining our ties with our newly found siblings in Christ.

Ellie Simpson
Author: Ellie Simpson



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *