Mission Trip: VBS

My most favorite aspect of this mission trip was being able to interact with the children of Tizimin during Vacation Bible School.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0283.JPGThis wonderful lady, who has literally been sent by God, for these children heads up the school/church responsible for their formation. Her name is Magdalena Saldana. She has the spirit of a lion. The will of an eagle. The grace of a peacock. The love of a mother. During her time with DCI, she has lead more than 100 children into her facility to present the gospel of the Lord. The children who attended VBS instantly gave her the respect and love that she deserved. She touched my heart. As an educator, I praise people who devote their lives to the children. For her, what better way than through the teachings of Jesus Christ.

DSC_0394DSC_0451For four days we interacted with more than 90 children from all walks of life. Micah and I were in charge of registering these kids before they entered camp. We were the first people they saw. Some of them were confident, shook our hands, told us their names, and walked on in ready for the day to begin. Others seemed lost, confused, and scared. Some children where homeless. Some children didn’t have parents.

It was a tug at my heart, when Magdalena ask a little boy why he had been absent for so long. He responded, “our house has been ceased and right now we are kind of living where ever we can.” (Deep sigh) It was difficult to hear these types of things. It was difficult to see some of them walking barefoot. To see some skinny. To see runny noses.

But then my heart would rejoice when I would hear a giggle. When I would see a smile.

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-6
Many times I have heard it said that one must be childlike to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I didn’t quite understood what that meant, but seeing the children of Tizimin worshiping Jesus, singing, dancing, being carefree in His name made me think that it really didn’t matter what I wore, where I lived, what my life circumstances were. If I worshiped Jesus without a care in the world, like these children, I literally had nothing to fear. And that’s what these kids where, fearless. Interested. Eager. Willing. They wanted to learn. They wanted to know more about the man who died to save them.
After registration, the kids danced and singed. Then came studying. Our group taught lessons on Esther, the king’s armor, love, and understanding. Micah and I would sit in the back and observe them. It’s like they were hungry for love.
1On the second to last day, one of the group leaders ask Micah and I to lead the last lesson. I instantly agreed without even consulting Micah. Fear suddenly paralyzed me. And my good friend insecurity had a lot to say. But Micah, my love, instantly reminded me of how capable I was and with his help we presented the 10 Commandments to the children. Micah presented the ice breaker with a game of “Micah dice” (Simon says, or Micah says). Then I transitioned with “how do we know what God says?” “How do we know what to do?”
There I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me, helping me, giving me the confidence and the will that I needed to the point where 100% of the children were engaged. High five Ms. Rojas and thanks for the help Mr. Womacks.
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The rest of the time with the kids was spent on various activities, like arts and crafts, painting, coloring, praying, playing with sports equipment. Micah’s interaction with the children touched my heart as well. Many of the boys loved him. He was so good with the children. Maybe they saw what I see everyday in him–his good and noble heart. This boy, Brian, was our favorite. He often times wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye, hugging me and high- fiving Micah.
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The boys would literally gravitate towards Micah, I felt so proud of him.
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I felt a deep connection to this little girl, because Micah pointed out she looked like me. I agree. Ever since then, we gravitated towards each other.
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Micah and this little guy kept secrets and it was adorable.
VBS was inspiring to say the least. I felt like I went in thinking I was going to set an example, be uplifting, to teach, and to give, but in reality these children taught me to strive to be better. To self grow. To self love. To love without measure beyond the circumstances. Now my goal in life is to have a heart like these little ones.
Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you all about the eye exams we participated in.
Until then and as always.
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Mission Trip: the beginning of greatness

Hey everyone! Long time no talk.

I truly apologize for being away for so long.

However, I’m excited to share why I’ve been gone from the blogger world for more than three weeks. I was on a mission trip with Micah. We traveled to Tizimin, which is in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. To say the least, it was extraordinary.

For the next week or so, I’m going to dedicate my posts to sharing how God impacted my life, my relationship with Micah, and my desire to be a better Christian.

For you see, behind all the clothes I always put on Jesus’ Armour.

It was a summer filled with love and I only have God to thank for his continuing blessings. I want to begin by sharing the number one reason for this trip. I gifted this mission to Micah this past Christmas. It was an attempt to further center our relationship towards the Lord. Both Micah and I want Jesus to take the wheel and guide us on our journey as a couple. And Jesus never fails because through this mission, Micah and I grew spiritually. It was truly amazing to see the Holy Spirit in the mist of our relationship as we served the people of Tizimin.

Secondly, this blog is almost always going to be geared towards clothes and fashion. It’s  going to be about the things that make me feel good on the outside, but sometimes, I want to be able to share what’s inside of me.

For as far as I can remember, I have had this passion for serving the Lord. When I was younger I didn’t realize that serving was going to take me on mission trips. It started with an inner desire to explore and see the world, but to also give God something bigger than me. My attention.

It all started in Peru, from there, God was all I saw and I wanted to cling to that feeling. Peru will always be dear in heart. Yet when I try to understand what God wants for my life, I think of Tizimin.

I went looking for God in Peru and I found Him, but He took me to Tizimin where He answered what was in my heart.

“Cast all of your worries on HIM because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

When I traveled to Tizimin, I was worried, but not because I was going to be called out of my comfort zone. I was worried about not properly surrendering myself to God’s will. For quite sometime now, I’m utterly worried I missed God’s major plan for me. I ask day in and day out if I’m living according to His will. Am I truly being who God wants me to be? Are Micah and I, as a couple right for each other? Are we ready for marriage?

Yet while in Tizimin, I felt God. He answered my prayers.

“For we are HIS handiwork, created in Jesus Christ for the good works that GOD has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Needless to say, I feel beyond blessed and thankful to be His.

Today, I want to briefly explain the area we were in and touch based on what exactly Micah and I did while on the mission.

We arrived on July 8 in Cancun and drove about two hours west into the jungle towards Tizimin, a city of about 50,000 people. These people are caught between traditional Mayan upbringing and Christianity. For a week, Micah and I participated in Vacation Bible School, where close to 90 children, from all walks of life attended. During the evening, we walked the streets of the city to share the gospel and invite people to a free eye exam that would be held towards the end of the week. Lastly, we conducted a small worship service and shared prayer with those who needed healing. At the end of the day we handed out glasses to those who had needed them during the exam portion.

I can remember my heart twisting each time I saw someone in need and all I could offer was hug. I can remember Micah holding my hand when he saw my emotional face during trials. I can remember my heart pattering after seeing the smiles of children. It’s a unique experience that is so undesirable yet so endearing it has to be told.  I hope I can explain myself as much as possible.

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This mission trip was made possible through DCI Missions, Dream Center International. It was an organization I found online through endless hours of research. Missionaries Bill and Kathy Craver have been conducting missions work for more than sixteen years. They oversee two missionary training campuses, one in the Yucatan of Mexico and one located in Belize C.A. Throughout the year they lead teams to impact the lives of indigenous people.

It was amazing to see how God has worked in these people lives not only to move them, but also to show how great our Lord is. It was inspiring.

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This was the main entrance to the camp where we stayed. There were a total of 24 people on the trip. There was a large group from Florida, a family of four from Georgia, a group of wonderful ladies from Texas, Micah’s solo roommate from Tennessee, and Micah and I from Kansas. It was also uplifting to see how everyone came together for the same purpose.

45Maybe I’m being bias because I’m a teacher, but some of my favorite moments where spent with the children. Yes I liked playing with them, coloring, laughing, and doing arts in crafts, but I especially enjoyed watching them worship Jesus. I was filled with tears when I saw them praying to the Lord. If anything, they truly left a mark on me. I will forever remember them.

IMG_5137IMG_5149Working alongside Micah was one of the greatest experiences during this trip. I was so proud of him and fell in love with him even more. More than that I was touched by the people of the area. It was completely humbling to be able to give these people the gift of sight through God’s handiwork.

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And at the end of the day, God always graced us. There’s so much I want to put into words, but I simply can’t. It’s not because I’m unwilling; I just can’t find the words to truly explain what I was feeling during this week. This is something, I now look back on, and think wow I was there. I lived that. God was with me. I’ve grown. Micah and I have grown.

Tomorrow I’m going to talk about the children and VBS. Until then and as always.

Reminiscing on 2015

This morning I woke up to that pesky “Storage is Full: you can manage your storage in Settings,” message on my iPhone. Yay! Boo!

Instantly I opened up my photo albums and gazed upon photos after of photos of my life in 2015. Goodness it was a year. Maybe the message served as an indicator to not clean out my phone, but to reminisce on this wonderful year. So as a tribute, here are some of my most favorite moments of the year.

Warning, this is going to be the longest post EVER! Enjoy! See you all next year.

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This year during Spring Break I took a trip to Cozumel, Mexico with my cousin Diana. It was so amazing, warm, relaxing, ect., This was the very first time I ever set foot on the beach. It was mythical. It also left me with the hunger to visit paradise again. IMG_2240

While in Cozumel, I did another first. I snorkeled. Ah it was so fun to swim with the fish and to see so many beautiful coral reefs. Note: I had no idea how to swim prior to my trip; I took at least 5 swim sessions to get me to even float. The rest is history. IMG_2347

During Easter, I because a godmother for the second time. God has worked so many wonders in my life these past years, but this blessing is beyond anything imaginable. I have learned so much about my relationship with God through my godson. IMG_2488

If it seems like 2015 was the year of travel, then we will call it just that. My best friend, Cheli, invited me to go to San Antonio for her birthday weekend. We spent the majority of the time touring the River Walk and taking picture behind beautiful paintings. IMG_2537

We were also pretty intense and sky dived. This is how I pretty much began my summer; jumping out of a plane. Talk about celebrating our friendship. Again, another first.IMG_2579

Here’s another first. Okay this year was the “Year of Firsts,” too. Before I went off on my bag backing hiatus; my brothers and I went to my very first baseball game. We went to support the Royals. This was during their wonderful winning journey to captivate the World Series. IMG_2652

Then, I was off to Peru for the trip of my life. IMG_2676

This trip was beyond spiritual, cleansing, and faith filled. Jesus called me at the right time and I met him through the people of Iquitos. My mission work prompted me to become a better Christian. A small part of me was left behind on the edges of the Amazon River, with the people (that although struggle daily) find blessings everyday. Philippines 4:13. IMG_2787

After my mission work was complete, I traveled further south, and hiked the Machu Picchu region of Peru. This site was No. 1 on the bucket list. The most pivotal moment was when the clouds broke and their before me stood one of the 7 Wonders of the World. The view was so spellbinding that it was almost unrealistic. I had to pinch myself. IMG_2809

Before taking off from the lovely city of Cusco, I forced myself to try to eat alpaca meat. This isn’t something I would normally try on the regular, but because it was a Peruvian tradition, I considered it a “when in Rome” moment. Hey it was good. Trust me. IMG_2822

After my South American expedition, I jetted to Mexico City, again for the first time. I have a great uncle that lives and works in the central part of the city. In the mornings I would accompany him to work and in the meantime I would walk the streets and site see the Palacio de Bellas Artes and el Zocalo. The architecture in the area was to die for. I absolutely loved taking pictures in that area. IMG_2830

During my week at the DF, I took a tour bus to the “Valle de Chapultepec.” This park area was so wonderful and beautiful I stayed the majority of my time there gazing at the design and structure of the ruins and museums.

On my way back, I was able to see El Angel de la Independencia, which was also on my bucket list. IMG_2913

From the city to the farm. Before I made my way back home, I stopped by and visited my grandparents. My grandpa was quick to use my help around the ranch. I feed and watered the cows. At night I stayed up and had coffee with them. There was no better feeling than home. IMG_2951

Miranda is my first godchild. An interesting fact about this little one is that she hates being celebrated. She hates cake. She hates people making a fuss about her. She’s a much better person than me. This year, she surprised all of us, when she said she wanted a birthday party. She called me randomly and told me specifically how she planned her BIG day to be. All she asked from me is that I wear, “one of those pretty dresses you always wear ‘nina'” You got it girl. IMG_2974

Because I missed Cheli so much during break, I had to literally spend an entire night with her, this was the looonnngggest night of my life. However it’s always a party with this girl. IMG_3043

If you think my traveling stopped in Durango, nope… you’re wrong. My parents traveled there at the beginning of August and took me with them again. This time, and with much more relax time, I rode a horse, went to several rodeos, ate tacos, danced, tanned, and ate….again. IMG_3077

As a family, we traveled to visit my uncle, who lives in Torreon –home of Los Santos–my favorite MX soccer team. Of course my dad scored some real nice seats and I even let a little kid paint my face!IMG_3094

The next morning, Alan and I bid farewell to our  native land, by walking around the centro. It so happened that the city had a museum festival on the streets. One of our favorite displays was this cow. IMG_3155And Just like that summer came to an end. When I returned, it was time for me to pick up my new school ID, which indicated that year three as an educator was commencing. IMG_3169

Another special moment was the birth of little Brayden. This makes cousin number…. He is the youngest and I’m the oldest. Holding him in arms felt tender and warm. IMG_3231

For my birthday, I took the girls to the forests of Colorado, and we zip lined. This wasn’t my first time, but for Cheli and Lili it was. It was so much fun to have them enjoy this moment. IMG_3251

Remember my Def Leppard obsession? Well, gosh darn it, your girl made it out to one of their concerts. I don’t have to tell you that I literally “Rocked Out.” My obsession grew, if that’s even possible. IMG_3256

After close to 5 years, I went to my old stomping grounds, and visited Southwestern College. The school that taught me about life. Oh how I missed those 77 steps and walking to and from my  journalism classes on the daily.

*The year isn’t over just yet, but I’m still beyond excited to see what 2016 has in store for me, my family, my life, my job, and this blog. Thank you for all of your love and support. It means the world to me.

As always, AleyRojas

Peru Inspired

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It may not seem like it, but today was freezing. My fingers literally were burning red from the cold. I am thankful, however, because we didn’t see any blizzard-like activity in the area. Because it’s been so cold and yucky out; I couldn’t help but think of my time in Peru.

I spent the majority of my time helping those in need and after my missionary work was complete, I was able to walk the markets and purchase a lot of indigenous items, like this top.

I wore it today, not only because I was thinking of the people of Iquitos, but because I missed the entire atmosphere of my visit there.

Obviously the fringe jacket had to make an appearance and I decided to go all black to showcase the top.

Jeans, oxfords, and jacket from Forever 21.

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