2006 Mexico Mission Diary 

missions the Jim Grey page

The road

Hazelwood Christian Church makes annual autumn mission trips to the Vida Nueva mission in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, 150 miles southwest of San Antonio. But it looked like this fall would be an exception. They had sunk their mission budget into other trips. Then a core group of die-hards who loved the annual fall trip squawked, and loud. Funding was sought and arrangements were made.

Word reached me in August that the trip was on. I prayed and asked God whether I should go as I had the two previous years, but this year I added, "Lord, I'm tired. My head is still spinning from my divorce. If I take a week off work, I would really rather go to the beach with a book and just rest. And besides, Lord, I don't know where I'll get the money for this trip, I don't think I have the vacation time, and my projects at work hit their critical point right about then. If I'm to go, those barriers need to come down."

Within two weeks, the money appeared; I got a report from HR at work showing that I actually had plenty of vacation time; and projects at work were replanned, making the first week of October was the perfect time for me to be away.

When God paves you a road, it seems prudent to drive on it. Or ride on it, as is the case on these trips more than twenty-four hours each way on a school bus. We made excellent time, leaving Hazelwood at about 6 pm EDT Friday and arriving at the mission at about 9 pm CDT Saturday. Only 15 made the trip, a much smaller group than in years past. Three rode in a truck towing our trailer full of stuff, and the rest of us rode the school bus. So few on the bus meant that each of us got to sleep stretched out into the next seat, which improved the trip by at least 500 percent.

Even with this advantage, 26 hours on a school bus is tough. We stopped every two or three hours along the way. When we stopped for fuel we pulled into truck stops since the bus uses diesel fuel and truck stops are equipped to handle large vehicles. Truck stops vary. Some are clean and nice, and some are pretty disgusting. We never stopped at one on Saturday with a bathroom clean enough for me to put in my contact lens!

Meal stops varied, too. Breakfast at the Golden Corral Saturday morning somewhere in Arkansas (I think; the states tend to blend together), was pretty bad. If you pretended a little, the bacon was edible, but that was about it. We stopped for dinner Saturday near Austin, Texas, at barbecue place called Rudy's. I had beef brisket and it had wonderful flavor. They also had little eight-ounce glass bottles of Dr. Pepper made with real sugar. Tasty.

The end of the road God paved for me was the driveway inside the mission, which is lined with palm trees. Because we got there so early we avoided sleeping on the bus Saturday night altogether. Glad to be off the bus, we unloaded the trailer, set up the kitchen, made our beds, and got a good night's sleep.

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