I have been on many mission trips in my life time... maybe too many! But I have never been on a mission's trip of this sort. On one level it felt unlike any mission's trip I had encountered and on another level it felt like I was finally doing real missions for the first time.
Great things come out of place and place can be the catalyst for great things.
The place was our business. A business forged over a decade out of a vision for mission, community and spiritual safety. This place was now providing jobs for some 170 people and their families. Yet we knew there was more. The majority of the 27 Managers of our businesses are people of faith in Jesus. As we began to consider strategies for the future we began to think with mission in mind.
In May of that year, with approval from Service Canada, we found ourselves landing on the tarmac of an airport in Eastern Mexico ready to select our future Mexican workers and their families. Our hosts were not people of faith necessarily. They were business people making a business deal. Within moments of our arrival we were whisked off to the local Home Depot to make sure all the supplies and tools were in place for the following days of working interviews. Much work was ahead of us.
We share a meal at 11 p.m. that first night... at a most amazing local restaurant, taking the time to meet our hosts and our hosts to meet us.
During the meal you could see the puzzlement in their eyes. Their unspoken words dripped from their eye and rolled down their cheeks like tears.
"What do these Canadian clients want from us during their stay?", "To get drunk, to have women, to party?"... you could see they were looking for our carnal itch to scratch.
It did no6 take us long to discover we were with the unofficial 'mayor' of the city. Our host knew everyone, everywhere we went in this city of a million people. Wouldn't you be the mayor if you were a gateway to hundreds, if not thousands of people, having a chance at a new life and new future in other countries?
As the days unfolded our simple wants and unusual needs (like why can't we build a roof and home for the poor instead of waste material in a yard for our interviews) found their way to their hearts. They opened up to us in a whole new way with their fears, dreams and hearts. We found friends and they found a friend in us. It become more than a business deal.
We had 4 winning lottery tickets (Foreign worker approvals) to hand out this first trip and received another 6 spots from Service Canada later that fall. It was hard at first to choose but in the end not really. Our final decisions were clearly in agreement with each other.
Four families lives were about to change and everyone in their orbit in Mexico, as we relocate them across 2 borders for at least 4 years, and if all goes well, permanently.
We didn't just go to help them for a week. We didn't just go to do something for them. Because of place, we went to invite them back to our place. To a new life, to relationship, to a future with us. We gave them jobs with our company.
Never quite been on a mission's trip like that one but hope for many more of them.