SARA KIL - SHORT-STORIES
KHOP Mexico Mission Trip
Who gets blessed more the people who you are ministering too or You?
The last time I went to Mexico for a weekend mission trip to Tijuana. I was 17 years old, a high school student.
I haven’t been on a mission trip for a while. I have never been on a mission trip outside of the United States yet.
It was the first time experiencing this kind of culture shock. I saw kids begging for money with no shoes on, barefoot. I saw the homeless on the streets wandering, stray dogs roaming around.
It was crazy at the borderline it was like a circus.
It is a different kind of poverty. It’s so near us yet faraway.
It was my first time at the Source church, and I first heard of Khop there because of their joint Source/Khop Thanksgiving dinner in 2018.
Then a while later went to Khop didn’t know what to expect but I liked it, kept coming back.
KhopLA (Koreatown House of Prayer) is a house of prayer in the heart of LA. It’s a safe place to come together to encounter God and be filled and refreshed. We worship and pray together, be the hands and feet of Jesus in the city of Los Angeles.
The Khop ministry has partner churches in Mexico. We annually go there and do a variety of services and events. Go around meeting up with partner churches and bless them with supplies and needs.
KHOP went to Camalú this weekend to help with a work project. We were putting oil/diesel mix onto the wooden walls of the church to help protect from termites.
Originally there were supposed to be five people going on this mission trip. It ended up being three people Johan, Shane, and me. I got to know two different kinds of Oppas (older brothers).
We left in the evening and got there later in the night. While waiting in traffic to get to the border, We saw food trucks going into Mexico. You knew something was happening.
We were there during the weekend of the 52nd Annual SCORE Baja 1000 single-loop race. November 19th – 24th, 2019 Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
We first stayed overnight in Ensenada Baja California, Mexico.
I had a room to myself, the boys shared. We took precautions and brought water bottles to use to brush our teeth. I had a good night’s sleep.
Then in the morning, we met with our translator Perla, we all had breakfast together. I had Birria (Mexican Goat Stew) served in a styrofoam cup at Birrieria Rodriguez Restaurant. Also, I ate Tortillas Rojas dipped in oil & consomé and their spicy salsas. Then, we left to go to church in Camalú, Mexico.
We saw the house, got the church tour of Casa Barro Nuevo (New Mud House). Even though there was a language barrier with our host family, we are grateful for their warm hospitality and smiles. Thank you for google translate.
We went straight to work, given a mixture of oil/diesel to paint over the wooden walls of the church.
We first had to dust off the building, get rid of the dirt build-up then we applied two coats of paint over it.
The tree branches and plants helped scrape off the dirt buildup better than the paintbrushes. The natural resources helped, we’re useful.
Carla, one of the congregation members, came in the afternoon to volunteer to help us paint the church.
Even though she spoke little English, she worked hard. And we appreciated her help.
We painted almost half the building, listened to worship music, talked, and joked around. It was hard work, yet rewarding. I admired the work ethic of our team.
We would finish as much as we can for the day and finish off what we can in the morning. Since the hot water; was working, I took a shower.
Plus, afterward, we had homemade Empanadas. We had a food fellowship. I like Mexican Coke better because they use real cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup like they used in the US.
Afterward, during the evening, we went to meet up with Victor to visit his school, also a girl’s home. He gave us a tour of the property owned by his mother in law. We prayed over him, blessed the ministry.
It was one of my favorite moments of the trip because we were outside, and we can see the stars in the sky, you can’t get this in California. I get to look up and enjoy God’s creation, his handiwork. Then we drove back to the house.
Again, I got a room all to myself, which was nice. And the boys shared a room.
It was my first time using the outhouse. It is interesting. You appreciate the bathroom, especially when you need to go at night. Thank you for new experiences a good flashlight comes in handy.
On Sunday, morning our last day there, we saw Johan putting on some final touches on the wall.
I admired my team for their servant’s heart. They put their faith into action. They loved the people as Jesus did. They sacrificed their time and was humble.
The congregation wanted to honor us by serving us lunch for our hard work.
We attended the Sunday morning service at Casa Barro Nuevo with Daniel preaching. Thank you for the English translation Perla. We were playing with the kids it was the most simple games, that made these kids happy, just kicking a ball around was fun, in their world. We ate good food and had fun, smiles all around the room!
The highlight of the Mexico trip is Erik’s tacos. The food was the bomb. I liked the shrimp tacos. You pick the fish they cook it for you on an open grill and bring it to you. There was a performer at the restaurant we tipped him. Yes, the tacos are indeed worth the trip.
We drove back home. We talked, something about being in the car for hours, you get to know people.
I got to listen to a few podcasts, learn some new random facts.
As we drove, we saw the beach that was extending like forever. It is nice taking in the view, that the Lord has provided us amid poverty there is beauty. There is the good, bad, ugly, and God is watching over this city.
Before we came to the border, there was a checkpoint an officer told us to get out of the car so he can check it. We saw people sitting down, waiting. It didn’t take long for us.
There are prior stories before this trip that I heard didn’t apply to us. I heard of no hot water, no hot shower, and a long wait at the border. You would come home late.
But for us, the hot water was working plus we took hot showers and had limited waiting time, less than an hour at the border. We got home at a reasonable time. We were blessed.
As we were waiting at the border with churros in our hands, life is sweet. We were going back home back to reality. I want to cherish life, not take things for granted, enjoy the simple things.
You see the riches and poverty of Mexico while driving.
One of the culture shock for me was when we’re driving by a run-down shack and saw someone living in them but looks happy.
When I think of Mexico, I think of smiling children, God’s people worshipping Jesus, and the stars in the skies. The same stars we see in our backyard. We are more similar than different. We bleed red, the blood of Jesus Christ.
God is simple, and he loves us so we can love others. I am trying to be more like Jesus every day. Thank you, Mexico, for the lesson in gratitude and ministering to my heart!
KHOP Photo Diary
Playing with the kids!
Food. Fun. Fellowship.
Teamwork makes the Dreamwork
Photo by courtesy of Shane Wongsriphorn
Does going to the beach ever feel like going to church?
Do you get lost while going to the beach? Are the kids arguing in the back? There is traffic? Car sickness? Did someone steal your parking space? Then you have to carry all the beach stuff. And, the lunch and snacks you brought because you are not going to buy overpriced beach food, that isn’t even good. Then those beach rules.
Hear me out. You step out onto the beach, the first thing you see are all the rules.
Just in case you didn’t already know, there are 101 rules on what not to do. Fun Huh? Some are stupid, some idiot, just ruined it for all of us. I get it; there are rules to keep us safe. No one wants to deal with a lawsuit. Someone just took the fun away from us. There are no rules on how to have fun.
But do all those rules make you return to your car and go back home? Of course not. You drove to go to the beach. Why did you come to the beach in the first place? There is a reason why you’re here. You wanted to come.
First of all, before you can even touch the water, you have to find parking first. There is a parking fee or street parking. That is a bummer in itself.
Is it easy access to the beach from the parking lot, or do I have to walk down many stairs to get down to the beach?
The bathrooms are stinky, dirty, and scary. The beach smells like piss. The beach is gross. The sand is getting in my sandals. There is half-eaten food lying on the sand. There is seaweed everywhere. People steal things. The weather is not good. The water is cold. The water is dirty, depending on where you go? There are homeless people.
But does that make you stop going just because of people, places, and things? Most of the time you go to the beach, you have pleasant moments there are those few times that are not so good. But you still go to the same beach or some other one. You go beach hopping too.
So many excuses. So many complaints. Sounds familiar? Church? There are shark sightings. Shark! No one wants to hear that. People get hurt even in beautiful places; some may call paradise.
People are afraid of shark attacks at the beach. When you more likely to get hurt in an accident getting to the beach. People are paranoid about things that most likely won’t happen like a shark attack.
There are sharks in human form, thirsty for blood ready to devour the weak and the helpless at church. The shark lurks. Tread carefully! But when you get bitten, you bleed internally. And you get offended, and it stays with you, only God can heal it. There are dolphins in human form, nice ones. There are genuine people. Who loves the Lord and speaks the truth.
It’s about the memories. Sometimes you have good and bad memories of the beach and church. You get hurt. Remember, we don’t go to church for men you go to church for God. Of course, there is fellowship/communion with people. But the focus is on God.
You travel to different beaches, enduring the traffic. You try to go to the safest beaches with the cleanest waters. You’re looking for the right weather want to protect the family. You want to have memories with the little ones.
If you’re waiting for everything to be perfect, you will be waiting. Perfection doesn’t exist. Good/bad things happen at the beach and church. You can’t let people ruin it for you. Sometimes people ruin good moments. God can make it better.
There is the lifeguard on duty keeping people safe. The comforter and guide, if you’re in danger help, is on the way. But you should be careful navigating the waters and use discernment.
I am an awestruck wonder at his creation. You marvel when you see the ocean waves crash into each other.
You look around God’s fingerprints are everywhere. God authored everything. We get to enjoy them. Someone bigger had to create this. You see the bigger picture. It’s all worth it. God is everywhere.
Let’s go to the beach and have some fun now. Life is good!
Take a risk. Dive in!