by Michelle Pearson (house mom)
Spring Break. All too often, we think of loose-cannon, partying teens and young adults, running wild in various areas around the world, far away from home, when we think of "Spring Break." But, the NM Baptist Children's Home teens and kids experienced a much different kind of Spring Break. Of course, this doesn't mean they didn't have fun - there was much fun to be had! Yet, there were also many lessons learned and views of God's incredible handiwork beheld.
Most importantly, these teens and kids from hard places got to see the people of Rio Mimbres Baptist Church in beautiful Mimbres, New Mexico - some from very hard places themselves, give sacrificially of their time and efforts to show them the love of Jesus.
While the spectacular field trips to the City of Rocks with out-of-this-world rock formations and to the 700-year-old abandoned homes of the Gila Cliff Dwellings made lasting memories, it was the church people there that forever affected both the house parents and kids the most. We received overflowing love, acceptance, servanthood, and sacrifice from the moment we arrived. Ladies worked tirelessly making our breakfasts and suppers, while some men ensured our needs were met and helped with clean-up. Some had taken time off work, while others left demands of their home lives to nourish and pour love on us. Each member had their own story and testimony that would bring tears to our eyes as we listened, some from gladness in all the Lord had done in their lives, and some from considering the difficulties they were struggling with while they so graciously worked to bring the love of Christ to our kids.
The kids would play outside while waiting for supper or to go out and about and didn't get to hear all the testimonies of these dear saints personally. So, as we traveled from outing to outing, we'd relay their stories to the kids. While I was retelling a story of the precious 93-year-old woman, the boisterous boys in our van listened intently, then asked, "Can we come back to do something for them and help them?!" To me, that said, they understood the sacrifice.
On our first full day, two of the women ran around the City of Rocks just as excitedly as the kids and us. It was such a joy to share with them. We ran between other planet-like boulders that looked as if they had been spilled there for just such a playground by our great Creator God. The women enjoyed seeing the curious kids roam and play there while we each enjoyed their company. Afterward, we drove into Silver City to enjoy the rich taste of homemade ice cream from The Ice Cream Emporium, then took a short hike through town and a little way up Boston Hill. On the way back, we drove through the beautiful abandoned Fort Bayard, then past the world's largest open mine in Santa Rita.
The next day, we drove to Lake Roberts, took in the view from an overlook, and hiked the Gila Cliff Dwellings with the new pastor and a couple of members. The kids got to experience history and God's creation in spectacular fashion, as well as get some exercise. Afterward, we again made a trip back to Silver City for more homemade ice cream at the Mint Chip Creamery, since the kids (and we)
liked the taste of homemade so much.
It was that last evening, though, that made the trip not only enjoyable, but deeply memorable. When we arrived back at the church, where we had been camping out, we ate supper, graced by the music of an old gospel music band. They not only sang old familiar tunes but exhibited the love of Jesus to our kids. Afterward, a young lady gave her testimony of adoption out of the foster care system. She wanted to bring hope and love to our kids, as she experienced. Our kids listened intently once again and hung on every word.
We packed up the following day and were sent off in love by the wonderful church members there. On the way back, we all got to stop at the Valley of Fires, where there were acres of lava rock and boulders from thousands of years ago, although there was no volcano in sight.
If you wonder if our kids felt the love of Christ during this time, the next day, our two youngest boys said, "I miss them already. Can we go back?" Perhaps someday, our kids will go back to help them or just to thank them for bearing the light of Jesus in their lives for a brief moment in time.
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