In July 2021, my daughter Leanna and I went with Smiles to the Campeche mission trip along with other 30+ volunteers. For me, it was one of the most rewarding, satisfying and fun mission trips I’ve ever been on.
First of all, the focus was on children; and although the parents attending had a seminar as well, the kids were the focus and the ones that we were there to serve. We went to 8 different towns where we met with children for a few hours giving them values-based workshops that reinforced the message that they were special and God has a special plan for them. The time spent with them included lots of sports, games, fun, school supplies and treats too.
The workshop we presented was a simple origami butterfly to let the kids know that God had created the butterfly beautiful and perfect, and created each of them just as beautiful and perfect. I saw so many smiles and so many kids paying great attention to what we were telling them. It was so great for me when they asked me for more paper so they could practice their origami; and when they said they would give the butterflies to their moms or grandmas.
I enjoyed most of all working with kids and the fact that the majority of the mission volunteers were young – high school and young adults – and it was a very uplifting positive experience.
I loved the support that we all gave each other if we needed anything. Even in the bus you could see many volunteers share food, supplies, little gifts and stickers for the kids; and let’s not forget all the great singing that went on in that bus!!!
I saw God’s hand on everything.
From the organization of the event, to the nightly worship, to working together to prepare for the events, to the way the ladies who made our gourmet meals every day. Most of all I think I was impressed that the mission trip was simple enough that anyone could do this. Young and old. As a mature adult I never felt out of place with the younger missionaries; we all got along so great and I believe that’s the desire we all had to draw smiles on the children, and we certainly accomplished that with God’s help! We were blessed so much more than the kids were.
Written by Carmen Infantas, Smiles Volunteer, Campeche - Mexico 2021