My mission trip to IPODERAC last month was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was one of the first times I have been away from home on my own and the very first deep into a foreign country. Thankfully I know some Spanish, so it wasn’t as much of a shock to my system as it might have been.
The IPODERAC I saw was very different from the one my dad experienced nearly fifteen years ago when he went on a mission trip there. The boys’ campus is a much more developed place now, with the help of a number of mission trips that have gone to IPODERAC since that time. And while a whole new generation of boys was there this time, I found them friendly, approachable, and as curious about life in my country as we were about life in theirs. We really had a good time with them, though they were more interested in the girls in our group than in the other guys and me. Our time swimming together was especially fun.
It was fortunate for us to be at IPODERAC this summer, helping to set up the celebration on the boys’ campus and to take part as well in the clearing of the land that will one day be the new girls’ campus. I hope I will have the chance to go there again someday and see how things have progressed.
My experiences away from IPODERAC visiting Puebla and Mexico City were amazing as well. I was impressed with the colorful homes and businesses I encountered there and how well cared for they were. The police were well armed, much more so than here, but were very approachable. They looked to be armed and ready for just about anything, however. The food we ate was indescribably good. I even tried cactus for the first time. And I came home with plenty of memories and souvenirs. The one souvenir I am looking forward to losing, however, are all the bumps and bruises I picked up while climbing the uneven steps of Teotihuacan.