A group of 26 Salem Central Church young people made up of the Salem Handbell Choir and Youth Chorus went on a California/New Mexico music-mission trip. Following are the experiences of two students.
We arrived late at night at the Calexico Mission School and were welcomed by a convoy of roaches. Despite the unexpected encounters, we managed to get through the night. The next day was very warm, with added heat from our hard work around the school. We did some yard work, painting, and I helped with organizing textbooks. That evening we performed for the church near the school. The pastor and the people there were very kind and hospitable.
The next day we went to Tijuana to work on a church. The church was a pitiful sight. Surrounded by run-down houses, its walls were old and painted yellow (apparently a long time ago). We set to work, painting with rollers and brushes, inside and outside. Authentic Mexican meals were provided for us in the sanctuary, because that was the only room in the church. In the afternoon, several boys came and helped paint over their own graffiti. At the end of the day we were paint-spattered and tired.
On our way home, a few hours after our lunch stop at the Olive Pit, a woman lost control of her car and clipped the end of one of our vans sending us crashing headfirst into the median and spinning a full 360 degrees. We safely came to a stop on the side of the road next to a steep, rocky embankment.
Immediately, two ambulances and a helicopter were on their way. They heard the words “15 passenger van” and assumed fatalities. As we waited for help to arrive we studied the skid marks and realized God’s hand was the only thing that kept us from rolling downhill. Four of us were sent to the emergency room with minor pain, but were soon back with nothing more serious than bruises. Thankfully, we were near an Adventist church and were able to spend the night there.
We arrived safely at Salem Central to find that our church family had been praying for us. Two women in particular felt impressed to pray for us about the time of the accident. It was a dramatic end to a successful tour, but we returned home with a renewed sense of God’s presence in our lives.
I have learned many things since our trip. I have realized that God has a plan for all of us. He saved us for a reason and I’ve been reassured He has not forgotten me and that we have a big future ahead of us. I’ve also realized how precious friends are and how much we need each other, just as we need our music to keep us alive.