Gloria Cho - Mexico - Summer 2013

Gloria Cho – Mexico – Summer 2013


Over the past month and a half, I lived in Yucatan, Mexico, with Pastor Kyle Wilson, his family, and other interns. His family consisted of his wife, his biological son Ethan, his two adoptive daughters Carla and Leydi, and his adoptive son Enrique. I stayed at the Nathanael Center in Cacalchen, Yucatan, where his family resided, and I shared a room with his two daughters and my two friends who came with me. By only the second or third day, everyone felt like family to me, and it was a smooth transition from American life to Mexican life.

The first day I was there, we went to a town called Santa Elena. We helped a church from North Carolina do a VBS there, and then we spent time with the kids. I didn’t really know what to expect, but so many kids showed up and praised God. It touched my heart, and yet, I was saddened by their living conditions and the lack of love from their parents I witnessed when I went to visit their homes.

For the first two weeks, school in Mexico was still in session, so I helped the Nathanael Center with their music and art program. The Nathanael center is like an afterschool hagwon, providing kids with opportunities to learn piano, do crafts, practice English, get homework help, and play with other kids in a safe environment. I helped the kids with music beats and reading simple notes. After school, we played with the kids and got to know them and their families. Most of the children were not so fortunate; some kids did not know their fathers, their mothers abandoned them, their siblings got pregnant at a young age, they were so poor some could not eat, and some did not come to school because they needed to work to support their family. I knew two students who were offered a full scholarship to go to high school, but turned them down because they had to go work to support their family. (School in Mexico is expensive: if you don’t pay something, it adds up, and if you have a debt at the end, you can’t graduate).

Then, after school ended, I taught a two-week intensive music program. It was three classes (piano, violin, and music theory) and there were approximately 30 students who took the classes. These kids are the kids who I spent the most time with, and the kids I miss the most. They had so much talent and intelligence to share. Every day, I was continually surprised by their eagerness to learn, and their passion inspired me and urged me to get up early in the mornings to teach them. I wish I had more time to further their education and fathom a relationship with them. The 5 weeks I was there was not enough time.

I then helped with the Nathanael Academy graduation. Graduations in Mexico are different than the ones in the United States because there are many performances to showcase what the kids have learned over the school year. For example, our English students made a cake using English, the dance students performed Harana (a traditional dance) and the music students each performed a song they have learned since their last performance for Mother’s day. Watching these kids, I knew that God has placed so much talent and heart in the town of Cacalchen.

I spent some time in another town called San Antonio, where there is a feeding center. Many kids from different towns come and stay there to attend school. Most of the children come from unfortunate backgrounds. Some of their mothers are prostitutes, some are already in gangs, some are unbelievably poor, and others are simply not taken care of at home. Although these kids may seem very hostile and barbaric, these kids have more heart and potential than the average kid. I did not spend too much time with them, but they were most of the kids I highly adored from my time in Mexico.

I spent some time in Ticul, building, supporting, and painting a home. This home was for Gustavo’s family (Neysi, Gustavo, Carlitos, Chucho). These four children grew up with no father, and the mother did not make much money. Their house before was just a hut with a few pots and pans for cooking. The funds that you have supported me with amounted to $1,500. I donated all of that to pay for the construction of Gustavo’s bathroom, and to buy a new refrigerator. This family was so grateful that they wrote on the wall “this home has been built by the dedicated Pastor Kyle and his family”. Thank you for making this possible. Having spent time with these kids, I know that these kids have so much potential, they will amount to something great. With their new, safe environment to grow in, I know that they will change God’s kingdom for the better.

The last week, a mission team joined us to host a VBS at the center. There were about 200 children present. The theme was “Everything that breathes, praise Jehova”. The kids varied from 4 year-olds to middle schoolers. We were blessed to have two professional pianists, and a conductor to help us host this camp. However, at first, when they showed us their program, I thought it would be impossible because it was so difficult. Singing with 4-year-olds? Playing two songs on the recorder with 150+ children? Performing with handbells and xylophones? Most of these kids did not even know what those things were. But I saw the Holy Spirit working in our VBS. Although there were so many kids, we had no major accidents, and all the kids who usually misbehaved, behaved so well. All the middle schoolers who we thought would be “too cool” for VBS, were very into playing the recorder, singing, AND playing the drums. At the end of the VBS, we had a free concert at the Concha (center of the town). It was so amazing to see travelers stop by to adore the performances by the kids. They were so good, and I really felt that these kids were beginning to encounter God’s love through our love and passion for the work that we did for the kids… that their lives may be unfortunate, but if they surrendered to God, there was still hope for them.

Everyday I would have morning and nighttime devotionals. This was the time where I would sit down, praise, and talk to God. Being in Mexico has made it so much easier to listen to God’s voice. Life was so still there, and I felt like I could talk to my Father for hours on end. Sometimes, when everyone has gone to bed, I would stay behind and have my own time with God. I have received answers to many of my deepest prayers during those times. It was unlike any other time. I hated leaving Mexico, because I knew that it would not be easy to listen to God’s voice like it is in Mexico.

Honestly, I felt so dry serving the church before I came. I was so caught up in serving others and shoving God’s word into other kids at the church, I never had time to fill myself up with the Holy Spirit. Even during worship, I would feel nothing. But when I was in Mexico, I felt God’s presence in everything I did, and I was filled from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed.

I could not fit every little detail in this presentation, and I wish I could tell you about the different stories I have heard, and the wonderful, inspiring people I have met, and the lessons I have learned. I truly want to thank you for supporting me and praying for me throughout this experience. I was so blessed during my stay, and I wish I could have stayed for a longer period of time. But I hope that you will continue to pray for me as I continue my walk with God, and if you want to hear more about my trip, I would love to share my experience with you. Thank you.

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  1. go says:

    Awesome Gloria! thanks for sharing!

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