On Monday we flew in to Puerto Vallarta for our mission trip/vacation. My whole family is very excited for this trip, but none more than my husband and myself. We have traveled to Mexico before together, and have fallen in love with the culture and the people each and every time. We have found the Mexican people down here to be full of life, passion, and love for their family. Finally, we are able to bring our kids, and we know it is going to be an amazing experience.
When we arrived at the airport it was a shock, for a moment, to see the people all clamoring for our attention. I remember walking the streets of Tijuana and the endless people trying to catch your eye, but that was years ago and I had forgotten how incessant the noise can be. I had also forgotten about the heat. As we step off the plane and make our way to the outside, I can feel the heaviness and dampness in the air pulling at me, trying to slow me down. It is probably only 80 degrees outside, but there is a good 80-plus percent of humidity. When we vacation with family in the dessert, it can be 100 degrees or more, but it’s a hot, dry heat. This is much different, and yet, I don’t mind it. Even though I grew up in the Pacific Northwest with the endless wet and grey skies, this feels like home, deep inside of me. It only takes me a few minutes to get used to the heat, and then I am fine.
There are 16 people total in our group, and it is a good mixed bag. We have a few recent high school graduates, 3 kids ages 6-7, some people in their 20’s and 30’s, a family with a 14 and 17 year old, and one older gentleman. I can’t catch names yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. When we arrive at our resort, I am amazed. We have never stayed at a resort in Mexico before. We’ve either been our own tourists finding our own place to stay, or stayed at mission camps where you must wear shoes in the shower, put the toilet paper in the garbage, and not leave food on the floor for the cockroaches to eat at night. This is much different, but it’s just what we need. I love the fact that it is right on the ocean, and that you can hear the waves crash from almost any location.
In terms of my Crohn’s, I made some bacon-wrapped salmon skewers the night before and took those on the plane. They served as breakfast, lunch, and a partial dinner for me. 🙂 Otherwise, I had Cinnamon Crunch Cookies and Lara Bars to eat while traveling. I am being very careful because the last thing I want is to be taken out of this trip by having my Crohn’s flare up.
In the resort, the food at the buffet seemed fine. Mark (my husband) said that the resort wouldn’t have such good reviews from the United States and all over the world if people kept getting sick! Still, when we went for our first dinner, I had a moment of panic as I looked around at all the food. My mind went blank, and I couldn’t remember what might be safe and what might not be safe. I was lost. Finally I remembered the “peeled fruit only” rule, and went with that. Since I had had other foods for dinner, I simply stayed with pineapple, watermelon, and cantaloupe this first meal to see how it would do for me. I’m very glad to see the fresh fruit here, and ultra-glad that I can still eat it!
I did have a moment of sadness when we first got to the resort, and a few seconds of grieving that which I have lost. I LOVE authentic Mexican food….the kind you can’t really find in the US. I remember the last time we were here, and the freedom we had then: the fresh sweet breads every morning, the coffee, the candy, the authentic tamales, tacos, and enchiladas…all of which were amazing, and real. This time, I don’t have the ability to eat these things. I don’t like this disease right now for all the foods I cannot eat while here. But….I just have to shrug my shoulders and move on. There really is no reason for me to cry over foods that probably will make me sick, but rather it’s just best that I enjoy what I can have.
Pretty soon it was time to put the kids to bed. They were a little undone that they didn’t have any of their stuffed animals to sleep with, so I told them to snuggle up with their “pillow babies,” just extra pillows we had in the room. It worked like a charm, and pretty soon they were fast asleep. Mark and I wanted to touch base with each other, and so we quietly crept out to the deck to talk.
As soon as I stepped outside my heart did a happy sigh. The night air was of course heavy and damp, but with a cool breeze blowing in from the ocean it felt like heaven. The heavy rain clouds hovered above us and over the not-too-distant mountains, threatening us with a downpour. Thankfully, it did not come. The lights of the city played off the clouds, and the sounds of Mexican city-life filled our ears from all around us. On top of all of that, the ocean was crashing on the beach just down the sidewalk from us, creating the perfect “white-noise” for us as we talked. It was a magical moment in this magical land, sharing it with the one I love.
We talked for most of an hour. Our conversation first centered upon how good it felt to be back. The heat is nothing for us to deal with, and the rewards of the people and the culture far outweigh any comfort we might have lost. After a while our conversation turned to something he had talked about with one of the men of our group, Pastor Bill. Apparently, this man has a charge of healing on his life. For some reason that he doesn’t even really understand, when he prays, people get healed. Mark sat next to him on one of the flights down, and they talked a lot about this. My husband and I both are not new to the faith, but in many areas we feel like we are just babes, scratching the surface of the knowledge God’s word holds for us. It is our desire to learn more, and Bill was an open teacher.
My husband and I talked about healing in terms of his diabetes. Mark got his diabetes when he was 16 years old, and has lived with it for so long it is now just a part of his everyday existence. His is Type 1, which means his pancreas makes NO insulin, and he must inject this into himself 4 or more times a day. It is something that he can never escape because it hovers over his life each and every second of every day. And yet, here he was, telling me about his talk with Bill and actually wondering what it would be like for him to NOT have this chain around him. We talked about how sometimes God lets us have a “thorn” in our life, for a long time or just a short time, to bring about his plans. They might be plans that we see in our own life, or in those around us. Sometimes we might not see the fruition of his plan at all because it happens after we are gone. But regardless, Mark knows that he was given diabetes for a reason, and one of those reasons was for him to be miraculously healed someday, and for his family to see that shocking event and finally realize the power that our God holds. He doesn’t know the time for this healing, but he believes it to the innermost part of his being that God will bring this about. I don’t know if it is to happen on this trip, but I agree with him in faith that it will happen at some point in time.
It got me to thinking….this whole healing thing. I wondered out loud to my husband about my Crohn’s. If someone walked up to me right now and asked if I wanted to get this disease gone, I am not really sure that my answer would be “yes.” Of course I don’t want to live with this disease….who would want to have so much food withheld from them! Yet at the same time, I believe God let me have this disease for a reason, and it feels in my spirit too soon for me to be healed of it. He has a purpose in this, and I am still discovering that purpose.
I don’t know if that means I’m going to be healed or not, someday. It just means that God is not done with this part of my life, yet. He wants me to learn something through this, and I believe he has a ministry for me in this as well. I’m just a babe starting out, and to take away this in an instant would cheapen, in my mind, what God wants to do in my life at this time. I believe in His ultimate ability to take any disease away, but I also believe in God’s timing always being spot-on
So, yes I want healing, but no, I don’t feel the time is right. I will wait, and I will dig further. I believe that where I am right now with this disease is where God wants me. Yet I feel that I can go deeper, and that’s what I took out of the conversation with my husband. What else does God wish to do with my Crohn’s? How else does He want to use it? And how can I best pursue Him and his design through this?
I don’t doubt the power of my God. I’m going to be fine, both here in Mexico, and when we get home.
I look forward to seeing what He has next!