Madison DiRocco (3rd from the left) shares her thoughts about the Student Ministries trip to Mazatlan. It’s so cool to see students building intentional friendships with others who may be different then themselves. 

The Mazatlán trip was full of lasting friendships, memorable experiences, and heartbreak. Through the course of the week we passed out bibles in a village called Concordia, managed to put on 5 separate VBS’ at 5 different church communities, and we completed various work projects for the community.  Our team consisted of middle school, high school, and college students. Although the group was across the board with age, we worked together like I have never experienced before. Todd Shoemaker encouraged the team to make one friendship that they could continue at home and this sparked a friendship movement within our team.

Although I grew closer to my teammates, I was not prepared to make friendships with the translators and staff of Shoulder to Shoulder. I cannot put to words how intentional, God-honoring, and passionate the staff was. They truly strived to have friendships with each person from our team.

Even though the friendships were extraordinary, the heart break is tough. I went on this trip with my three younger siblings. When we first came home my sister started to cry because she had running water and could flush her toilet paper, all simple things we too often aren’t thankful for.  I got to walk alongside her as she processed her pain and experiences from Mexico. This brought my whole family together as we recognized our blessings and acknowledged our pain. Now we are continuing to talk through what it means to carry the mission back home to Copley schools.

All in all, I loved the mission of Mazatlán. I quite often miss my new friends, but I am overjoyed by the friendships created between the students on the trip. The week was tedious and exhausting, but the fruit was plentiful in the end. While my heart breaks from the stories and people we met in Mexico, I am excited to keep growing in community with the team and my family.