This I Believe

Hannah - Pepperell, Massachusetts
Entered on January 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I Left My Heart in Mexico

One of the defining moments in my life happened a little over a year ago, on a mission trip to Mexico. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mexico spent most of its time and energy rebuilding their tourist areas, but left small, rural towns in the dust. It is here where I spent eight days submerged in Mexican culture, rebuilding and painting local houses.

Our group stayed at a large church in the center of the town. Every evening we had a meeting about the day which included prayer, a Bible lesson, and an open mic miracle session. During this time anyone was able to share with the group a miracle they had witnessed that day. For the most part they were simple: a local helping someone find her way when she was lost; being able to communicate despite the language barriers; a stranger giving them fresh food as a thank you gift for their hard work. I found that I couldn’t relate to these. I didn’t consider them miracles, just kindness.

During my stay we ate at a local restaurant every morning and evening, and ate PB&J for lunch. My stomach couldn’t handle the foreign food. After two days of trying to keep it down, I resorted to eating only the PB&J for lunch.

On my fifth evening while walking home from the restaurant with my friend Kaila, we noticed two young girls playing in a pile of dirt. The girls immediately ran over to us, curious. They didn’t understand our words when we asked to photograph them, but they knew what a camera looked like and posed as we snapped shots.

As we left, the older girl stopped us. She ran out of sight and returned a minute later with a large orange and a machete. Kaila and I watched, amazed, as the nine-year old girl peeled and cut the orange with a foot-long machete, then handed half to each of us. She smiled, encouraged us to eat it, then disappeared with her sister into her home.

I was utterly astounded by this act. This girl unknowingly changed my view on miracles. After eating one sandwich a day, she had just provided me with nourishment that I would never have been able to obtain without her. I suddenly understood what the other members of my group had been talking about during our miracle sessions.

I believe in oranges; small acts of kindness committed by complete strangers that not only help us, but alter our view on humanity and the world around us. I believe that these are miracles, and that they make a difference in someone’s life. A miracle does not have to be turning water into wine, or feeding a village full of people with a single fish, as the Christian scriptures say. A miracle comes in many different forms, and none are more significant than others. This I believe.