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Hello my name is Brody and for the last two months of 2023, I had the opportunity to be a part of the organization, Yucatan Peninsula Mission (YPM). For the months of November and December I lived at the YPM base camp house in the town of Leona Vicario, Quintana Roo, with my host family and YPM directors, Wilian and Erly. During the two months at YPM, my primary vocations were teaching unofficial English classes, assisting in formal English classes at the YPM high school, and assisting at the YPM water plant. Secondarily, I delivered water and generally helped where and when I could. The following is a very condensed overview of my reasons for going to Leona Vicario, my favorite aspects of the journey, and then ending remarks.
My reason for going to Leona Vicario was not necessarily out of a burning passion to help others, I believe it is important to mention this because the truth does matter. Prior to this journey to the Yucatan I was stuck. I had no clarity of mind and soul and had many directions to go but found myself rather stuck. My pastor saw I was lost and offered this idea. With hesitation I declared that I would go; I needed to do something and helping others seemed good. Anyways, I hope it becomes very clear as you continue to read, but the longer I was in the Yucatan the clearer it became that I was meant to be there, that I was sent there.
My favorite experiences were the ones that were the hardest. By far, my favorite was teaching English classes in the town of Ignacio Zaragoza (Kilómetro Ochenta). With very little knowledge of Spanish, I worried if my contribution was helpful or effective. But every class, 10-20 kids would come to the small outdoor church with huge smiles on their faces and excitement to learn. When I would give them homework they would cheer. This amazed me because there were no real incentives or grades from me to make them do it. They simply had a huge desire to learn. In addition to classes in Kilometro Ochenta, I would help in the YPM high school’s English classes. I helped the real English teacher teach the student songs that helped with pronunciation. At the end of their semester, they performed these songs.
The next place where I aided in a small way was the water plant. I loved this place. The work was demanding (I would only be there for an hour to a couple hours at a time) but the four people that worked there became my best friends in Leona. Although at first, I could only try to speak their language they always met me with open arms and they became my friends. I would lend them a hand of labor (not a lot in true perspective) and in return they gave me another home here in Leona.
Wilian and Erly, their sons Willy and Andre, all invited me into their home, their family with open arms. Willian and Erly worked very hard to make me feel comfortable and at home. They brought me into their extended families’ homes and brought me into communion with the residents of Leona and in other towns. The endlessly kind people here allowed me into their communities with a warm embrace.
While being here I witnessed everyone loving long days and loving their neighbor. I have seen children with a true excitement to learn, and met children with more gratitude towards being than I can comprehend. I am simply grateful to have had the opportunity to be here, to have met these amazing people, and to have gotten to help in a very small way.
Thank you, Yucatan Peninsula Mission.
Thank you to the FUPC congregation that helped make this experience.