Mackenzie Apel is 21 years old. She grew up in Northern Ohio, and moved to Nashville Tennessee to attend Belmont University to study Social Work, with minors in business and law. Some of her hobbies are being an outdoor fanatic and taking time to do crafts.
When have you visited Caring Hearts Ministries?
I visited for the first time in 2014 with Belmont. I am getting ready to return in August!
How did you get involved in short term missions?
I was interested in coming on a trip because I love to travel. Ever since I went, I have been dying to go back. The people in San Luis are so friendly and have so much faith in the Lord. Visiting Caring Hearts truly changed my spiritual walk with the Lord.
Describe your favorite or most memorable experience or encounter during your trip.
When we visited the dump, I met this woman who i instantly connected with. She spoke english and kept telling me that she thought of me like her daughter. This woman spoke into me more than I could have spoken to her in regards to the conversation we had about God. You never know who god will place in their life and how god will use them to tell what you need to hear, even in such unexpected places.
How has your time in san Luis impacted your life back home in the United States?
Now I feel called to serve others here in Nashville. When I graduate I want me job to be serving and loving others as well.
We Love you Mackenzie! Thank you for visiting San Luis!
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Aaron Keith is from Indiana, Pennsylvania and is currently in San Luis on his third trip to San Luis. This time, he is doing something different and is traveling solo with the mission of tutoring and teaching English at the Oasis Boys’ home. Aaron is a huge blessing to Caring Hearts and the Oasis Boys love him. Aaron is keeping a blog while he is there.
Here is a piece of this weeks blog post from him! Check out the rest of his blog here: https://aaronkeithword.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/la-semana/
“I landed in Yuma, Arizona on Monday morning with no idea of what would be in store for me. Even though I had been here before, it was with a group so the challenge of going solo was a little intimidating. I admit, I was scared at first but I felt God pulling me here so I threw my trust to him and I made it safely! After getting past the border safely I was picked up by Deonicio; he is one of the caretakers for the boys at the home. We arrived at the home just in time for lunch. Now, I was accustomed to coming and staying with a group. But since I was there alone I got to experience life with the family! This meant that I got to eat lunch, dinner, and partake in some of the activities like part of the family like soccer games, etc. Truthfully the experience was a little awkward at first. In my culture I was accustomed to keeping a distance but soon I learned that here everyone is welcomed and treated like family!
I think the most striking part of this week was getting to know the boys that resided in the house; each one from different backgrounds and stories but together they possess a lot of potential. When I first came here I was not familiar with the daily routine of the family but soon found out it was not that much different than any other. The boys awoke everyday before school and did the chores that they were assigned for the week before school. After school we ate lunch together and then the boys went off to finish up the work that they began in the morning. The rest of the afternoon wrapped up with the boys doing homework with Claudia, the tutor, and rest time. Since it was a really hot day, this
consisted of some relaxation while watching a good movie. Dinner followed then we relaxed and it was time for bed. I felt as though I was at home! Everyone Treated me as one of Their Own!
Each one of the boys struck in many different ways. From my first encounters back in January and March I felt a bond form and this week has strengthened that bond. The youngest boys like Juanito, Allonzo, and Luis, I found, are just like any typical young boy; fascinated with everything and always being curious. Sometimes even though it got them in trouble (but hey, boys will be boys right?). By the end of the week I felt as if I was one of the adopted big brothers! The two older siblings, Reyes and Pena, typical high school/college students, studying for college entrance exams and taking charge of projects around the house. In every way the boys have so much potential! God’s plan for them is great! I can feel it!
The Citizens of San Luis are a wonderful group of people! I got to interact with them at church where I witnessed some of the greatest praise I have ever felt. The joy that I felt was something special. In past trips I learned the story of the faith that brought` this small part of San Luis together. I learned the story of the journey that the people, who had barely any equipment possession, took to come together in faith and help each other, giving all that they had in the name of the Lord. Most certainly it helped me evaluate- my way of life and how I could give back more. The people here are the greatest, certainly most kind-loving group of people I have ever met. I aspire to be more like these wonderful people; it is for those who said that freely give all that they have, with what little they have, in the name God and faith shall reap a beautiful harvest in the end. THUS, this example I have witnessed. That is the way that I want to live my life and I hope others follow that because together as people of God, we can do many things that would not be possible if we where to stand alone.
That, my friends, is a wrap of my first week in this wonderful place. I know that I have an entire week and a half left but I still cannot keep thinking that I will be leaving here so soon. I feel so at home here. I know that I will not be able to stay forever physically but the lessons that God teaches me here shall last forever. This beautiful place and its people shall forever be in my heart, an engraving that will shape me into the person that God wants me to be, a journey that I am looking forward to!”