Years ago I was a missionary in Tecate, Mexico and worked at a school for children with various disabilities. In the morning a yellow school bus would wobble down the rocky dirt road of my humble neighborhood to pick me up. Inside the bus I could hear my name being called out by one of the few children who was verbal. As I climbed into the bus the seats were occupied by beautiful children with special needs. Some were in wheel chairs strapped to the ground and the rest in seats. Everyone seemed to love the bus ride and going to school.
I never intended to work at this school. When I first came to Tecate I was working in the children’s ministry and leading worship during in-home bible studies. The opportunity arose when my visa expired. Back then it was necessary for missionaries to renew their visas every three months so we paid a visit to Dr. Limon, a high ranking government official who was also a Christian. We went to him for advice and direction on the renewal of our visas. He was an easy going man with a love for Coke and potato chips and believed in the work we were doing in Tecate. He gave us each various ideas on how to keep our visas and encouraged me to volunteer at a public special needs school. I was thrilled at the thought but had no idea how to get involved. He provided transportation and a place for me in the school. The teachers were kind and gentle to the children and seemed to really love their jobs in spite of the minimal resources they had to work with. They all patiently thought me how to assist them with teaching activities, crafts and even some basic physical therapy techniques. I was amazed at how smart the children were and so capable of learning.
As I look back, I’m amazed on how beautifully God orchestrates everything in our lives. Little did I know that my experience at this school was preparing me for my future! It’s been fifteen years and I now have a daughter of my own with Autism and other medical challenges. I feel so blessed to have walked down that Tecate road.