Beauty in the Little Things: Mission Trip Excerpt

(June 26th 2006 – Reynosa, Mexico)


I sensed the need to fast on Monday. That morning we had our first of many ATL’s (Ask The Lord), where we would sit quietly and pray

little girl in orphanage
little girl in orphanage

for direction on what He wanted us to do during our next session. We would have 7 sessions over the next four days with our options being 1) playing with the little girls at the orphanage, 2) doing construction on the second floor of the orphanage, 3) prayer while walking the neighborhood, 4) going to the detention center to play with/minister to the teenagers who were there due to whatever law they had broken, and 5) covering prayer room where people would pray for all the other team members out doing the other four things.

This was explained, and we were then instructed to sit quietly and listen to the Lord and he instructed each of us. This is a bit intimidating because I didn’t have a lot of experience hearing the voice of God. What if He didn’t speak? I know there is a Holy Spirit to teach and lead me, but What if He speaks and I couldn’t hear Him? How would I know it was Him? But, I was not in charge and did what I was told. The rabbi prayed over us and I began to listen. I “heard” that I was to go to the orphanage. I didn’t actually “hear” a voice, but this word came to mind. I did not notice anything fantastical or mystical; I just had this word “orphanage” come to mind. It was pretty easy for me to be certain this was God because going to the orphanage was the second to last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go play with kids. I didn’t have kids yet and they kind of intimidated me. But that word came to mind and so I figured it was God. There’s an important lesson in that. Seek God’s will. Listen and Obey. The direction He sends us in might not be the one we wanted to go, but we will always find out that it was the most rewarding and amazing direction if we just have trust in Him that He wants and is leading us towards what is best for us.

Holy Spirit told me that I should go to the Orphanage. On the way there, Lisa noticed my journal was an

Wes Bridel painting girl
Wes Bridel painting girl

artist’s sketch pad and asked me if I draw. I told her that a year and a half ago, I had decided to start painting and so had bought a sketch pad, paints, canvas, etc, but never actually did it. That I was intimidated by the empty canvas. When we got to the orphanage, I found a new thing to be intimidated by: Little girls running around everywhere. I had no idea what to do with these girls. We brought a lot of supplies, and when Courtney noticed that I had been standing helpless for some time, she told me that she saw that my calling was face painting. So I grabbed the paints and spent the next hour or more painting little girl’s faces. At one point, Lisa looked down from construction on the roof and yelled down that it looked like I had found my canvas 🙂

(Austin, TX – January, 2009)

This is a simple little story that doesn’t sound like much, but this trip was filled with so many of these little “coincidences.” Why had Lisa asked me about this sketch pad? What were the chances? Soon afterwards someone else who had not heard this conversation directed me to paint. What are the chances of that? There were many different things we had to do with the girls. And then when I was oblivious to these coincidences, Lisa managed to notice what was going on from the roof, remember the conversation, and brought it back to my attention. Nothing outwardly amazing here, but I point it out because even if the “big” miracles that happened later in this trip and others didn’t happen, all these little stories added up each day to prove beyond any shadow of doubt to all of us there that God was very present in each moment of our lives. This was very clear to see on a trip where I dedicated my every moment to God, along with a large team of fellow believers doing the same thing, lead by an amazing man of God. But how much more present in my moment to moment life back in Austin is God willing to be if I would just dedicate myself more fully to Him?

It’s something I try to think about every day.

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Wes Bridel becomes the canvas
Wes Bridel becomes the canvas

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