I arrived in Harlingen at 2:30 p.m. On Thursday night. My uncle, Rolando, picked me up and they were gracious enough to keep me at their house for the weekend.
That night the Martin girls came to pick me up for practice of a drama we were going to put on on Saturday for the princess conference. It was so good to see Joanna, Julie, and Jalisa! By the time they brought me back to the house I was exhausted from having only 3 hours of sleep the night before and being a nervous wreck over flying by myself. The flight went great and I really had nothing to worry about but I guess I couldn't help it.
The next day I went to my grandma's house to see her and also to help out with a fundraiser the church was doing there during the morning. They made chicken plates, which also contained brisket, potato salad, rice, and charro beans. They are pros at it and we're done in no time. It was amazing to see.
While I was there my uncle, Cesar, asked me to go with him to a service in Rio Bravo at 6:30 p.m. I had practice with the Martin girls at 3:30 and was hoping to be out in time.
We finished around 5 and I was able to make it to my grandma's house, who lives next door to my uncle who is taking me to Mexico. I had only a few minutes to freshen up and jot a few notes down. I was kind of unsure of what I was supposed to do that night. At first it sounded like I was supposed to preach! :0 But when the time came I was just to share my testimony and experiences to the youth after the main service was over.
The service was very different than what we are used to but it was very powerful. There was a visiting preacher that preached the message, of which I understood about 3/4, then the congregation gathered for a moving altar service. In the beginning, I was praying for several of the ladies then desired to receive something for myself. I was still unprepared for the message I was to give that night and at the Princess Conference. Sure, I had my notes together but I know an anointing is necessary to deliver a message that impacts. I didn't want my words to only hit their ears but to also pierce their hearts. During that same altar call I felt the hand of God reached down and refresh my spirit. It was exactly what I needed for that night and the Conference.
After the service was over, the pastor called for all the young people to gather towards the front of the left section of the church. It was then that he passed the mic to me. The word that was laid on my heart when I was first asked to speak was "surrender". Remembering the time when I was their age, I knew that there is a powerful pull to keep young people from doing the work of God. It's so easy to get distracted by material things or relationships. I shared my mission experiences and what I learned during my 5 month sickness upon arriving from one of my mission trips. It was during that night that I understood a whole new level of surrender. Psalm 18:1 became so real to me in a way that will last the rest of my life. It was then that I decided that my strength wasn't enough, but to depend on God's. The message was only for about 15-20 minutes but it held their attention intently.
Evangelist Roberto Morales was my interpreter and gave them a mini sermon after I was finished with my part. It was pretty powerful as well. The pastor spoke a few words then closed the meeting by having me pray over the youth. The presence of the Lord was felt so powerfully.
As everyone was leaving, a girl came up to talk to me and as soon as she began talking about her own desire for missions she began to cry. With tears streaming down her face, she spoke of her dream to minister in Africa, thinking that it was an impossibility until I shared my own experiences in Nigeria and Sierra Leone. We are the exact same age, 23, and I could see the intensity of her love for the Lord. I encouraged her to continue doing what she can right where she is and God will do mighty things. In only a matter of minutes it felt as though I had met a 'kindred spirit'.
As soon as she hugged me and left another girl approached me, saying how that many people had quieted her spoken desires to do mission work as well because she was a woman. We exchanged testimonies and contact info and I left Rio Bravo encouraged that these opportunities to challenge young people can make a difference.
The pastor's daughter, Gabi, (in picture below) kept me company while we ate and the men talked after the service.
It was nearly midnight when I arrived at my uncle's house and had only a few hours of sleep before I it was time to get up to pray, study for my lesson, and continue to go over lines for the drama. The anticipated day of the Princess Conference was now here!
Sonia E. Vargas
Sonia's desire and hope is to write for the purpose of inspiring this generation, especially young woman.
Hannah Helm is a fun and outgoing young woman who loves to bring laughter and joy to anyone she comes in contact with. She is 23 years old and is a leader of Girl's Exalting the Master Ministry.
Paula is a passionate follower of Christ and loves to encourage others around her to do the same. She is 27 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014.
Kristyn is a sweet and gentle young lady from Trinity Holiness Tabernacle. She is 19 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She plays the piano and sings beautifully. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014 and Honduras team in 2016.