Plunging into the depths of the unknown while leaving my home quickly became reality after being accepted to serve at an orphanage in Vicente Guerrero, Mexico.

By all means, there is familiarity and curiosity throughout this whole entire experience. I have served at this mission during past summers but only for a week at a time and with a group by my side.

However, this time around brings a handful of change and blessings in the process of it all. For instance, I am living in a trailer. I’m now considered staff. I am staying for a total of three months and not associated with a team of visitors.

Fortunately, my past experiences in Mexico have prepared my heart and mind to fully grasp this culture and country after witnessing tight-knit families and deep faith facing devastation. Oh, and the smell of fresh tortillas and pastries in the Calimax market are always a reason to return.

I came here with the desire to know myself better, to grow in my faith, and to invest every piece of myself into serving wholeheartedly by giving every ounce of my love to the children here.

Since getting here, all my desires have been met through faithfully serving and growing in my character like never before.

The challenge of being alone, and basically thrown into adulthood, was an exhilarating expectation, but one with unexpected realities. Due to the fact, there has been a ton of “firsts” throughout my journey in Mexico – from grocery shopping, living on a tight budget to living in a trailer with no car. (haha)

My experience in Mexico has given me the opportunity to seek life outside of my comfort zone and to better known myself through it all.

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Shasta Garcia, a 20-year-old graduate from Columbia College where she earned an associates degree in communications, has worked at the Calaveras Enterprise since 2013, first as an intern and then as a Web Content Coordinator.

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