For Todd and Anna Mixon and their daughter Courtney, however, there could not be a better or more rewarding way to spend a break.
As certified United Methodist Volunteers In Mission team leaders, Todd and Anna Mixon have been organizing international mission trips for three years through their home church, City on a Hill United Methodist Church in Woodstock.
This year’s mission trip took an unexpected turn that has now led them in the direction of adopting a child.
For the past two years the family’s go-to destination has been the Dominican Republic where they have helped build a church, ministered to the homeless, and led a children’s vacation Bible school.
This past September, the Mixons and their eager team of volunteers had every intention of returning to the Dominican for a third time during the Cherokee County School District’s September break, but were unable to secure a spot after the month of August.
“The plan was originally that we were definitely going to go back to the Dominican Republic,” said Todd Mixon, who works for Ridge Environmental Solutions and also occasionally preaches at City on a Hill. “We felt like that was our passion, like that was where God wanted us…I just think that when you look at it as a whole, and you really trust in God, you believe He either opens doors or closes doors.”
While the door may have closed on the Dominican Republic, a new one opened with the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua, and even more opportunities were available when the Mixon family arrived.
Children’s ministry and vacation Bible school have always been highlights of their trips, the family said.
One child in particular stood out to the Mixons. A bright-eyed girl was immediately drawn to the family and won their hearts during the seven-day trip.
On their second day in Nicaragua, the team spent their evening having dinner with the local children they ministered to.
“She kept telling (Anna) something in Spanish, and of course she couldn’t understand what it was,” Todd Mixon said as he explained the girl’s immediate connection with his wife. “Later, when she asked the interpreters, they said that she wanted (Anna) to be her sponsor and to take her home with us.”
Beyond the girl’s request, however, the Mixons never discussed the idea of adoption on the trip. When they returned home, thoughts of the little girl back in Nicaragua weighed heavily on their minds.
That Sunday morning, Todd Mixon sat his wife and daughter down and they came to the conclusion that something had to be done.
It only took a day for the family to wrestle with the idea of adoption. Despite concerns about the cost of adopting another child and the lengthy and complicated process of foreign adoptions, the Mixons were positive that this was the path God was leading them down.
Today, the Mixon family is in the process of adopting the child.
Legal papers have been sent to Nicaragua and back and they have acquired a lawyer, but there are a dozen more steps and hoops to jump through ahead of them.
All they can do for now, says Todd Mixon, is be patient and trust God to help them realize this newfound dream.