We broke camp this morning and headed back across the border. We managed to cross with very little trouble…other than my passport being flagged for further review. We spent about 30 minutes waiting for things to get cleared up while the rest of the team went to In-&-Out Burger. We were able to finally catch up and had our meal.
Currently we are sitting at Mission Bay waiting to check in to our hotel before taking our first real shower since last Saturday before heading out for dinner. It’s the first time we’ve seen grass and shady trees since Saturday.
Yes, we are enjoying it.
Today we did something different – we were able to travel to two new sites to complete three houses that were left incomplete by other teams. All that was left was for us to do the second layer of stucco, so we slept in a little and started our day later. Since we knew today’s work wouldn’t take us more than a few hours, we took a laid back approach to things.
We split the groups into a smaller group and a larger one. One team was left to complete one home, and the larger group went off to complete two homes. The larger group’s interaction was limited to one of the families since the other family was at work, but that interaction was great and allowed us the opportunity to share the love of Christ with them.
The funniest moment was when we were working by the front door and Jim McGhee was concerned that one of the children kept begging for water. He wanted to give him some of ours so that the child’s need could be met. I laughed when I listened closely to the conversation. What Jim thought was a child begging for something he didn’t have turned out to be a child begging for water after biting into a pepper his mother warned him not to. His cry was for more water to ease his pain. It was cute, and though I wanted to help the boy out, his mother was in control of the situation.
Tomorrow we break camp and head back to the US, and even though we are excited to get back to our families, a part of us wants to stay here and continue to be in this community with each other. We know we can’t, but we long to keep this community as long as we can.
Today we finished our houses and were able to present the keys to the families. It’s always an emotional time because of the work and effort we’ve put into building their new home and relationships with them. We are sad to leave because even though it’s only been a few days, we’ve fallen in love with them in that short time span. It’s even harder when the neighborhood kids are with us daily and we’ve spent time loving on them as well. Kids like Javier, Kimberly, Luis – we’ve enjoyed our time with them, and now we have to leave them.
We had a special treat this year because the homeowners decided to thank us by cooking a meal for us. We were privileged to have homemade chicken flautas with guacamole, lettuce, sour cream and crumbled cheese. It was delicious, and the food brought back memories of my childhood. At the first bite, I was transported back to my mom’s kitchen, and I could see her at the stove cooking and laughing. It was a great memory that God blessed me with today.
Our campfire talk was awesome. There were a lot of God stories shared, and He was worshipped in response. The fact that He has revealed Himself in so many ways on this trip is overwhelming. No two people encounter Him the same way, and yet the result is the same – we find ourselves holding the hand that holds the world.
And that’s the way it should be.
At the end of day two, both teams find themselves in an unfamiliar position – we are ready to start stuccoing the houses first thing in the morning. For both houses to be framed, wired and papered by the end of the second day is an amazing accomplishment. We have been united in our purpose, and have kept to a single vision – be the fragrance of Christ to those round us. That vision has helped us build the houses, relationships, and the unity that we are having.
God is working on us. Taranza shared her testimony tonight, and it was very powerful. Even though I’ve gotten to know her better over the last year, I was overwhelmed with what she shared tonight. Even though she’s had some tough trials in her life, her dependence on God has carried her through them all, and God’s faithfulness has been very evident. Even though I know God is there supporting us through the good and bad times, hearing another person share what He has done in their lives makes my heart sing.
The stories people shared tonight around the campfire were awesome as well. God is revealing Himself in many different ways to people, and it’s a sight to behold.
I anxiously await to see what He has in store for us tomorrow.
We had a productive day today! We were able to build the walls and have both houses framed in one day! We had the roof frames built and placed on the homes. We are ready to finish the roofs and start wiring the homes first thing in the morning. The teams were the model of efficiency and servanthood. Experienced team members were quick to teach first timers what needed to be done, and fun was the order of the day. While we were focused on getting our homes built, the overarching goal was to glorify God and to do His will.
We interacted with the families and the neighborhood kids and quickly built relationships with them. The vendors came to the sites and sold their wares, and we bought some cool stuff.
Mike Tooley delivered an amazing campfire talk that really spoke to me, and we were able to share a few God moments that we had experienced today.
An amazing start to what I am sure will be an amazing week.
A year of planning. Months of preparation. Lots of prayer, trust, and asking for strength and protection. And now we are in San Diego, about to take the last leg of travel to our destination.
A week in the Mexican desert building houses may not seem fun to many, but as the body of Christ, it’s the heart of servitude. We seek to bring the Fragrance of Christ to a place that desperately needs it, and we seek to be an aroma that is pleasing to God.
We are 46 people from 5 churches in 3 states, but we are all under God’s banner.