Thursday, March 01, 2012

Reflections of Mexico - When Plan B Becomes Plan A

The interesting thing about this mission trip is that in the beginning I didn't really want to go.  Way back in August when registrations opened for the trip I had no intention of going on the trip.  However, my oldest daughter wanted to go and she didn't want to go without me...and I wouldn't have let her.  My oldest son was chomping at the bit to go, he'd been before and was anxious to go again.  Kelly and started praying about it and decided it might be a good idea for our child who thinks he's entitled to, well, everything, to go see a much poorer culture than the one he is privileged to enjoy.  Since Kelly was needed at home we decided that I was the best choice to go on the trip.

Don't get me wrong, I've loved every mission trip to Mexico that I've been on, I've just noticed that as I get older I am much more inclined to stay home and sleep in my own bed!  I wasn't looking forward to a bus trip and all the discomfort that goes along with that.  As it turned out, there appeared to be only a few of us planning to go so we decided to fly.  "Much better," I says to myself.  Then suddenly there were 33 of us planning to go.  Our plan, according to the mission base, was for us to build a home for a three generation family group of 17 people.  No problem, we thought, and started raising money for the project.

One fund-raiser that was particularly successful was my son's haircut.  Josiah agreed to have his hair cut...but only for a lot of money.  That hair raised about $3000 for our project, and got him a pretty nice haircut.  Don't anyone get to used to seeing him with short hair, he'll probably let it grow out again!
Before - it was longer than this when he actually got it cut.
After - we can see his handsome face.
The week before we left we found out the family we were going to build for took off!  Fortunately the cement hadn't been poured yet or that might have been a really big disaster.  We headed down to Mexico not really sure what we would be doing and didn't find out until the morning we started building.  The trip itself was pretty uneventful other than a few items getting taken away at customs.  Three families drove down and 21 of us flew.

At the end of the week we were able to dedicate a house to a family that wasn't actually present on site because the husband was in hospital.  The amazing thing that happened there was that the parents of the couple weren't on speaking terms when we got there and by the end of the week were working together.  Our prayer is that full restoration of their relationship would happen.  They are both attending the church across the street and, as far as we know, Christians.

Not only did we build a house we built an addition to a pastor's house  in the same area.  He and his wife had been praying for this addition to their tiny home for three years.  They were overwhelmed that we built in three days.  This pastor has a side business of building windows which he also uses as a ministry to young boys, teaching them how to build, as well.  We were delighted to leave money to build a roof to replace the tarp he uses to cover his tools and worksite.  We also left food that they can distribute as they see fit to local residents.  Cesar and Maria are doing an excellent job of being Jesus in their community and we were so pleased to be able to bless them in this way.

Hold on, we're not done yet!  A house, an addition, and a storefront cafe!  A lovely single mom who runs the breakfast club at the community centre that was built last time our team went down had a vision to start a cafe for the early morning workers who go out to the field.  She wants to use the money to support the ministry at the community centre.  She has five kids to support as well.  We were super excited (and so was she) to not only build the storefront, but to supply here with cooking utensils, pots, plates and cups for her business.  

In the afternoons part of the team ran "The Sunshine Club", a VBS program for kids.  They had some bumps along the the way but remained faithful.

It was a remarkable trip in so many ways.  Here are a few other snippets that we are so thankful for:
1.  No injuries beyond band-aid assistance.
2.  Incredible bonding between the youth on the trip.
3.  Not only did they gel with each other, but also with the Alberta group that was at the base at the same time.
4.  Excellent working relationships between kids and adults.
5.  Some kids got spit on, hit or kicked by some boys at VBS, but they did NOT retaliate and that was amazing.
6.  No hold-ups at customs.
7.  Great food.
8.  A lot of laughter.
9.  Very low stress.
10.  An unexpected late night trip to the ocean with a local youth group to watch the grunyons run (didn't actually see any).
11.  Many answers to prayer

I could go on much longer but I'll save some space for a few pictures that say plenty...

The whole Oskar

We split into three teams to build, this is Henricetta and the storefront team.

Pastor Cesar and Maria, we built the addition for them.

Abby and some of her groupies, Daniel, Manuel, Diego and ??

The "Old Ladies" cabin being a little silly.

Ryan and Josiah learned to roof one day and then did the addition roof by themselves the next day.  They were a good team.

Calla Lilies growing in her garden.

the addition

Working together, the family was very eager to help their sister /daughter and her husband.

Getting the countertop ready.

Part of the puppet/VBS team.

Oskar Jr. and Chris spent a lot of time together.

Josiah was impressed with the 3L coke bottles! :)

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