Last night I slept in my hammock. I woke up around 6:30 to a bunch of Mexican kids playing basketball. The Mexican food here is amazing. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be here this week. It’s an amazing experience.
The Baja Mission Trip is an event extremely close to my heart. To me and to my family, it has become more of a way of life, rather than a week-long trip that only takes up 6 days put of the year. Before we even get back to virginia, we already start planning and thinking about what we might be doing the next year. We say things like, “Next year we should do is…” and “We can’t forget to bring this next year!” We usually then start collecting things to bring with us within the next few weeks of being home. Often times we will be in a store and see a book or a toy and think to ourselves that it would be perfect to bring to Baja, so we’ll get it and put it in our Baja box where it will stay until it’s time to go. Yard sales, second-hand stores, and thrift stores are our best friends. We have found that if you tell people your story and what you’re doing, they are more than happy to give you leftover items and extra donated clothes or supplies.
Baja is addicting. Once you go, you will be hooked. Seeing the people and the culture, the way of life and the love that they have affects you in a way that draws you back year after year.
Wow! What a week. I left Virginia feeling anxious about where I was going and how I would get along. I had prayed for a sense of peace. My prayers were answered. The fears and anxieties relieved.
I don’t speak Spanish and wish I did so I could communicate better with the family we built the house for. Even though we couldn’t understand each other, we somehow did. It was exciting to watch the family get more and more excited as their new house neared completion. They didn’t just watch the progress, they worked beside us. What a blessing they were to me and the other team members. To show her appreciation, Berta prepared lunch for us on Thursday. Seems like a common thing for us to do, but in Baja, that was a considerable expense for the family.
God blessed us while we were in Baja, and I’m confident he will bless Berta, Ricardo, and the children in their new home!
Barren Baja. Miles and miles and miles of nothing but dirt, rocks, sand, scrubby cactus and sun. While the sun is relentless, the dirt is invasive. It gets into your mouth, nose, ears and eyes. Baja is a brutal, barren desert.
Our Baja 2014 Team was reminded during Wednesday morning worship that time and again God chose the desert as the place from which to bring hope and salvation to God’s people. In the desert, the Hebrews received the law and were led to the promised land. John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the Son of God in the desert and Jesus prepared himself for ministry by retreating into the desert.
This week we have also found hope and salvation in the desert.
The family our team served alongside included Ricardo and Bertha and their children Miguel, Karely and Reyna. When they first came to live with relatives on this plot of desert about four years ago, they had nothing but a tarp. When we arrived on Monday morning, they were living in a two room hut made of scrap boards and sheets of plastic.
As Christians, Ricardo and Bertha walked faithfully with God no matter their circumstance. And they prayed. This week, the Holy Spirit teamed up with a humble band of Virginians to answer their prayers. Each day as their new home began to take shape, their joy and excitement grew and grew. At our dedication of the house last night, their gratitude to God could not be contained.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Just like a life giving spring gushing in the wilderness.
I went shopping today in Mexico.
Some might think that’s not why we were sent, but let me tell you the whole story.
In addition to building the house for our family, we will also furnish it with furniture and household goods so they can have a good start in their new home. Some of the furniture is being made on the build site, like bed platforms and cabinetry made out of 2×4’s, but some of it is purchased. There are many second-hand stores in the area, most of them obtaining their inventory in the U.S. – you can find almost anything from these stores, including clothing, baby items, and furniture. So I told our family’s Mom this morning that we would be going to pick out furniture and she teared up. Emotion over used furniture.
The family currently lives in a two-room dwelling (it cannot be called a house). There is one bed, one dresser, and a dirt floor for a family of five. I guess when that is all you have in the world, even used furniture would elicit some emotion.
Wednesday is usually the day that we start to work on the roof of the house. The roof is, in many people’s opinions, the most fun part of the construction process. From the roof, you can see all around the area that we are building in. Our house is on a hill so there is a great view from the top. When you look down inside the house from the roof, you can really see the entire project come together. Not only is it great to watch what is happening from the roof, but the actual roof building is fun, from nailing on plywood, to stapling tarpaper, to tarring on the shingles. If anyone wants to be an integral part of the build and have a new perspective on things, the roof is the place to be.
Usually when the vans pull up on the first day, all the neighborhood kids come running to see what is going on, but this year no kids showed up until about halfway through the first work day. We took a soccer ball out into the street to play with our family and at least seven other kids showed up to play. When we got to the site today, they were all there waiting for us. The neighborhood kids are fun to play with, but I have formed a stronger bond with our family’s kids. This is the first year where the family that we are building for has kids that are really open to us and willing to let us play with them. I am looking forward to the next two days to bond more with the family.
Today started out slow, but we got moving pretty quickly on the job site. The mountains here are beautiful. I am having such a great time and I am very glad that I decided to come.