Monday, March 29, 2010

Mexico Day Two

Mondays are always difficult days - the dreaminess of building a home in four days gets met by the reality of the hard work required to actually accomplish that dream. We arrived to our site and there was a rectangular concrete slab in the ground... and we (yes, your kids and leaders) are building a home on that concrete slab in four days! Our energy was good most of the day and we got great work done. The first order of business was forming teams (paint crew, framing crew, cutting crew), and then getting the wood unloaded from the van so we could start building the walls of the home. Everyone had their hands on deck today, it was really neat to see. Students who didn't feel comfortable hammering at the beginning of the day were doing it like pros by lunch time. We successfully got all of the framing up for the 4 sides of the house, plus 3 more pieces framed which form the division between the two bedrooms and living room in the house. By 4:00pm all of the siding was also hammered onto the frame and the roof was being started. It seems like we are right on cue so far.

Some notes on students...

Anthony seemed a bit hesitant to really hammer in those nails, but after a few he was going to town on them like a champ.

Boston took the lead and did a great job on one of our teams that was putting up the siding. He was on the ladder guiding the pieces in like they were a puzzle and he was the master puzzle solver :-)

BJ was a cutting maniac with Paul Stordahl! The two of them, along with Ashely Camuso for part of the day, cut at least 100 pieces of wood with the precision of seasoned veterans.

Josh is more than capable on the siding as well, maneuvering his way around the top of the siding like a man on a mission.

Caleb wields that hammer like it's an extension of his arm! He was attempting to perfect that elusive "one hit" wonder... getting a nail all the way into the wood on just one hit. I can't say he ever fully accomplished it, but it was fun seeing him try!

Tara had her hand in a bit of everything today. She paints well and hammers at that wood with... well... good effort :-) She is always an encouraging companion to have on a work crew.

Charlene improved a great deal with her hammering abilities. She is a very good communicator out there - finding solutions to problems and helping in any way she can.

As for us leaders... we are hard at work in every aspect of the house - sometimes helping struggling students along with something, but just as often learning from their expertise too! We are going to be tired at the end of this trip, to be sure, but it will be well worth it.

The view from our home is SPECTACULAR. It's perched on a hill and there is a panoramic view of the ocean and mountains around it. It's absolutely gorgeous. I took a few water breaks and just was in awe at the beauty of God's creation. Yet in the midst of such beauty there is great poverty and injustice as well. The middle class hardly exists in our area - there are many incredible homes near the beach but far more shacks in very unhealthy (even un-livable) conditions. So we know this work is important, and we are joining the year round effort of the missions organization to build one home at a time and provide for those who cannot afford quality living standards. The Ensenada Outreach Center, where we are staying, is part of an organization called YUGO - Youth Unlimited Gospel Outreach. This outreach center has built over 1200 homes in the last 14 years, bringing the hope of Jesus while meeting physical needs in the name of Jesus.

I'm grateful to be here. As the week progresses it will grow more difficult to sacrificially love one another because everyone's emotions are drained - pray for us! But with each day comes the reality that this house is (in my opinion) at least about us as it is the family we serve. We come together, we bond, we laugh, we suffer together, we solve problems, hold ladders, help one another up, and enjoy each other's company. God is moving here among us, at the work sites, in our family groups, through the devotionals we go through on our own. Our theme is "God For Us" out of Romans 8:31 - "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us!" We are spending a significant amount of time unpacking the Gospel together and applying it to our hearts while we serve. This is not some way of earning God's love - this is an overflow of being so full of his love which we've received that we express it by pouring our own lives out just as Christ did for us.

Thank you for praying, and keep it up!


  1. We are all praying here. We love all of you and know God has great things in store for each of you--students and leaders alike. Thanks for the updates...we really do hang on each word--you all mean so much to us.
    Coram Deo,

    PS...tell BJ not to eat all the tacos :D

  2. Thanks for the updates...what about Chris? is he still sick? How is he doing?



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