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!