Friday, April 2, 2010

Mexico - Final Recap

It is finished! Our work in Mexico is done and we handed the keys to a brand new home to a mother and her 3 children at 4:30pm yesterday. It was a full day of work as we had a lot to do in order to get the house ready for them. We built two sets of bunk beds, finished the touch up paint all over the house, started and finished the paint job inside the house, installed some "beauty" features (basic trim around the windows... but I wanted to make it sound a little fancier!), installed the door (more on that in a moment), and cleaned up all of our mess the best we could by sweeping, cleaning the windows and screens, and scraping mud/paint off of the floor that had accumulated.

While we did get it all done, it was an adventure from the very start. Our van made it to our site just fine, but we quickly found out that Ricardo, our beloved lead carpenter, had gotten stuck in the mud on a road about 1/4 mile away. He tried to take the same route he'd been driving on all week but it was too steep and muddy, and he slid back a few feet into a mound of mud and rock - we walked down to the van and attempted several methods to push, pull, or lift it out but it was to no avail. The kids had great attitudes and sought to solve problems in order to get to work. Eventually we flagged down one truck to transfer some of the materials out of the van and into the bed of the truck, and got started on what we could. The person who helped us just happened to be a man who the EOC had built a home for a while back... cool to see how it all circles back around to be a blessing and then receive a blessing in return! Then a larger 4x4 truck came with chains and yanked the van right out of its predicament and we were ready to rock and roll. The only issue there was that it was almost 11:00 a.m. and we had quite a bit to do.

The key ceremony is the pinnacle experience of the entire week. Each person gets a moment to share something of their experience, thanking God for the privilege of building the house and blessing the family. Each of your students spoke from the heart, there were tears shed by many, and then Remedios was able to unlock her door and step into her new home. The concept of having a sturdy, reliable door is something most people don't think about in the U.S. - we think about fancy doors, unique doors, double doors, and so on - but for people in Remedios' situation, simply having A DOOR is a radical change. Now she has a safe place, a place she can call her own (though ultimately she knows it is the Lord's), a place to lock and unlock as she sees fit. These are the little blessings that really aren't so little in the grand scheme of things.

Last night we celebrated "Maundy Thursday" (not sure if I spelled the right), the night when Christ washed his disciples' feet and instituted the Lord's Supper. We had foot washing stations spread out in the room and each person had their feet washed then washed the feet of another person. It was uncomfortable for many, it was awkward in some ways, but it was all beautiful and a deep experience of Christ's humility in washing us of our sins. After that I was able to share some thoughts from the week and then we participated in communion together. It was a fitting way to end the week and will stick in my memory for many years.

It is Finished! That phrase is much more than a celebration of a house being completed in 4 days by students and adults who largely are not construction-oriented and yet finished the job. It was the cry of our Lord on the cross as he breathed out his last, accomplishing all that the Father had for him to do. Today is Good Friday - the annual celebration of the core of the Gospel - Christ's death and subsequent resurrection on Easter. And while the death and resurrection of Christ needs to be on our minds every day, being brought deeper into the core of who we are to understand the depth of God's love for sinners, this weekend is a special one to remember it is a historical event and not a mere tale. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday celebrating his finished work and the new life he brings.

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