A few weeks ago Jill and Ellie went down to Tijuana, Mexico to build houses with our church. After hearing all of their stories I asked them to write a guest blog post to share their experiences in their own words. I want to capture this for my blog book so I’m happy the indulged me!
Our trip started off to a little bit of a bumpy ride. Our flight got cancelled and we all had to split up 80 of us into 7 different flights. Some left at 11:30am, some left at 7:30pm. Since some of the flights were super late, all of the early flights (including mine) had to wait for hours at UC San Diego for the rest of the kids to show up. We ended up sleeping at a church near the border. The next morning was eventful. We all had to get up super early so that we were gone by the time the church service started, because it was a Sunday. We all loaded up in the vans and went across the boarder. My entire team was already in the van except Jamie. A few minutes later Jamie walked up to the van and enthusiastically said “Okay green team! What is today for?” There were a series of mumbles telling him what we were supposed to do on the site today. He replied with, “No! Great and mighty things!” That was pretty much the Green team catch phase the rest of the week.
After we got to the orphanage we put our stuff in our rooms, ate breakfast and headed to the worksites. The first day was for leveling which consisted of all of us shoveling dirt into different places. Day two was concrete day (definitely the hardest). The third day was building the structures of the walls. The fourth day was putting up the paneling. Day five was painting day, which had everyone either painting the house or the trim (some of us started on the roof too). The sixth day was the last work day where we all had to put up the trim, finish the roof and have the key ceremony. My team didn’t really work together very well the first few days but on Wednesday during lunch we were thinking of nicknames for each other and I think that that was really great bonding time because for the rest of the week we all worked way better together. That was my favorite part. The last day we all visited each other’s sites and prayed in front of the houses, then drove off and started our journey back home.
Last week Ellie and I went with our church youth group on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico. This is a place that is widely regarded as impoverished and crime heavy, basically as a bad place you never want to visit (by Americans and people from other places in Mexico alike). However, as we learned in our preparation meetings and viewed first hand on our trip, the people of Tijuana may be materially impoverished and in need of help building a house, but they are spiritually affluent when we look at how close everyone is to their family and friends. Here on the plateau we are rich because of our materials, what we have, but quite often lack the close relationships our mission team got to witness in Tijuana. One of the best parts of my trip was getting to work with the homeowner of my teams house, Sergio, everyday. He was not only a greatly needed member of our team, he was funny (even when we couldn’t understand about half the jokes he was making), and he was always willing to be patient and attempt conversation (even when most of our team couldn’t speak Spanish or didn’t speak it very well). By the end of the week he was kind of like a father figure to us all, and our whole team felt like he was an old friend when we had only really known him for barely a week. Overall, this was a really fantastic week, I met new people from my church got to know old people from my church better, and helped build a house for a family that desperately needed a place were [As Sergio said] they could have enough space to ‘be’.
As you can see, God was doing some Great and Might things in their lives. A big thanks to all of you who donated to their cause or prayed for their safety and sanity. The girls felt amazingly loved. See, you did Great and Mighty things too!