Amor Ministries has been organizing groups to build houses in Mexico for 30 years. Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church has been taking high school students and adults to build houses in Mexico during spring break for 25 years. Pastor Dave knows just how life-changing this experience can be – he has spent spring break building homes in Mexico since he was a high school freshman.
I have been on two Mexico house-building trips, each with a different organization, each prior to having kids. Since then, I’ve spent spring break with my kids and hosted extra kids (and dogs) so other people could go to Mexico.
This year I got to cross the border with the MVPC team for one night. One of my kiddos was on the trip while the other stayed with Grandma in San Diego.
I met the group at Amor headquarters in San Diego, where they had a party waiting.
The buses got stuck at the border for longer than usual. The adults on the Advance Team wait…
And Bus 1 arrives, eventually.The search for luggage begins.The rest of the buses arrive as it grows dark. Tent set-up will be a tad tricky!Once tents are up kids can check out camp, including the Encouragement Boards (eBoards) which will be so meaningful throughout the week.When morning comes, the camp is especially grateful for the creative design of the hand washing station where they can brush teeth and wash hands/face with potable water.Overalls on, faces washed, hair braided by friends, lunches packed and a delicious breakfast consumed, the camp gets ready for the day.
And THIS is why we’re all here…
This year all of the 13 build sites are in the same community. By the end of this week, one-quarter of the community’s population will have new homes. By the end of this week, MVPC will have built approximately 270 homes for the previously homeless over the past 25 years. Praise be to God!
My trip to Mexico was less than 24 hours, actually closer to 18. Dinner to late lunch. Just long enough to be an overwhelming first glimpse, with 270 new friends finding their way and setting up in a new camp. The organization and creativity was overwhelmingly apparent as well – student leaders had obviously put time and prayer into thinking through team colors, fun team pictures, colorful eBoards, and pre-trip team bonding events. The Media Team and Tool Crew all set up and ready when students arrived. The oh-so-helpful hand washing station. The tenting “neighborhoods,” new this year and layering in one more small group element within such a large group. The Student Leaders so clearly prepared to lead a house-building experience.
As I type, teams are more than half-way done with the week. Houses and relationships are being built. In keeping with this year’s theme, Rooted, participants are developing roots that can hold them steady long beyond this week.
“…I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” Ephesians 3:17-18
In Jesus’ name, and to God be the glory. Amen.