Mexico Mission Trip, 2017–Safely Home

IMG_5298

What a wild week!  I feel like I’ve gone from one end of the world to the other in the last few days.  We came in, all safe and sound, a little before 10 p.m. last night.  During the night, it rained!  The climate change from lush, green Oregon to dry, dusty Mexico created quite a contrast.

As I’ve already mentioned in the first post, the first day, I ended up staying at the base with a sick boy.  He ended up quite sick, and even needed antibiotics, but then recovered quickly once he got them.  Thank goodness for Gail, my sister, who knew what he needed (she’s a n.p.) and Ron, my brother-in-law, who is proficient in Spanish.  So, that day, I had extra time and some wifi.  All I had to do that afternoon was make brownies for snack time, and clean the kitchen, along with giving him ice, cool cloths, etc.  Also, we chatted a lot.  He ended up being a delightful kid, who had the best attitude possible for one who so longed to be with the other kids.  By the next morning, he joined the group and did what he could, sleeping in the van with Rob, who ran the air conditioner, for a lot of Monday and Tuesday whenever he needed to.

IMG_8504

The team went out and had their first contact with the people we were there to minister with.  They had a church service with them, and ran an abbreviated VBS.

The next morning, we all went out to the worksite bright and early.  I felt happy to be no longer sitting around.  Instead, I was given the job of digging up the rocks and dirt with some others.  Yikes!  We were supposed to fill in all the holes ( there were many, and they were deep), in what was going to become a parking lot.  We were never able to finish that, but got a long ways.  Talk about a contrast of activities!  It felt great to do something physical after riding in the car for 3 days.

IMG_8522

IMG_8533

We also moved cinder blocks.  There was a group of men who were building the church walls with them, held together with concrete.  The progress was slow and steady and led by a stone mason.  Each block was painstakingly placed in its exact place, all lined up in perfect order.  During the week, it was exciting to see the building getting taller!  They have a ways to go, though, and will keep working hard, as they did before we came to help.

IMG_5232

IMG_8712

A lot of sandy gravel was screened so it could be used for concrete.  There were 2 wheelbarrows and 4 shovels for all of us to share for both projects, and all the concrete was mixed by hand, using water brought from somewhere.

 

IMG_5236

 

 

Then, beams were delivered and laid out and needed painting.  They had to be prepped with some kind of lacquer, then painted, both on the front and the back.  There were a lot of them!  I never ended up painting because I was given different jobs on those days, but my sister did for one day!

The church that we were assigned to help has a building in a nearby town that they rent. They have been working hard to build this church so they can have their own facility.  It was very gratifying to work side-by-side with them, and help them make a big leap of progress during the week we were there.

IMG_5345

IMG_5343

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every morning, we divided into 2 groups.  Some of us worked on the new church building, side by side with the church members.  In the afternoons, we did VBS.  In the evenings, we usually went to the beach, except Wednesday, when we did a special youth outreach.  During that service, our kids had prepared a skit, which they performed, music, and testimonies.  It was concluded with some games, including a contest between one of their youth and one of ours to see who could drink a Coke the fastest, and then which could eat a orange in one bite.  You’d never believe how well those simple games went over, but everyone loves them.  There was a question and answer time where the youth could all ask questions of each other, using a translator.  After that time, the next day, the regular church attenders and our kids were really bonded and started having a great time together on the work site.  Some of their youth even came down to play on the beach with our kids that evening.

Rob ended up being the errand boy, as he has on other trips in the past.  He delights in that role, and it doesn’t phase him at all that he does not speak one work of Spanish.  So, every day, he shopped for things that were needed–such as more water, extra t.p., and so on.  It got a little more interesting when he was asked to find S’more ingredients (he found chocolate, pink and white marshmallows, and some kind of cookie that would do), marbles (he did charades at several stores, and finally found them a couple of days later), and more!  So, when asked for glue–he knew right where to go–the office supply store. On that day, I was the errand-girl with him, so got to try to explain to the lady in the store that I needed strong glue……anyway, we got the glue, but it was pretty funny–all those charades!

IMG_5338

Things are different there.  There are many little shops for different things, along with many, many little markets sprinkled throughout the town.  There are also grocery stores that are similar to ours here in the U.S.  There are taco stands on many corners.

IMG_5301

Each morning, part of the group joined up with church members to go out through the neighborhoods.  During those walks, people were invited to the church service on Wednesday, prayed with if they wanted prayer, given tracts if they wanted them, etc.  The children were invited to the daily VBS, which was held each afternoon.  I enjoyed those walks and seeing the people and the sights.  Some people even invited us in to their houses to pray for them–it was very special.  I did that for 2 mornings.  Each group had to have one of our adults, one or two from the local church, and at least one guy.  So, I was the “adult from our group” twice.  I was paired with non-English speaking people both times, and I do not speak Spanish.  But, we found a way to communicate.   I did not take pictures during that time.  I mean, would you want a group of people you did not know, from Mexico or anywhere else,  coming up to, or inside of,  your house and snapping photos?  Me either.  So, I didn’t.  But, I sure enjoyed myself.  The people we got to know during the week were delighted to have us take pictures with them.

IMG_5309

Each day at noon, we went back to the rented church facility, where the ladies of the church had prepared us extremely yummy, authentic Mexican food.

They were instructed how to make food that would not make us sick, and no one got sick from the food, including myself.  My brother-in-law would find out if any food had gluten in it, tell us, and Gail and I would happily munch away!  Each day, we had some kind of freshly squeezed juice as well!  YUM!!

IMG_8696

This is Ja’Ana’s best friend, Angel, holding one of the happy participants of the VBS with her craft.

IMG_8652

Ron did a lot of translating.  Since he grew up in Bolivia, he is very good at it!  Alissa and Ja’Ana both did music, as well as all the other projects.

IMG_8647

Patsy helped out wherever she could.

IMG_8635

Of course, Ja’Ana found a baby to hold.   That is not the baby’s mama in the background, that woman is one of 2 who set up tables so they could sell blankets and other souvenirs to our kids.  The baby’s mama actually attended VBS with her 4 children, and seemed as interested as they were in all of it!

IMG_8486

Alissa is holding up the puppet curtain, and I believe Ja’Ana is back there, holding up one of the puppets.

IMG_8670

 

VBS each day included games, crafts, a snack, Bible verse memory, Bible story (in a movie, in Spanish), a puppet show (pre-recorded in Spanish), and songs.  It went very well.  Gail had rounded up lots of prizes and all the kids got a prize each day. At the end of the week, they got rewards for memorizing their Bible verses. Some kids memorized all 5 of the Bible verses, and they got even more prizes on the last day for their hard work.  they were very happy with them:)

IMG_5247

IMG_8715

IMG_5245

We drove down to the beach several times.  It’s only about a mile from the compound.  The missionaries had some surfboards, and the kids had a ball playing with them.  Angel even got up on one a couple of times, after lots of trying!  One of the girls from our group had planned her baptism to be done in the ocean in Mexico.  I thought that was a great idea.  She will never forget that!

IMG_5180

IMG_8449

IMG_5202

IMG_5176

The base is beautiful.  As I mentioned, there is space for 4 groups to be there working at the same time.  Each has its separate area, including kitchen and bathrooms and sleeping areas, but they come together for the training at the beginning of the week and at the end.  Each team is sent to a different church, but all groups have a work project, VBS, and services, etc.–all the things we did in different towns.

Thursday night, there was a meeting for all the groups who were there, for debriefing.  Of course, each night, our teens and youth pastor and leaders led our own team time as well, so Thursday was a late night.

On Friday, it was time to say good-bye and head towards home.

IMG_5380

We stopped in LaBufadora, a tourist spot on the coast near Ensenada, so the kids could shop.  We ate in a restaurant–tacos again–amazingly wonderful!  And, $1.50 each.  For any kind you wanted.

IMG_5381

Again, thanks to Ron for finding us safe food we could enjoy!

That night, we slept in Los Angeles.  The next morning (I can hardly believe it was yesterday) we were on the road at 5:30 a.m.  We drove straight home.  It worked well.  Nothing broke, the kids were motivated to make short stops, the van that could travel faster than the rigs pulling little trailers went ahead and ordered pizzas from Costco and the kids got to eat them in the parking lot……and so on.  We arrived a little before 10 p.m. last night.  Boy were we tired today.  Rob and I both slept all afternoon after church and are ready to hit the sack again pretty soon.  We are so pleased with how the trip went.  Not only are we pleased with what we were able to accomplish, it makes us happy to expose the teens to another culture, another way of life, and to mission work!  I feel like we really encouraged the local church there as well.  Their pastors were so thankful and said our presence really motivated their youth to come and work together with ours.  That warms my heart, because it is going to be so much more significant to them since they put in so much sweat equity, too. It was an amazing trip, and we are so glad we went.  I loved to see how the teens grew so much as individuals during the week.  They did many things they didn’t know they could do, and thrived while doing it!  As always, the people made it worth it to us–both the ones we were with, and the ones that were already living down there.

IMG_8685

IMG_5169

IMG_8551

IMG_8688

 

17 thoughts on “Mexico Mission Trip, 2017–Safely Home”

  1. Looks like you all had a great trip. I’m glad the sick guy was able to enjoy the end of the trip. It seems you all accomplished a great deal and your pic’s are great. Great memories were made, I’m sure.

  2. Blessing to you all for loving on and serving the people of Mexico! Glad to know it all went well and you are home safe and sound.

    1. Thank you. It was a wonderful trip,and I’m absolutely a zombie. Yesterday, I just wandered around trying to put things into order, but finally gave it up around 6 p.m. and just got into bed to read and watch t.v. for the evening. Today, I already feel a little better. I’m not as young as I used to be, but sure have a lot of great memories, now! I’ve got one more day before I start back to work, so hope to finish putting things away, laundry, etc. Rob’s been folding for hours, we’ve all been changing loads, and we are gaining on it. 10 days worth is a lot!!!

  3. I’m so glad you had a wonderful time! Thankful that you are all back safe and sound! I’m sure you touched a lot of lives and hearts! God bless you!

    1. Thank you. It was a wonderful trip–very rewarding!

      Traveling with teens certainly keeps a person young:) I love that I was able to help them see a glimpse of the world and could see their eyes opening every day to the fact that those people don’t have as many material possessions as they do, but are very happy–so broadening for their minds! I also loved seeing how a bunch of extra hands could make a big difference in the construction project. I could go on and on. Yes, it was a great trip!

    1. Thanks, Jeannie! I DO have a few watermelons on my bushes. They aren’t real big–kind of a little bigger than a personal sized one. Now, I’m trying to figure out when they are ripe!!! I’ve watched u=tube and they say to let the tendrils dry up. What do you do?

      1. HA! You have asked the worse person in the world for advice on picking watermelons.

        One way is to look at the tendril right beside where the watermelon attaches to the vine. If it has turned brown, the watermelon should be ready, notice I said “should”.

        Some people thump them but I can’t tell one thump from another and the tone changes if it is sitting on the ground or being held in your hands.

        Another way is to look at the underside to see if it is white, which means not ready, or a yellowish tan color, which is ready. However, and there is always a “however” with watermelons, different colored watermelons turn different colors.

        I have heard of people “plugging” them and this is something I want to try someday. You cut a square plug, pull it out and taste it to see if it is ripe. If it isn’t good, you put the plug back inside the melon so it can grow a few more days. I guess you could tape it with duct tape to keep bugs out??? I don’t know.

        The ONLY way I can be 100% sure a watermelon is ready is by pushing hard against it with both hands and listening closely for a squishing sound. I lean against the melon while it is laying on the ground and put both hands on the sides and apply pressure with my upper body. It sounds a little like squeezing a wadded up piece of cellophane. It is the sound of the ripe center being pressed against the sides. It is hard to explain.

        My mistake has been growing many different kinds. Each one varies in how it ripens and I have been unable to learn the differences. I need to stick to one type and learn to harvest it. I know my favorite, it is Orangeglo which has an orange center. It is the best I have EVER tasted. One year I grew red, white, yellow, and orange watermelons. I wanted to make a fruit salad with all colors, didn’t happen, because they all ripened at different times and I had trouble knowing when to pick them.

        Good luck. Take pictures and let me know how it goes!

        Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

        1. Well, the tendrils are drying, which is what U-Tube said to look for. However, I’m skeptical. I hate the idea of picking my only watermelon in umpteen years and having it unripe!!! I also hate the idea of letting it get over ripe……Who knew a watermelon would be causing such anxiety:) I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *