We made it! We got back from Juarez last Saturday night...and I'm still exhausted. I actually had to leave work early today because I just couldn't stay awake. It'll take some time to recover I guess! But wow, it was worth every hour of lost sleep.
We took 45 people (around 34 youth and 11 adults...) to Juarez, Mexico and in 4 days, we built two houses from the ground up. And when I say "ground", I mean this was what we drove up to on Monday morning.
So our work was cut out for us. But our kids just never cease to amaze me. I had no doubt that they would get the job done. They are ridiculously awesome workers.
We got up at 5:00 AM every morning, got out to the site at around 6:00, and our group worked until around 4:00 or 5:00 every day. The weather was hot but DRY! I can do dry heat any day...and that also meant that the evenings and early mornings were amazing. I have never seen so many flies in all of my life. And the junebugs were out of control. They kept trying to nest in my hair (which, speaking of, I didn't wash for 5 days straight! :) I love not caring what you look like or smell like...there's nothing like it.
We stayed at a church in Juarez, which was right across the street from a soccer field where our kids attempted to take the Mexican kids on in soccer a couple of nights. There's something so amazing about interacting with people with whom you can't verbally communicate. Although it was frustrating, I loved every minute of it. I loved reading expressions and eyes. I loved the things that we knew we had in common. I love the fact that even though we couldn't say it, we knew there was a connection between us that went beyond borders and nationalities. Cool stuff.
I haven't seen poverty quite like that before. The family we were building for (and the majority of the families there) lived in something like this...
Their shower consisted of a tube hanging down from the ceiling that rainwater flowed through. Their kitchen had little, to no, roof over it. We've been talking a lot about poverty and the imbalance of wealth in the world, but now, we were standing face-to-face with it and able to put actual people with the problem. It made me a little sick to think about my nice home in Tennessee.
The breakdown of the week went something like this:
Monday - leveling the dirt, mixing and pouring cement, setting the foundation
Tuesday - building the frame and getting it up, putting up blackwall
Wednesday - putting up chicken wire and roofing
Thursday - drywalling inside, stucco-ing outside
(I'm not gonna lie...I loved drywalling! I'm weird like that...maybe because I had the best drywall team ever)
And then by Friday morning, we were able to present this to Maria and her family:
We had two teams. I worked on the "big house" team:
And then we had the "small house" team:
The dedications of the two houses on Friday morning were amazing. To give a family keys to their own house (not pieced together cardboard boxes and wood scraps...but a HOUSE) and to tell them that it's because of the love of Christ that we were there was an incredible thing. And to see their tears and hear their prayers of gratitude and then to pray over their family and their home...well, suffice it to say, I wept.
I want to be back there. I miss it. It's incredibly hard to come back to comfort and complacency after being there. It just more deeply rooted the ache that I have been feeling in my Spirit for the impoverished and the sick and the hungry that are ALL over the world. I know two families are changed as a result of last week. But there are still millions to go. It has intensified the unsettlement I have been feeling in my Spirit. I still don't know exactly what to do with that. But I'm praying...
So I'll close with the top 10 things that I miss about Mexico:
10. REAL Mexican food...oh the tortillas and the rice...
9. DRY AIR
8. sunsets that are not blocked by hills and tons of trees
7. Working alongside my Jesus family...I love them all more than I can say.
6. Manzana Lift (a little piece of heaven)
5. chicken wire
4. sweet little Juarez...oh I got so close to putting him in my bag and bringing him home
2. some of the most adorable children I've ever seen
1. being the hands and feet of Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Mexico