I had really no idea what to expect even though many of my good friends had been on trips like this in the past and I'd heard all about it, so I was a little nervous. Saturday morning we woke up at 6am, spent time in private devotions, ate breakfast, and than had a time of worship and teaching as a group (about 70 of us when we combined the two churches). That alone was a great experience but the real stuff started after that.
We followed our fearless leader Steve (his last name was leader to!!) and the man who owned the property through the treacherous Tijuana streets (driving is frickin scary) to the place where he lived and where we would be building a 12x12 addition on to his house for his 4 boys to live in.
The structure we built by any normal standard would have been considered a nice shack, but to this man it was the best thing that had happened to him in a long time. The pure joy on his face while we were building was like no joy I had never seen before. He eagerly helped when he could but would frequently sit back and just watch with that incredible smile on his face.
A friend and I had the privilege of taking a break from building to play with about 15 neighborhood children. Laura was able to communicate a little bit with them, but for the most part we just gestured everything we could and they excitedly chattered away in spanish. A little girl named Lupita showed me her secret handshake and hugged me harder than I've ever been hugged by a 7 year old when I left. The joy these children had despite the conditions in which they live was inspiring as well. They love with a pure and devoted love that I pray I exhibit to those around me.
After starting the project at 10:30am we finished around 5pm. After we finished we all gathered inside the house to pray over it. Once we were all inside Jorge (the dad) began speaking and while he spoke he cried. After he finished Carlos (our resident translator!) explained that Jorge had never thought this was possible with his resources and that he was so happy to see how God blessed him and his family and how much he loved each one of us. He asked for our names so he could continue to pray for us... I cried.
I am so blessed. This I know. But I also know that I need to be a much better steward of what I have so that I can know the pure joy that being grateful for whatever God gives me brings. God has blessed us immensely here in America, let us be His hands and feet to those who need Him the most.
"Let me live like you, may I sit beside those who cannot walk.
Let me live like you, may I not forget the poor and the needy,
may I stand with those who need you most
and let me live like you."
P.S. On a much lighter note... I ate Lengua (sp?). Do you know what that is?