We are getting our feet back on the ground after another great Thanksgiving down south of the US border. It’s amazing all of the activity, energy, thoughts, relationship, fun, and good food you can pack into such a short trip! Not to mention driving away knowing another family has a home, soft beds to sleep on, and enough food to get them through a few more weeks.
For a quick look at the build check out this short video taken over the two days of construction.
As you can see the whole thing happens so quickly. It feels like we have barely arrived on the job site and the walls are going up. This home went to Jasmine and her two sons Fidencio (5) and Alvieri (2). Can you imagine working seven days a week from 1am to 6:30am and then returning home to care for two young boys, one of whom has cerebral palsy, by yourself? That’s Jasmine’s life right now. I don’t think most of us can get our minds around the first concept of working seven days a week, much less the second. This young woman was certainly in need of a break.
It’s difficult to synthesize even a short trip into a readable blog post so here are some bullet point thoughts/reflections/rememberings/summaries:
- Caravanned from Phoenix to El Paso on Wednesday and met up with our Missions Ministries contacts: The Fields family and Jesús.
- The border crossing was longer than hoped for as we had to unload part of our U-haul-type trailer for an inspection. Held our breath and prayed, hoping they wouldn’t turn us back. Made it through and arrived at the Team Center more than 12 hours after leaving Phoenix.
- Sage was quickly adopted by the fabulous kitchen staff at the Team Center.
- Job site this year was quite different from last year and much more centrally located in the town. This meant a much smaller property to work on and several onlookers including some young men working on the house next door and the neighbor, Carmen, who Krista and Erin had the chance to chat up.
- Sherry and Erin swapped off caring for Sage and Sage napped on and off throughout the time on the job site. She was a trooper! Especially considering she had her first cold.
- Jasmine worked hard along side us pounding nails, hanging insulation, and painting. Fidencio scooted himself around on the ground with a hammer and pounded on anything he could find. Alvieri made himself at home in Randee’s arms and took a nap.
- Seeing Fidencio bouncing on the bed so excited and then watching him watch himself on a video play back of the same event and hearing him laugh hysterically and joyfully was a highlight for everyone.
- Watching the tons of diapers and formula being unloaded from the trailer and being stacked on tables was such a kick. Knowing the items will go to moms who cannot provide either for their babies makes my heart happy.
- The construction crew, kitchen staff, and Team Center hosts were pretty much the same as last year and it was fun to see familiar faces and continue the good and rewarding work of building trust with these folks who are becoming friends.
- Hosted a food outreach and craft time for the neighborhood. Highlights included watching Mauri hangout with the smallest of the kids and color pictures; Sage and I pushing kids on swings while they called out “¡Hola, bebé!” and “¡Adiós, bebé!”; watching curiously as the mothers carefully saved the sandwiches for later but ate the chips, ice cream and fruit right away; seeing Jasmine roll in having pushed Fidencio a decent ways in his off-road wheelchair; driving Jasmine and the boys home with Dusty hanging on to the wheelchair out of the back of the van.
- Joining the neighborhood church for their Friday night service. The Anderson kids, John, and Mauri shared two songs with the congregation and Krista shared greetings in Spanish on behalf of the whole group.
- Sweet goodbyes were exchanged on Saturday with hosts Leo and Susy, transportation captain and foreman, Jesús, the ladies who prepared each meal, and family member Krista who flew home from El Paso as the rest of us drove back to Phoenix.
We were supported by so many individuals and families without whom this would not have been possible. We owe a huge THANK YOU to each person who contributed with both financial and prayer support. We really tried to remember that we were representing each person who helped fund the home. When the home was dedicated and the keys handed to Jasmine we let her know that 1) there were many who sent us who provided the means and 2) the home was a gift from God and that we were merely the hands that got to build it for her.
We continue to muse and brainstorm how we can be the greatest help to the people we have met, what continuing assistance we can provide, and how we can empower them to keep changing their lives. It’s only been two trips, but we are definitely developing a love for Juarez, an amor por Juarez.