Mexico Trip

The college ministry at Providence sends a team down to Mexico each spring break for a mission trip.
This year, I had the privilege of leading the team down there, and we had a blast.

We worked alongside Faith Ministries,
who work to spead the gospel to border communities that are living in extreme poverty.
The primary means they implement is to build houses for families in great need.
In doing so, the families are presented with the gospel over and over again through word and deed.

It was our joy to come alongside both Faith Ministries
and specifically one small congregation in a colonia called Naranjito this past week.
We had a team of 27 in all fly down to Texas and drive across the border
to spend a week serving in any way that we could.
We came back believing we had been more blessed than those we served.

Meet the team.

Mexico: The Church

Our primary focus on the trip was to seek to serve a small local church.
We had the joy of coming alongside this congregation and were very blessed by doing so.

So, while we were there to build houses,
we sought opportunities to help this local church reach it's community with the gospel.

In the midst of a congregation in poverty, Pastor Alfredo has a passion for his people to know God's Word.
He is guiding them through reading the entire Bible.
For accountability, he calls on each member during the service to report what they have been reading,
and how many chapters they read in the past week.
He records it every week.

In great anticipation for Sunday School to start.

Let the singing begin.
They enjoying singing. Then they like to sing some more.

They requested help to sing a song in English,
so we sent up our boys choir to lead this one.

This guy was awesome, loved singing and playing worship songs,
and would not be stopped by details such as a bass that is detrimentally out of tune.

Mexico: The People

We were able to meet and interact with some awesome people down in Reynosa.

This is Alfredo Castillo, the pastor of the local church.
He was such an encouragement to our group.
And he was hilarious.
Here he is getting ready for the service to start,
with his daughter-in-law setting up.
And yes, Beren is flying.

We split up into groups of 3 or 4 and ate dinner with different families in the church.
Along with Sydney and Lauren, I got to spend time with Samuel and his wife Ines.
Samuel is one of the pastor's sons.
We had a blast, and I destroyed everyone in Uno several times over.

Samuel and I realized we are twins separated at birth:
We both majored in Industrial Engineering.
We both lead singing in the church, playing guitar and such.
We got married within one month of each other.
We are just about the same age.
We also both have facial hair.

These two ladies are precious.
Lupita on the left found out she is pregnant with her 4th child on our last day with them.
Beba on the right is the mother of the family whose house we built.

Yes, Ally is also a lady and is precious, but my intent here is on the people of Mexico.

Mexico: The Kids

We were able to spend a lot of time with the children there.
Both on the worksites and around the church, kids were everywhere.

Brad and his adopted little brother are playing in a tub.
This is Jose Luis, the youngest of Beba's 5 children.

The girls took over the tub, and Ally is giggling with the wee little ones.

This is a good snapshot of Johanna's entire week.
She is absolute magnet with these children.
There were at least 2 kid hands touching here at any given moment.

Right after posing, a better picture presents itself with the addition of this wee one.

We tried to fit this one in a suitcase to bring home.

Mexico: The Work

The bulk of our days there involved building a house for a family in great need of one.
With our numbers, we were able to split our group in half and build 2 houses.

The family whose house my team built had been serving the ministry
for over 5 years in anticipation of the work that we did in building their house.

Jose Luis and Beba were the parents, and they had beautiful children (4 girls and 1 boy).

Here is our house on day 1.

With only one room visible, here it is on day 4, with...
- a foundation
- walls
- columns
- a floor
- prep work done for a roof

Straightening metal...

Bending metal into triangles...

Connecting it all together.

It takes a lot of manual (and womanual) labor to mix concrete by hand.

Don't forget the roof.

Mexico: The Fun

From cookouts, to soccer games, to climbing trees...
we got into all kinds of fun.

Boys will be boys.

If I didn't know what happened next,
my guess would be that the soccer ball is about to come straight down
and hit the girl that is fixing her hair.
I don't think that happened, but it looks like it could have.

We had arm wrestling contests during one break from our house-building efforts.
This is about 4 seconds before my arm broke.
Don't mess with Lee.

And it broke.

We may or may not be eating in the best Mexican restaurant I have ever been to.

Kaley joined Beba in the kitchen to make tacos for us one morning.

Work it, Brad.

Mexico: The Team

I had the privilege of spending the week with a fantastic group of folks.

Here is Beren's van at their worksite,
with several from my van in the back attempting to sabotage the picture.

Here is my van at the other team's worksite,
with several members of the other team infiltrating to sabotage our picture.

If only we all looked this good.

And now, to sign off...

Kyle, Tyler, Joe, Brad, Austin, EJ, Dan, Topher, Lee, Wes, Andrew, Beren,
Christina, Kaley, Colby, Amanda, Brittany, Kelsey, Ally, Alyssa, Christie, Megan,
Sydney, Lauren, Johanna, and Emily...

It was my delight and joy to spend a week with you all in Mexico.
The Lord encouraged me through you all in so many ways.
I thank the Lord for you all and for what He is doing in and through you.