Monday, February 18, 2008

Mexico- Tuesday February 5, 2008

All of the three full days I was in Mexico were work days. There was a lot for us to do, especially at one specific orphanage. It is called Casa Hogar Del Norte, I think. It is on the north side of the city. This orphanage is run by a 72 year young woman named Martha and she is something else! Instead of going off and living in ease in her retirement, she has such a heart for children she decided to start a children's home instead! How many of us are willing to make such a sacrifice?! In order to have a home, she needed a place for the home so she went to the government. They "lease" land out for a certain number of years. It's really for free, but I think for certain policy bookwork issues, it's actually for like $1 a year. Usually it is for a maximum of 25 years, but can be renewed. Well, she went to the government office and asked for her land, and they said no. But that Martha, she is a determined woman. Some people you just can't say no to, and maybe we can all learn a thing or two from her. She didn't go moping around saying things like "Oh, man, if it didn't happen, it must not be from God" and leave it at that. NO! After a little while, the government person go so sick and tired of seeing her every single day, that she gave up and gave her the land she is on now on a 90 YEAR lease, which is absolutely unheard of! See, persistance does pay off! If you are convinced of your purpose, don't give up!

Our main project at that children's home was to work on an Auditorium that they are building for the kids. In the summer, it gets up to 120 degrees, and they wanted to make a place where the kids had lots of space to play and also have services or watch movies. Our main project there was to help pour a cement floor. I actually didn't have anything to do with that project. I did some of the other projects that there were. First, with a small group of people, I helped clear a large brush and trash pile that was on the back of the property. They had to get it out of the way so they could build there eventually, so we threw as much of it as we could up into a big dump truck. Another project I worked on was getting the footer ready for building a wall around the home's property. Pretty much all the properties in Mexico have walls around them and they currently had a chain link fence. We made the forms to pour the cement in mostly this day.

That was mostly that whole day. We basically worked from 10 am to noon, ate lunch, then we were back at it again until about 5 or so. There were some people who played with the kids, too, but I spent most of my time working, because that was what was needed most.

Mexico- Monday February 4 2008

It had been TOO long and I need to write down what we did in Mexico before I forget! And I want to write it ALL down so I will never forget. I'm glad that I can post it here, so I can always go back and remember it and re-experience it.

First, let me just say, wow. I really feel that God was speaking to me on this trip, specifically about missions, and my mission and purpose in life. Going on this trip just reminded me so much about what it is ALL ABOUT. I LOVE missions trips because I like going other places and seeing God working, no matter where it is. It's so awesome how mission trips take us up out from where we are and take us to a place, spiritually and mentally, where we are more sensitive and open to what he has for us. We are put in a place where we have no control over our schedule and just have to go with the flow and be led in everything we are doing. It is in those times of humility that we sit back and observe and God speaks to us in his still small voice. I went on at least one mission trip almost every year since I was 17 and I hadn't gone on one for a couple years, so this one was like sweet relief for me to feel it again.

Let me just get right into it then. I'm not going to go into boring travel details because no one really cares, or at least shouldn't. It was as uneventful as it should be. We got to the airport in Monterrey at about 3ish, I think. The only plan for that day was for us to go to the compound of Back2Back ministries and get introduced to our new temporary dwelling, and then we walked to one of the orphanages that Back2Back supports, which is only about a half a mile from the compound.

Before I get into it, maybe I should say a few things about B2B. In summary, they are a ministry in Monterrey that has a heart for the orphan child. (I think they are actually based in Cincinatti.) They come along side orphanages in and around the city and help them in areas where they need support. You can search for them online and get more details, like their history and stuff. I might explain more as I go along.

So we walked to the orphanage, called Casa Hogar Douglas. We were there to serve the kids dinner of hamburgers and nachos. I don't think they get burgers like that often, so they really appreciated it. While the burger were grilling and stuff, some of us played with some kids. I gave some kids bubbles, like a girl named Bernice and a little boy names Simon. There was also a person on our team who made balloon animals and stuff, and that was a real hit there. Simon loved the little sword that we made him and let me just say, we witnessed many sword fights on the trip! I also met a little girl named Lolita who is there with her brother, Angel, and another little sister, who I did not meet. They were sweet. It was nice for me to see them there, though they were in some sense of it all alone with no parents there to take care of them, they were there to take care of each other and I was really happy to see that. There were a lot of kids there. One of the workers (Jim) gave us a tour of the place and told us that it costs about $9000 a month to run that orphanage, and that they really only have a guaranteed $3000 a month to cover it, so they basically go month to month waiting and hoping for people to send support and totally relying on God for everything.

That was actually almost a running theme in the people we met on the trip. One thing I learned is that I don't rely on God enough. He is supposed to be my Lord, my all, my everything, yet I only call on Him at the deepest point of my need and just keep him to the side when I really need him. I should be relying on Him AND offering Him everything, not just when it is convenient. You will probably notice this in more of the stories I tell of the trip.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stay tuned

I've been meaning to write more about Mexico, but I've been kind of busy since I got home. And tired. And sometimes lazy because it's so cold! So, I will try to write some soon!

Happy Valentine's Day

I used to hate Valentine's Day. Now I think it's kind of lame and over commercialized. However, I still expect some sort of token of appreciation from my special someone. Just because.

Wikipedia says that Valentine's Day is named after a few different Christian Martyr's who shared the name Valentine. In the Bible times, they said "kiss one another with a holy kiss" and I heard that was because they never knew if they would ever see eachother again, so goodbye's were a whole lot different. Isn't it nice to know how times have changed? How I can work at a Christian company and worship freely in my place of worship and not worry about getting thrown in jail or killed? So maybe Valentine's Day is supposed to be a modern day "holy kiss": A yearly reminder where we all show one another appreciation and love because, in truth, we don't really know when and if we will see each other again.