Saturday, August 16, 2014

From Mexico this week: Looking back at our 2013 missions trip

Our work here in Vicente Guerrero, Mexico this week is finally complete. Both Aloha and Tigard Churches of God journeyed down here again from Oregon to expand a house for Ophelia (mother of Jose, pictured a few times below, of Welcome Home Outreach Ministries) to shelter her family of 10. And we started building a house for another U.S. work team to complete next week!

It may be a while before we gather everyone's Mexico pics from this week. In the meantime, I've dusted off an unpublished Mexico post that Kathy wrote last summer. Many of these photos have never been shared publicly.

I think we'll all agree that this post  written by Kathy  was worth the year-long wait!

Our 2013 Mexico work team at Welcome Home Outreach Ministries:  Elaine, Cara, Katie, Eddie, Josh, Wendy, Kathy, Tim, Garth, Patricia, and Leah

At 5:00 on a dark August morning, there was excitement, energy and sleepiness.  Two groups, Aloha Church of God and Tigard Church of God, had met to begin a week long, life change journey together.  Destination:  Vicente Guerrero, Mexico in Baja California.  The van was loaded and we were off.

The first driving day proved to be uneventful and we made it safely to First Church of God in Tulare, CA.  The second day we headed to San Diego to pick up Garth who had to fly due to his work schedule.  So where did we meet Garth?  The only logical place:

In-n-Out Burger, San Diego

With our tummies full and after another very necessary stop, we were on our way to Vicente Guerrero.

After witnessing some crazy and intense driving, we had finally arrived to Welcome Home Outreach Ministries.

On Sunday morning, we worshiped at a local church.

Calvary Chapel Church in Vicente Guerrero

We then spent Sunday afternoon and evening relaxing and exploring the town.  On Monday we would begin our house building project; the main reason we had come to Mexico.

The house we began building on Monday was located in a very poor community where the typical house is made from sheets of plastic and whatever other materials can be found.  This particular house would be a simple one-room home with three windows and one door made from cement blocks and mortar.

With most of us not knowing what we were doing, our foremen/teachers, Jose, Josiah, and Mateo quickly taught us the ways of manual cement mixing and brick laying.

Throughout the week, each of us also took turns helping out with the children and doing chores around the home base of Welcome Home Outreach Ministries.

The kids took an excursion to the beach after work on Wednesday.

A couple of evenings during the week we had the opportunity to visit some local ministries.  The first one we went to was a nursing home for the elderly homeless or the elderly whose families no longer want them:

Pastor Juan, the worship leader from Calvary Chapel, had a vision from God to begin this ministry.  He even went to nursing school so he could better care for his patients.  The one thing that stands out about this nursing facility is that 100% of operating costs are based on 100% faith.  The patients don’t pay a monthly fee so Pastor Juan relies on donations for food, utilities and medical supplies.  With an amazing faith in God, monthly needs are usually met.

One other night we visited a voluntary men’s rehab center and were able to participate in one of their worship services.  It was inspiring to hear their testimonies of life before Christ and the transformation taking place now.

Garth had the privilege of sharing an encouraging message with the men.

This rehab center is different than what we find in the states.  The men come here choosing to seek help and can stay for as long as they need to.  There is no 12- step program, but a daily routine of morning worship, studying the scriptures and an evening service.  As with the nursing home, all expenses are based on 100% faith.

A favorite place or two to eat dinner was at Tico's Pizza and El Pollo Loco taco stand.

Tico’s makes a jumbo pizza that has 35 slices.  The biggest we’ve ever seen.

El Pollo Loco or Papa Reuben’s, as the locals call it, makes the best quesatacos ever.

All that good food fueled us for the rest of our busy work week:

By Thursday afternoon, the house was complete with windows, a locking door, a roof, stucco and paint.

Esteban, his wife and their six children (soon to be seven) were delighted when Garth offered a prayer of dedication and handed over the keys.  This family of 8 was thrilled to enter their 450 sq. ft home that had a solid foundation and a roof over their heads.

It was a week of hard physical work in the hot sun, but a week we would choose to do again.  Not only were Esteban and his family’s life changed, ours were forever changed as well.

Saying goodbye to the neighborhood kids as we closed the van door to drive home to the States.


Susan Hamilton said...

Heartwarming photos! I love them. This was obviously a trip to be remembered by many people--there in Mexico and in the hearts of you kids who did the work in Mexico. It is wonderful that you did the work to glorify the Lord and to bless that family.

Garth Hamilton said...

Yes, and it gets even better... on Monday we got a chance to drop in on the house we built last year! The mother and one of her kids (pictured in this blog) were home. Seeing these pictures brought back memories for her, too!

I'll post this year's Mexico pictures when they're all compiled from everyone. This past week was really special.