Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Not your typical Valentine...

The five oldest Shraders had an adventure this weekend (that means sweet Cate had to stay with Uncle Len...but he spoiled her rotten so we won't feel too badly for her!)...we drove down to Rocky Point, Mexico with our church, Christ's Church of the Valley, to build a house. Build a house!

I want to share so much of the details with you -- I do. And yet, I am at a complete loss as to how to begin. Me...at a complete loss for words! ha But I have pictures, and emotions, and if you'll excuse my rambling, I'll try to share about a weekend that left me feeling like a piece of taffy -- stretched, and pulled, and doubled in compassion, love, and faith!

We arrived in Rocky Point, Mexico Friday evening and were out at the site of our sweet new friends' home early Saturday morning. This is where Hector and Odelia and their little two-year-old Lesley were living. The Mexican government leases the land to them, and they are required to find the "house". No one in the barrio (neighborhood) has electricity or running water. A few have built outhouses for the bano (bathroom) but Hector and Odelia didn't even have that.

This is a shot of the next door neighbor's home. Our hearts were so torn -- we were excited to be helping this family but wanted to help all we came into contact with during the trip. The poverty level was so high -- and these are homes FOUR hours from our door. Only four hours.

Because this was a spur-of-the-moment trip (we jumped in last minute to fill some holes left by cancellations), we didn't have a good handle on what Benjamin would be able to do. He found tasks to help with in spite of a wheelchair that wouldn't drive on the sandy terrain. But his real strength, something we could not have done without, was the beautiful job he did of breaking the ice with the children who came to watch us work. His "tool belt" was full of "dulces" (sweets) and it didn't take long for that word to spread! He loved passing out candy to all the sweet children...and even made a special little friend, Ocedes, who seemed to have a fondness for him and kept wandering back to his side.

Mason was as usual, a worker bee! He tried his hand at everything from adding the fiber to the concrete (and a prayer for a strong foundation for the house!), to holding the boards steady while they were sawed in two, to overcoming his personal fear of heights and going up for some work on the roof! This kid even helped dig a five foot deep hole that Hector can now take the scrap materials from the house and build a bano!

Claire was also a hard-worker -- she tried her hand at every task imaginable but found her favorite to be building friendships! She was very worried about her limited knowledge of Spanish but soon discovered that love is easily conveyed! Her heart was touched as the young girls she befriended have so very little and yet were so happy!

Wade was excited to jump in wherever needed -- he poured the foundation, he built walls and yes, every first aid emergency fell to his expertise! Before we left, he spent time with the organizers of the mission we were working through to discuss plans for a medical mission trip! I will be excited to see how God uses the new passion he has given Wade for the people in Mexico!

As for me, my love for the people of Mexico is nothing new. Nor is my knowledge of the poverty level at which they live. My own "dulce tia" (sweet aunt) introduced me to that when I was 15 years old and she took me home with her to her mission field in Montemorelos, Mexico. I spent a month there that forever changed me. I promised those dear people that I would return. It took far longer than I ever imagined but this weekend, I felt like I was keeping my promise. I learned how to mix concrete (my shoulders are still aching), how to hammer a nail (Wade is delighted! He had tried and tried to teach me in the past!), I learned how to apply stucco (not nearly as easy as they make it look on HGTV!) and I learned most of this while being followed around by my own new amigo, Jorge, Hector's youngest hermano (brother). This little boy of "ocho anos" (eight years) was glued to my side because I always let him use his hammer! (Yes, I am a pushover in every language!!) And so, my favorite words became "Aqui, Jorge" and that sweet boy would go to town!!

But perhaps the biggest lesson I learned this weekend came from the mouth of this young mother who was getting a brand new home. I used my limited Spanish to ask her how she was -- "Como esta, Odelia?" And she smiled her beautiful smile and said, "Contento."

Oh Father, that I would learn to be contento. That would be the biggest blessing of all.


Kristin Sidaway said...

So great to hear that you guys got to go. I would love for our family to be able to go when the girls get a little older. Thanks for sharing your story. :)

Tracey said...

What an AWESOME experience! Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to have an opportunity for my family to something like that!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Wow! What an amazing experience, Carol, for you, Wade and your children. This experience changed each of you on a molecular level - you'll never be the same, and your heart will always be a little more open to things. Wow, again. This is way cool, dear.

Heather said...

Estoy llorando! (I am crying!!!) What a blessing!! Love, love, love the story and the pictures. Especially the ones of your kids with the children. BTW...Aqui Jorge is frequently in my daily conversations!! :-)