Mexico Outreach 2013
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Day 1 - Sunday
Hello, and greetings from San Antonio de las Minas in Mexico. Our first day was filled with safe travels, food and fellowship. We left Fresno about 9 am, stopped for lunch at In-N-Out and then on south. We did get stopped at the border. The guard poked around the truck, asked us where we were headed and then requested that we open the hood. Hmmm, what was he looking for? However, with nerves running high the hood would not open. The border guard then came to the driver's door way and promptly opened the hood for us (we had been pulling on the emergency brake release). Ooops, now we looked very suspicious, but all was well and we were on our way.
After arriving at our destination, we unpacked and then realized that there was no dinner plan for our first night in Mexico. What a perfect reason to head into town and get some authentic tacos. We went to one of our favorite restaurants near the Calvary Chapel in Ensenada and ate to our hearts content. :)
Off to bed to rest up for a labor intensive day ahead.
Day 2 - Monday
Off to an early start. We ate breakfast, packed our lunches and headed up to the church on the hill. There is a retaining wall along the north and east side of the property with the hopes of utilizing the property within the walls. The east wall stopped about 4 feet from the edge of the property in order to allow a stairway to added later. Those plans have changed and we are going to attempt fo finish the corner this week. So today was filled with digging and pouring a footing for the block wall. With every chip of the pick axe grew concern as we were working dangerously close to the foundation of the house next door. We are happy to report that nothing has collapsed today.
Back at camp, the camp manager, Antonio, brought home a boat with a beehive in it. The bees ended up attacking whatever/whoever was near. Antonio was stung in his face many times, so you can be praying for him. Besides Antonio, the dog, Angel, also got attacked. Three of us from Fresno were out buying propane and missed most of the excitement.
Day 3 - Tuesday
Another early start to work on laying block for the retaining wall. We did have a couple of minor injuries, but they were merely a flesh wound. We were able to place about 4 rows on both sides of the wall and fill them with concrete. It is a slow process primarily because of the tight space in which we are working.
It has been noted that Jerry sweats when he is standing in the shade while Steve doesn't sweat even when working in the sun. With that being discovered and discussed, Andy did provide us a tarp and shading the entire area we were working in. The days are warm, but overall the weather has been pretty nice.
Day 4 - Wednesday
We started out a bit later this morning. Muscles were sore and it took awhile to get going. At the church we spent much of the morning poring the remaining footing and then the afternoon laying block. Though it doesn't look much different, we did make quite a bit of progress.
One our biggest dilemmas during this trip has bee reguarding our meals. We brought food for the entire week, but there are so many good taco stands around. But how do we justify eating out when we have all of these wonderful meals? Well, Jerry figured out a perfect solution to our little problem. If he keeps us working until about 7:30pm, then it is too late to prepare food and we have to eat out :)
A few kids of the colony have been helping. Fabian has helped mix concrete, Jonathan helped carry buckets of concrete and dirt yesterday and a couple of little guys helped carry buckets today.
Our goal is finish all of the block and pour a corner column and a cap on top of the block. We'll see how much we can acutally finish, but Andy says we have made 'quantum leaps'.
Day 5 - Thursday
What a great day. We were able to finsh the long wall We worked extra long and didn't have 90 minutes to make dinner. However, we did seem to find time to run into Ensenada once again to our favorite taco stand (yes, now we have a favorite). :)
A true blessing occured in the evening. It was discovered that we returned to camp without our ice chest. We went up to the church to pick it up and an evening service had already begun. With the windows open, the worship team was singing "10,000 Reasons" in Spanish. This is the reason we come down to minister. The block wall means nothing in light of eternity. However, lives are being impacted and God is glorified on the hill.
We have one more half day and we are going to attempt to close up the front of the wall. Then we will head home.
Thanks for all of your prayers.
Day 6 - Friday
Today we first needed to completely pack up since the camp was expecting a group sometime in the morning. We returned to the church and started on the front wall. We worked until 2 o'clock and completed all but the last few rows of block (the highest and most difficult). The young men will work with Andy and finish it up in the coming weeks. We cleaned up the site, took our showers, said goodbyes and were on our way. Josh stayed behind and will help with the 3 week summer school which starts on Monday. He will be teaching a PE course in the morning and music in the afternoon.
As the 3 of us were returning home, we made 1 last stop taco stop in Tecate (Andy knows his taco stands). We went to Los Amigos which was a modern restaurant with patio seating. The food was excellent as expected. On a side note, all that food that we brought and didn't eat was left at Andy and Monica's to feed the abundance of summer school helpers.
The Tecate border crossing was unusally long as we waited an hour and 15 minutes (usually less than 30 minutes). We made 1 fuel stop in Corona and arrived in Fresno just after 1am.
Pictured to the left is the Alvarez family (Andy, Monica, Amy, Josiah and David). God called them to the Mixtecan colony about 10 years ago to minister to the people and share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ. They pastor the church and work closely with the school and colony.
Years ago, they made a commitment to the youth to pay their school tuition through college if they stayed in school. More and more youth are staying in school and the school went from being one of the lowest performing schools in Mexico to one of the highest. Now they have seen their first university graduate with several more right behind.
Andy and Monica are making an eternal difference in the lives of the people. So many have come to know Jesus as their personal savior. It is a privilege and an honor to serve Andy and Monica as they reach out to the community in the love of Jesus.
If you would like to be more involved with this outreach, you can find information about Mixteco Christian Fellowship on our website including their latest newsletter. They are also on Facebook.