This past Christmas, our family had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Reynosa, Mexico to build a small home for a family in need.
Here is a quick highlight video that summarizes our trip:
Our family met up with a group of 16 other people from a church in Kansas and headed down to Texas where we crossed the border into Reynosa, Mexico.
There, we met up with a much larger group of another 160 people made up of various teams from around the country. This was all organized by an amazing orginazation called Strategic Alliance (www.StrategicAlliance.org). The founders, Roland and Carolyn, have been going to Reynosa for 25 years. They’ve built up relationships in the community and go there to help build houses in this extremely poor part of the world. The community we got to serve has a large infrastructure built up around the nearby garbage dump where people scavange most of what they own. Most shelters are build from old pieces of plywood, bricks, tires, tarps, anything they could find.
The houses that are getting built would be considered sheds in America but to them, they are huge upgrades. They are 12’x20′ wood walls built onto a concrete slab. They have windows, a door, a loft, and a metal roof.
When we arrived on site, the foundation had already been poured and there was a pile of lumber, metal, and screws for us to work with.
The materials had to be counted to make sure we had what we needed and then separated for what parts would be used for trim, walls, studs, roof purlins, etc.
It was then moved to an area where a team could start painting. Unfortunately it was misty rain and cold all day so the paint was not drying properly and with the muddy ground, the freshly painted pieces got dirty very quickly.
By the end of the first day, we were able to get one of the walls put up.
The hotel that we were staying at was much nicer than we were expecting. Other than not having hot water, it was actually a very comfortable room. Their cafeteria provided our meals and drinks and we were well taken care of to make sure nobody would get sick from eating or drinking the wrong thing.
The hotel was a 20 minute drive from the worksite so on some of the days that were really long, some of the people could bring some of the younger kids back to the hotel to rest/relax. The kids all helped out with painting and stuff and they also were able to play with some of the local kids down there. The only problem was that every day we were there, it was cold and rainy so many of the kids didn’t come out in that unusual weather. After we left, it was back up in the 70s and 80s.
By the end of day 2, we had all the walls up.
By day three we got most of the roof and loft done and then the 4th day we had to finish the house, decorate it, and hand over the keys.
After lunch, all the teams walked through the area leading to the dump and the dump itself where lots of people live and we handed out rice, beans, and tangerines to all the locals. It was an amazing experience. This little house that we built will be a home for grandma Marisella and her husband Saul along with potentially 13 other people (kids and grand kids). I hope that it helped all the kids to realize just how blessed we are to live where we live and have the opportunities that we do.
If you are interested in going on a trip here, we will probably be going back over Thanksgiving with a group from the Detroit area so please reach out if you are interested. To learn more, you can check out StrategicAlliance.org