I just returned from an amazing trip. It was….incredible. I returned, but a chunk of my heart didn’t.
Here is why:
I absolutely fell in love with this little boy. And I’m not alone. He stole my husband’s heart, too. So much so, that he made this little blocks to give to our new little friend, who was appropriately named Aaron.
I knew I was going to blog about this trip. So I prayed and took pictures and pondered where God wanted me to go with this. About the third day that we were there, I woke up early. (I know. Surprised me, too.) I knew what God wanted me to tell you.
Background: My husband and I joined some very dear friends and his coworkers on a mission trip to build houses for the very poorest of the poor in Mexico.
These people live, literally, at the city dump. They live in whatever they can scavenge to build a home. Pastor Paul from SOS Ministries has a criteria for choosing the families that are to be blessed with homes. From there, groups raise the money and labor to sponsor and build homes. Members of our church have been going and building homes for 7 years. Three years ago my husband and I went. This year we felt God urging us to go again.
We’ve had a rough couple of years and I will admit, I’ve been having a lot of pity parties for myself. Then God told me that we were supposed to go see these people again. I thought it was to be humbled and realize my blessings. And it was. But it was oh, so much more. God has ways of blessing us beyond what can be counted and measured.
During the first two days of our trip, I was on the painting crew. We mixed paint, creating the lovely colors you will see, and painted the walls and trim. We had many gallons of paint donated. It takes about 6 gallons of paint per house for walls and another gallon for trim. We didn’t ever have 6 matching gallons so… We created! How much fun it was just to add colors together trying to create a beautiful home for these people.
At the end of the second day, after the painting was finished, we got to visit the actual build sites (the building crew had been out at the building site while the trim/paint crew was still back at the SOS Ministries base painting). That was when I first saw my little buddy, Aaron. He reminded me of my little guy back home and immediately melted my heart. But it was more than that. Over the next two day, I simply fell in love.
Each day we would drive back to the hotel, and I would take picture capturing the juxtaposition of this world. Because as we talked, walked and drove, that is what we were constantly struck by.
No running water. No flush toilets. Little money. And yet, what did we see? Clean, happy children. Clean. Kids walking out of shacks dressed for school looking cleaner and nicer than I see a lot of children here at the grocery store. Sometimes, including mine.
All of these beautiful children, heading to school. Clean and happy, so unlike their surroundings. And yet….
Beauty amidst the drab. Amidst the dirt. Beauty and Hope. Hope and Joy. Joy and Love.
And finally the reason is clear. God brought me there. Brought us there. To Love. Just when you think you know love, God shows you more love than you thought you could ever know.
We would think this lifestyle is reason to lose hope. To despair. To wilt away. And yet, beauty blooms.
Here are the three finished houses!