Wednesday, October 16, 2019

{Mex/L.A. 2019} Day FIVE - House building 2

On Friday, June 7th, we went back to the building site for our second day. 

Someone found this old frame and took pictures of everyone with it. They even brought the frame back with us!

We had devotionals to complete every day and several people found the perfect place to read, overlooking the city of Tijuana.

More beans and rice for breakfast.

Sergio was true to his word and gave that puppy a flea bath as soon as we arrived. 

He was given to Paul before he was even dry. Now the family had two dogs! 

We split the group into a few different work crews. One got started digging a waste trench behind the house. The problem here was there was no plumbing. Therefore the house behind and above them would just wash their bathroom waste down the hill and it would run behind our family's new house. So we dug a trench to channel it onward further down their hill. 

I had Evie paint trim with Sarah.

That didn't take long so she started playing volleyball with the other girls who didn't have anything to do (or didn't find something to do). The large group was great for splitting to help with VBS, but it was challenging to keep everyone busy all the time.

The roof went up fast. 

Eric is an electrical engineer and he did all the wiring. These houses don't always get electricity but thankfully we made it happen for our family. 

Time to hang drywall. 

Terry did the drywall in our basement and learned a lot through that process. 

I supposed he had also done it in 2011 when he took our Nebraska group down for the very first time. 

Lupita had begun clearing the hillside so the girls all jumped on board and helped her do that. 

Evie too!

Lunch time.

Noah up on the roof earlier. 

Roof beams or trusses going up.


Sergio had been gone for a while with Lynne and Denise and they returned with chairs for the family! They didn't have any so Lynne bought them some. 

Becky and Terry.

I like this shot of the inside and outside of the house.

This video shows the kids nailing the wall beams into the concrete, the guys putting up tresses, and Eric wiring.

That afternoon Sarah, Prae, Joann and the younger students went down to the park for day two of VBS.

There were more kids! 


When I got back from taking VBS pictures Noah and I took over for Abby and Hannah who had been diligently digging a hole for a septic tank. 

That ground was out of control rocky and without any heavy equipment it would have taken many days to dig deep enough. Noah and I took over for the girls and worked very hard for about an hour before Sergio insisted we quit, saying we were working too hard. Not sure if that hole ever got finished but we sure tried. The highest compliment I was given during the trip was when I finished hacking away at the ground with that bar and Sergio said, "You're very strong!" Oh yeah!

Evie on the roof with Joann and Denise.

Time for roof boards! Noah looks like he's about to get smoked with one. 

Terry, Hannah, and Jake.

Noah bonded with Sergio while discussing Legos with him, ha ha. 

The trench worked!!

Sara and I did a whole lot of mudding that afternoon. I was one of the taller ladies so I did the high stuff. My neck sure got stiff! 

Another crew worked on framing out a bathroom, which we were able to add since we raised the extra money for it. No plumbing of course. That's what the septic tank for supposed to be for. 

All the drywall was put up and mudded over by the end of the day. Once again we had to bring all of remaining supplies inside the house so they wouldn't be stolen overnight. They had a guard and a watchdog to keep people away.

Done for the day!

Terry took this video right before we left and posted it to Facebook to keep everyone back home updated.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

{Mex/L.A. 2019} Day FOUR - House building 1

We arrived in Tijuana, Mexico very late on Wednesday, June 5th or very early Thursday, June 6th. 😂 We were a day late because we didn't depart until late in the day, and a day late at that, from Hinkley, CA where we had been stranded for a day and a half (our bus died on Tuesday and Hinkley Bible Church took incredibly good care of us that night and Wednesday). 

But we finally did arrive and slept very soundly once we all got settled at Rancho Solo, the Mexican ministry we were staying at in Tijuana. Sergio is the name of the 80 year old Mexican man who started his own ministry to share the gospel and build houses to provide for the needly. He's got endless stories and is very charismatic. You can't help but love the guy. He's built hundreds, if not thousands, of houses in Tijuana and it's his plans we followed in building this house. Several people on our trip had already built one so with their expertise, along with Sergio's instruction, the building went very fast.

This is what we got done by the end of that day!

Every single day we had some variation of eggs with refried beans and tortillas. All the food was delicious...except eggs make me sick so I can't really say if they were good or not.

Terry and Steven finishing up breakfast. Terry is talking to Tristan, one of the leaders Dan brought from Table in the Wilderness to help him and us.

We were standing just outside the breakfast room when I handed Terry his necklace making supplies. When we set off on the mission trip he gave every person a stringed necklace with a cross charm of their choosing. Later on he would add two more charms, a fish hook for fishing men and a key for the Kingdom. 

Arriving at the building site felt so foreign and strange that first day. We were in the ghetto for sure. That morning, Dan's children, Emmy and Quinn who had stayed behind at Rancho Solo while their dad drive up to Hinkley to fetch us, told us that a fire had broken out on the hillside across from them. No fire department came. Sergio said that's common, both the fire and having no help with it, especially in bad neighborhoods like this one. 

These pictures are taken in a 360 turn to my left. This is across the street from our building site...

...and next door. A fire started on that hillside three days later!

That hillside.

Up the street behind me. Also, Dan got stuck in that hole in the side of the road where the concrete ends. We had to push him out and everyone inside bounced so high.

Empty lot to my left.

Those are the barrels of the neighbors that Sarah D. accidentally started on fire, which actually took place the following day. We had cleaned up some old, but still warm, ashes from the building site's watchfire in order to make a nice fire pit for the family. Sarah dumped them in that black barrel after having mistakenly thought she had been directed and given permission to do so. The owner of the house was so mad! Sergio, our mission host, guide, and planner, talked her down and was even able to share the gospel with her!

Once we disembarked from the vans we went straight to work hauling house building supplies up the hill to the building site. We raised money to pay for all the supplies for the 20x20 foot house. It was quite a steep hill, especially for a family with a special needs 14 year old boy in a decrepit  wheelchair. Also take note of how tall the weeds are on either side of the path. We cleared them away on the third day. 

Noah hauling boards.

Terry too.

Hey that's me again - I'm thankful other people like Lynne and Suzanne took pictures too. And there's also Sarah D. and her daughter Prae. The Mexican woman, Lupita, is the wife and mother of the family we were building the house for! Prior to this their house had been destroyed and they were living in very poor conditions. Sarah and Prae visited and attested to it. Lupita was at present every day, helping and watching, and her humble and content manner really had an effect on me. So often I am not content in who God has made me to be or where He has placed me. Lupita and her fellow countrymen seemed so much more at ease and contented with their difficult circumstances, as if they just accepted their lives as they were from God and got on with it uncomplainingly...unlike me and my culture.

Terry and Becky instruct Noah on how to construct our very first wall. 

When we arrived we first hauled up supplies and then cleared away all the junk that was on this hillside. There had previously been a house there but it had burned down. Sergio helped the family to acquire the land and then they had a 20x20 foot concrete pad poured. 

The guys and whoever was helping with the first wall had it done lightning fast. Here they are explaining things to Lupita right before we set the wall up (Prae is fluent in Spanish and we had a few others who could get along pretty well). 

Boom baby!

This is the other half to the building site where I was working. We had begun painting all those boards for the exterior walls when Sergio had us wait until they were nailed up. Terry's taking the first one over to the wall for nailing on. 

First wall nearly complete.


Denise and I.

This tiny, grubby, flea-infested puppy invaded the building site when he smelled our lunch. We had been warned not to touch the street dogs since they're filthy and they're absolutely everywhere! They really gave me insight into when Paul calls his enemies dogs. Historically dogs are gross! In any case, we could not be rid of the little guy. Look closely and you can see his fleas on his chest and a tick in his ear.

The girls started painting once the wall was secure. 

I took a trip to the bathroom (we had to drive to a local grocery store for a bathroom) and when I returned, Evie and her new shirt (she had outgrown everything else), was covered in blue paint. Whoops. And if you look closely you can see paint on the side of her glasses. It's actually still there three and a half months later. She insists on leaving it as a reminder. 💙

My shoes still have blue paint on them as well. 

The second wall didn't take long either and here we are installing an interior wall that separated the two bedrooms from the living room.

The fourth wall was done and here we were working on the ceiling joists. 

Terry and Steve measuring for the ceiling. 

I climbed a ladder to shoot what was happening on top of the ceiling/loft floor - the guys were going to nail wood sheets down.

Most of the ladies left mid-afternoon to attempt a Vacation Bible School, VBS, down the street. Prior to arriving at the building site, they had no clue if a VBS would work though they prepared everything. Terry and I walked down to check it out just as they had finished. 

There was a small park to the right where they met. They were encouraged that neighborhood kids and some moms came!

Finishing up at the building site.

Tori drew Steve on the window portion that would be cut out the following day. 

Evie met the family's only daughter named Arleth at VBS. She was older than Evie but they seemed to hit it off. Evie just loved her and continued to text her after we got back home. Arleth was a gifted artist and we still have the picture that she drew for Evie on our fridge. 


Terry made little rocks cairns for the youngest boy, Saul, to knock down. 

We got a lot done that first day and we able to leave by about 6:45pm. Here's a video of what we got done that day, plus a look at the neighborhood from the elevated view of the building site. (We had to bring all the supplies into the house for safety. Paul, the father, sat up all night with his guard dog and another guard to protect their house. Otherwise everything would have been stolen. Hence the warm ashes from the fire pit.)