Terry has been back from his two week mission trip for four days and I am a happy woman. And my kids are happy. We are happy together! The night he got home he shared some of the many stories from his trip and made me a little happier about having lent him out for a while. They experienced some amazing things, answered prayers being foremost in my mind.
So, to go back to the beginning, Terry and his team of 25 students and parents had been preparing for this trip pretty much all of last school year, and especially since the new year. They'd sent out support letters, raised money at the church through a brown bag fundraiser, a chili cook-off and finally, a super fun dinner theater. There was a lot of prep that went into this trip! But though it was hard work, it was beneficial to them individually and corporately. It prepared the team to work together for two solid weeks. It made them into a very united team.
I had been dreading that day but of course it did finally come. I am quite selfish. I am no where near as selfless as my husband. I have lots to learn there and this trip was one thing that helped me along that path of growth (i hope anyway).
So the day of departure came - Monday, June 1. Here the group and their families preparing to leave by going over some ground rules and praying together.
It was super windy and bright. They all look so happy to be starting off!
The bus company put vinyl stickers on the bus with our church's name as well as Terry's. You can see Noah didn't want to let go of his daddy any more than I did.
One more picture before he got on the bus.
Noah bawled his little heart out as we drove home. Poor kid. Perhaps we shouldn't have gone straight home because the house seemed empty, but that's what we did. Terry had left us these little foam books though, as I mentioned in my last post. He made one for each of us and they had a short note for us to read every day of his trip. They also included clues to small surprises he had hidden around the house. The first being a sheet of stickers, then bubbles, Hotwheels cars/rubber bands, and more stickers. I got something bigger, something I could Facetime him with - a new used Ipod.
Here is a map of their route to Tijuana, Mexico. It took them three days to get there. Hence their need of the bus.
Their first stop was Table in the Wilderness in Centennial, WY. That's where we've taken our DisConnect trips and they (Dan) were the ones who led the mission trip for Terry. I don't have a good photos from that night, though I know they're out there to be found. I am just making due with what I have though.
The second night was a hotel in Cedar City, UT. Here's their nightly devotion time, by the pool this evening.
Day three brought more driving, but the end was in sight. Here they are at a rest stop in Nevada.
Terry's appears none to pleased with Natasha's Flat Stanley... No idea...
Late in the day they switched out the bus for two rented vans in San Diego and they proceeded across the boarder with no issues. Then, apparently, they went straight to eat tacos. That's what I would've done.
Day four was spent starting work on the house building by Terry's half of the group; the other half was at The City of Angels orphanage. Part of the team's fundraising efforts went towards all the materials for constructing a house for a new Christian family that Table in the Wilderness had chosen. We had their picture and were praying for them. The husband previously had a successful taco stand but sold everything except this garage to pay for his daughter's eye condition.
They got a lot done in one day!
Terry spent day five at the orphanage putting together a gaga ball pit for the kids.
Here is he posting against the wall that his 2011 Gburg group painted the last time he was there.
On Day six, they worked hard to complete the house.
They didn't quite finish. They had those gables left to do and some other small things but the leader, Sergio, assured them that he would get them done.
Here's Terry with the hard working husband and father of the family.
And here's the family. The most touching story of the entire trip (that I've heard so far) was concerning this family. That evening, Israel (the man) wanted to thank the group for building them a house so he made them tacos at their home base, Rancho Solo. Members of Israel's church also came to say thank you. One of them spoke very good English and was able to tell Terry and the team how they, as a church, had been praying for someone to come and take care of Israel's family. The church was doing what they could but they needed more. Terry's and his team were a direct answer to prayer. God took care of this little family through my husband and those he led! Amazing.
Day seven began at a large church in Tijuana called The Arena.
The group then went to Sam's club and used more of their funds to buy supplies for some nursing homes and hospices.
This was one of the old folks home. Terry said this day was "emotionally overwhelming seeing two hospices, an old folks home and a halfway house for men who were saved out of deep dark sexual sin." Those men had some incredible testimonies. God does miracles in each transformation.
That evening the team had a fiesta at the orphanage and said goodbye.
On day eight, they drove south to Ensenada to have a fun day at the beach. There were horse rentals!
Terry got sunburned.
Yummy coconut milk.
On day nine the group drove to L.A. to get ready for the next phase of their trip. They camped out at Azuza Pacific University, did laundry and relaxed at Dan's wife's brother's house.
Day ten the team was split between serving at two homeless shelters, the Union Rescue Mission and the LA City Mission. The group is listening to Dan before they get started on their day.
Here are some of the make-shift tents they saw downtown. Terry said it was difficult to go from seeing the poverty in Mexico to seeing the poverty in the United States. There was a stark contrast. The people in Mexico were working hard and getting no where. The people in the US seemed to be in their situation by choice. Both shelters offered programs to get people on their feet.
Here's Terry's group in the elevator during a tour of their shelter.
On day eleven they switched shelters and completed their work in the kitchen where they prepared and served foot, talked with people and wrote some encouraging note. Then they took the subway downtown for some sightseeing.
Day 10 hands!
The following day, day eleven, was spent on the beach. They went to Santa Monica Pier and had lots of fun.
The lifeguards wouldn't let them use their floaties. I got a kick out of Terry's tube name.
On day twelve they started the long trek home. Whereas on the way down they took three days time to drive, now they took only two days.
Terry was their worship leader, even on the bus.
And finally, after 14 long days, he came home!
My bubbles, erm, husband!
He brought a sense of humor back to my life. How I missed him. I am thankful for how God was at work but am pumped he is home!