Just over 30 of us boarded a bus leaving the Grace Baptist Church parking lot here in Calgary to drive 35+ hours down to the area of Mexico where we were building 3 homes for some very deserving families!!
Here is the "BEFORE" photo of the family I built for... mom, dad and little Mariana who was feeling under the weather with a pretty serous bout of the chicken pox. We actually paid for her to go see a doctor and get some medication which really seemed to help her :)
So something new I've learned this past year is that we need to be so very careful about our attitude coming in to "rescue" these families... that attitude is very harmful actually and can really steal them of their pride and self-esteem!! So we were very careful to "join them" in the building of their new home and made sure Dad learned to use a power saw (check out the smile on his face after his first ever cut with a power tool!) and once Mom knew it was okay to grab a hammer and where to strike, there was no stopping her!!
And I'm quite confident that Mariana painted more than ANYONE else (including herself, her shoes, and even the dog)!!! She was just sooooo thrilled to also help out!!
So my "gorgeous gadget guy husband" brought along his Go Pro camera and set it up each day to take a picture of our home building every 30 seconds so we included it in this video and it shows the entire house build over 4 days from start to finish in about 90 seconds!! Sooooo cool!!!!
Speaking of dedication day... it is always a highlight and this year was no exception. It was my privilege to get to do the presentation through our interpreters for our team and to also present the very important photo of the "Crop For Mexico" ladies and explain to our family that there were many back in Canada who also love and care about them. It was funny because Mom took the photo and Mariana desperately wanted to hold it and cried when she didn't get to... and I just happened to have a second copy in my pocket so I quickly pulled it out just for Mariana and she instantly stopped crying and then intently studied the photo :)
And the most humbling part of dedication day that was new for us this year, is each family prepared a meal to feed us... and it was sooooo very difficult to accept it knowing the vast cost and sacrifice it was for them to do this... especially once I saw what she had prepared... check out the size of the bowls of fried chicken and pasta salad!!
But as soon as I saw the joy on the mom's face feeding us (and by the way also feeding all the community kids that came by!!) I realized that it was yet another way we could allow them to receive a new home with dignity... it was such a powerful experience (and delicious!!)
Another highlight is visiting the families we have built for in the past years... last year we built for Reynaldo and his mom and 2 little brothers... I was sooooo excited to take Justin and a few others to go see them again and they were all home!!!
It didn't take long for Justin and Jeff to reconnect with the little boys Fransisco and Antonio and I was snapping photos like crazy as they reunited... and it wasn't until I got back home and took a closer look that I realized that I had captured almost the EXACT SAME photos last year!!! Check this out... kinda freaky even!!!!
And then our family from our first year... I was disappointed that the dad wasn't home, but was soooo excited to see Mom, Beatriz and Elizabet and their new baby sister!!!! Mom was pregnant last year when we visited and it was awesome to see a healthy baby girl... evidence of the difference a new home can make in all kinds of ways for these families.
So another amazing experience in Mexico that I didn't want to end (and I didn't want to quit hugging Beatriz... wondering if I will ever see her again :( I have a lot more photos on Facebook should you care to view them HERE if you would like to see more.
And a HUGE THANK YOU AGAIN for all of you who helped support us in this adventure... peace and blessings back to you for your willingness to help change lives... know it was a worthy investment!!