I recently came back from a short-term mission trip for a “house-build” in Tijuana, Mexico. It was a journey spanning several days. My wife and I paired with several other families from the church I attend and some workers at the local YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base in Tijuana to help build a home for a needy family. This post covers that journey.
Why build a home for a needy family, you say? Christians are called to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10). This could include doing something as simple as raking a neighbor’s leaf-infested yard or something as big as turning a sinner from the error of his/her ways (James 5:19-20). While I am not sure where building a home ranks as far as goods works go, it is a good work nonetheless since it does coincide with loving one’s neighbor (Luke 10:27).
DAY 1 (November 23, 2017)
The journey began somewhat on the 23rd of November (maybe even the 22nd since the bulk of my driving down to southern California took place on the night of the 22nd; I reside in Modesto, California). Every year for Thanksgiving, I typically spend it with some family from my dad’s side in southern California. Normally, I spend Thanksgiving weekend there, driving there on the Wednesday night of Thanksgiving week and usually heading home on the Saturday night of that weekend. This year, however, was different. Because I was helping with a house-build in Tijuana during Thanksgiving weekend, I would instead leave southern California for Tijuana that Thursday night, thus concluding my stay in southern California a tad earlier compared to the norm. After devouring an awesome Thanksgiving meal prepared by my great Uncle, my wife and I headed to Tijuana, Mexico. We arrived at about 7pm that night, going to sleep not too long after that.
DAY 2 (November 24, 2017)
After a good night’s sleep and an awesome breakfast (YWAM makes REALLY GOOD food), we headed to the site of the build at about 9:15AM that day.
The above is what we started with; a big slab of concrete (which was already poured prior to our arrival). By day’s end, we had the walls put up and the roof mostly done (see below). This is only a 16 x 20 [?] home; it’s not your typical 1,000 sf, 1 bedroom 1 bathroom home or the like.
We concluded our work at about 3:30pm that day. We then headed back to the base for a shower and a brief rest before heading to a local taco place for dinner (Mexico has AWESOME tacos). After dinner, we went back to the base to get some sleep. The next day would be the conclusion of the house-build.
DAY 3 (November 25, 2017)
After another good night’s rest and another awesome breakfast, we headed back to the site to finish what was started on the prior day. To our surprise, somebody decided to help our team out a bit while we were gone.
That’s right; the husband in the family (his name is Juan) decided to paint the interior of the home all on his own. The children placed their hand prints on the walls of their own room. This action was a “first” for some; I had heard from many that they had never seen such a thing happen in all the builds they have done. Juan’s work was certainly much appreciated.
Below are some more pictures of the finished product:
We completed the home around 1:16pm that day. After some lunch, we then let the family see the exterior of the finished product. Afterwards, we gathered in a big circle and each team member shared a brief encouraging word to the family. We then presented the house keys and a Bible (most important thing) to the family (the kids also got a children’s Bible). The family then entered the home to see the interior of the finished product (the bunk bed, the table, the plethora of groceries, etc.). We then prayed for the home, that it would be a beacon of light to the community (among other things). It was an awesome moment that concluded an awesome time.
After the house-build concluded, we headed back to the base for a refreshing shower. Some of the team decided to head home after this (and from what I understood, had to endure a five HOUR wait at the border to get back to the states). Others decided to head to a spot in Tijuana that had a plethora of options for dinner (I took the fish and chips, which had a chili powder finish to it; not bad at all). After dinner, we came back to the base to pack our stuff because we were all planning on heading home early the next morning.
DAY 4 (November 26, 2017)
Spoiler alert; we made it home safely (otherwise I would not be writing this, aha). After leaving the base around 4:30AM and waiting about thirty minutes at the border, my wife and I came home earlier this afternoon, safe and sound. We are happy to be home.
This was an awesome trip. It was great to help build a home for a needy family, walking in this good work. While the home was definitely a great thing for the family to receive for its physical well-being, the Bible it got was the most important thing the family received for its spiritual well-being. After all, salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Isaiah 43:11). If you are reading about this trip, please join me in echoing the prayers of those who were a part of the house-build. They prayed that this family’s home would be a beacon of light. Please pray for the same. Also, please pray that this family would trust in Jesus Christ alone for its salvation, repenting of its sins and trusting in the only way by which mankind may be saved. Jesus loves this family (2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 4:8). I pray this house-build showed this family the love of Jesus as the family moves forward with its new home.