Note: I decided not to use the WiFi that was available at our hotel, which means this post is going to be a bit long.
My season of adventure started Saturday, April 12th. I was up bright and early to fly from Seattle to San Jose in order to embark on the 30th annual Mexicali trip with MPPC. I spent the day catching up on the last 3 weeks with good friends from church. That night, everybody met at the church to hop onto buses bound for the Mexican border at Calexico. A little after 11:00pm, the buses left Menlo Park. I tried to use the classic line "You boys like Mexico!?", from Super Troopers, but to no avail. Kids these days. For the next 8 hours I slept in short doses, often waking up to limbs that had fallen asleep, re-positioning, and falling back asleep. Mostly, I am grateful I was asleep before having to watch any portion of High School Musical. After a stop for breakfast, we continued on to Calexico, where we met the vans, loaded up, and embarked on the final leg of the drive to Guadalupe Victoria.
The next four days were jam packed and flew by. Sunday night we had worship and a talk by John Ortberg to kick everything off. Monday was our first day heading to the church in Nuevo Leon that my group was working with. I was in charge of the construction project for the week. It involved digging a trench in order to lay conduit for new electrical lines. Between working, I was able to hang out and play with the ninos. While working on the trench, one of the men from the church, Eram, offered to help us. He was a great help to us, and his faith in God was inspirational. Monday afternoon, we came across the water line to the church. Unfortunately, it was a direct hit, which split the PVC, and sent water flying into the air. We finally were able to shut the water off, but not before flooding the trench and blowing a joint on the main from the street. Needless to say, it was not how I wanted to start the week. Monday night, we had carnitas for dinner at the church, followed by a service. Two of our students shared their testimony, and we sang worship songs both in Spanish and in English.
Tuesday we went back to work digging. To start the day we were still without water, and worked around the broken pipe. While we were at lunch, a man from the church was able to fix both broken sections and the water was turned back on the the church. We were all very thankful, as the non-outhouse toilet had been out of commission. Tuesday night we had dinner at the hotel, a talk, worship, and cabin time.
Wednesday I had to use a diamond blade w/ a skilsaw to cut out the concrete sidewalk next to the church. I quickly discovered that the edge was much thicker than expected and it was looking like a lot of labor was going to be needed to remove the section. Frustrated, Craig and Michael took over with the pick axe and I went to get water and play with the kids a bit. Thankfully, by the time I returned, theywere through the edge and found the remaining portion the be relatively thin. By the end of the day we had most of the trench dug. For lunch, we went to Homey's tacos. Oh my goodness. They were so delicious and authentic. After lunch we headed to Quitana Roo for the big BBQ. After playing soccer for a bit, I helped out on the grill filling in any empty space with hot dogs and burgers. With three big grills going and it being 90+ degrees, it was hot. Wednesday night, Orlando, o e of the pastors that came with our group, gave his testimony. It was one of the most inspirational stories I have ever heard. Following the talk, we took communion, which is one of my favorite Christian traditions.
Thursday morning I had to go to the store to check on an ordered part and pick up a couple things. Thankfully I had Alex with me otherwise I would have been lost. I returned to the hotel as Orlando was continuing with his story. It could easily be made into a movie. Once we got the the church, a couple guys finished the digging, while I laid the conduit. After quiet a struggle, we were able to get the lines through just before lunch. Immediately after lunch, we quickly filled in the trench to make sure it was not a hazard for the annual water fight. The tradition is to have a water fight with the ninos on the last day. Little did we know, the kids also made a mud pit. Having my sisters waterproof camera with me, I pulled it out to take video and pictures. Unfortunately, it mysteriously wandered off when we were hosing off the get ready for sinner and church. My spirits were slightly lifted by the homemade empanadas we ha for dinner, but it was still disappointing. Back at the hotel we had worship and a quick talk. We also had a time when the leaders washed the feet of the students in their group, as Jesus did for his discipes at the last supper. As we did so, we prayed over each one individually. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip.
After a late night, we were up by 5 to pack up the vans and head back for California. After sending the students off on buses, I drove one of the vans from Calexico back to San Diego. I then hung out in the airport for my flight to LAX. After a layover I finally headed back to Seattle, landing around 8pm. Needless to say it was a long day of travel to end a great week in Mexico.
The couple pictures I attached are from other people on the trip. Hopefully the camera magically shows up, and I can post more. I apologize for any errors in this post, most of it was typed on my phone in Seatac waiting for my flight to Tokyo. Hopefully I have better luck this trip.