South to Serve: Day 3

Quote of the day:

“Today was hard in many ways. It was hard to see the decrepit state that some people are in, how thin some people are spread, and how different their lives are compared to life at home. Yet, throughout it all, I was able to see people that were serving out of the goodness of their hearts, with a selfless, willing, and positive attitude. I was able to see God’s love in many people, and it was an eye-opening experience.”

Another exhausting day! This morning was similar to yesterday morning. We were all awake by 7:30, and we feasted on cereal and fresh fruit. Many of us went on a walk through the neighborhoods, and were once again astounded by the rugged beauty of Tijuana. Despite all of the desolate and impoverished homes, the hills of Tijuana have a definite charm to them. After the walk, we did another devotional, during which we talked about seeing God in the craziness. Sometimes, we try so hard to see God in the craziness that we don’t realize that he is often most present in the nothingness.

After the morning routine, we split up into two teams. One team stayed at the bunkhouse and helped lay cement. There was a crew of workers that were already on site, and some of our team members were able to jump in and help them. All I can say is that the members of the crew are hard workers. Since they did not have access to a cement mixer, they had to do it all by hand. This including shoveling and transporting a rock/sand combination, mixing that with the cement powder, hauling water into the mix, combining it until it reached the correct consistency, shoveling that into buckets, transporting the buckets, and laying the cement into its rightful place. Like I said, hard work. I was only out there for a few hours, and I was totally exhausted. These men are out there all day, every day. And yet, they were able to remain positive in attitude and spirit. Just working alongside them was an encouragement to us all.

While half of our group was working on laying cement, the other half of us went to the Refuge of the Elders old folks’ home and just hung out. We played games with them (checker, chess, etc.), blowed bubbles, and just talked. It was a beautiful experience. Seeing the laughs and smiles that we were able to bring to the residents was truly a blessing. And, just like yesterday, it was awesome to see how caring these people are. This one lady got really excited about the bubbles, but instead of just keeping them to herself, she took them around to all of her friends so that they could experience the same joy. So, while we were a blessing to them, they were also a blessing to us. The language barrier wasn’t as difficult today, simply because we didn’t necessarily need to speak. We were just able to play games, blow some bubbles, and enjoy the morning together.

While some of us were at the Refuge of the Elders, Dave, Crystal, and Reilly took a trip to Costco and just loaded up on food. They drove the van back to the Refuge of the Elders, and we were able to unload all of this food and give it to them. While a load of groceries isn’t a huge deal to us, you could tell that it meant the world to them. Once again, seeing their thankfulness for what they have was a blessing. Both teams then met up at Taqueria la Gloria (once again, my favorite taco stand) to fuel up, and then stopped by La Michoacana to eat some authentic Mexican popsicles. The ensuing afternoon was fairly relaxed. We all went back to the bunkhouse and did different things. Some of us worked with the construction crew and laid some more cement, while others spent some time relaxing and catching up on some much-needed rest.

After everyone was all cleaned up and awake, we went to a Mexican market. It was similar to a farmer’s market, with a lot of trinkets and fresh produce. All of the fresh fruit was especially enjoyable. It was very neat to be able to experience that piece of Mexican culture. Next, we went to a taco restaurant that was by far the biggest one yet. It took twenty minutes to just get seated. The food was good, as always, so dinner was very enjoyable. We headed back to the bunkhouse and spent some more time doing a devotional. Tonight we talked about seeing God in the brokenness, and how God is always there through it all, even when we can’t feel him. The rest of the evening was pretty lax. Some played card games, some played football, and some went to bed early after such an exhausting day. Tomorrow is our last full day in Mexico. There is no question that it will be another eventful day.

So, make sure you tune in tomorrow for an update!

Kyra Hanson

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