My husband and sons are on the way to Mexico. Not the Mexico that I dream of. Not the Mexico that I would sit on my lounge chair with my more than ample rear end immersed in the water...holding my glass up for a refill from a handsome, young cabana boy with a speedo on...not the Mexico that if I had to pee, I would just let it fly in my lounge chair to wash into the Gulf of Mexico where I assume the fish don't care. Nope...their vacation is in Juarez. Yes, Juarez has gotten alot of press lately for the killings and drug cartel. They aren't going there. They are going to a place called Anapra or in spanish, it means "the dump".
This trip was the brain child of a corporate executive and friend from our church. He went last summer with his oldest child. It stirred him deeply. He and his family decided that instead of having christmas...they would buy gifts for the people of Anapra and bring them. No Christmas for their 15 and 13 year old except to give to others...very noble. It was scary for him and his wife...my dear friend...but they felt called and went. It was beyond life changing for them. Beyond life changing. Listen, we folks that live in the outskirts of Denver are not hurting for much...we have plenty and even more. To have our hearts move to a place where we help folks with less...alot less...is life changing.
Enter my family. I have been stirred by service for a long time. I have loved the Nicaragua trips and when my family went...it was magical. That first Nicaragua trip was a time that I fell in love with my husband again. I was worried about how he would do...would he like it...would he feel safe and get involved with the people? Well, let me tell you...he found his calling. He talked in his "spanglish" as the Queen called it, and connected on a heart level with anyone he met. He went to a Nicaraguan high school to speak english to the students, he built a house and at the end...the fella's hugged him...a anomoly in a macho central american country. He was hooked too.
A Mexico trip came up last October and he jumped at the opportunity. A group had backed out and they needed to build a house. The "house" is an 11 x 22 rectangle...so for a former framer...it was easy. He and a few other guys went and threw the house up in 2 days. They stayed on cots in the living room of a gentleman and his wife and kids in Mexico. Jim had the time of his life. The food was awesome...authentic mexican...and he built and bonded with the guys. The family they built for then was living in a box and were ecstatic to have a house. It was a gift for Jim to go more, I think than the house that was built for the folks.
This trip...my 14 year old got to go. He asked his father the cut his hair...1/2" crew cut so he was maintenance free while he was building. He was so excited. He made a list and packed. I hope it changes his life and how he thinks of money. I am sure it will at least make him think...of what he has and what those folks don't have. My middle son talked about writing a dedication to his buddy that is gone and leaving it in the frame of that house...to honor his buddy and have a person in heaven to protect this family.
Some folks will ask me...why Nicaragua and Mexico when there is such a need here? I agree...why? I think part of it is selfish and part is a God thing. I am a service person here too. I am...I do tons of volunteer work with kids...teenagers, middle schoolers. I love them and can't get enough of them. But...there is something exciting about a road trip or a flight with a passport...a different culture than ours...and I dig it. Alot! My family does too. My daughter, the Queen will end up somewhere that spanish is the language that is spoken and will love it. Is that because of the mission trips we have taken with her....who knows?
As I sit in my home...with the view of Pike Peak out of the windows facing south...with count them...three dogs...mutts...lying at my feet...I am thankful. Yes...was last week a freakin' disaster on alot of levels? But today, I am calmer, settled and thinking of what is good. I am lucky, happy and thankful. I am thankful for a husband with a big heart, sons that know what is good and right, for a daughter that can count her blessings...and for a warm house. That is more than I can say for the folks of Mexico...Thanks be to God that my husband and sons and the group that are down there building...they feel that ...whatever you do for the least of my brothers..that you do for me.
So as Anne Lamott says...Traveling mercies: love the journey, God is with you, come home safe and sound. I miss you all and love you and am so proud of who you boys all are. Build it strong and like you were going to live in it...like it will be your own.
We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,