It had finally come. The week was at an end and all we had left to do was pack up and travel. We woke up nice and early to start the long process of cleaning and loading up the vans. Once we finished we said our good byes to Sandy and Debby who were staying an extra day and took our team pictures. We then started our very long journey home. After a long drive that most people slept through, we arrived in Ensenada and got breakfast at a small McDonalds. A couple of us more desperate for some caffeine ventured over to the Starbucks. We enjoyed the warm wake up and loaded back into the vans. We then proceded to head to the border crossing in Tecate, instead of the one we normally take in Tijuana, which usually takes several hours to get through. After a decently long drive, we made it through the border with ease. We headed to San Diego to drop off four of our team members who had flown in differently then us. On the way from San Diego to Long Beach we ran into some trouble with one of the vans and had to send one van back to get the others. They managed to get the broken van running again and were soon heading in the right direction again. We all stopped at an In'n'Out Burger place for lunch while the vans were washed and refueled. Finally we arrived at Long Beach Airport and after a long and confusing check-in, were ready for the 2 hour flight home. We had a wonderful flight back, and even were thanked by the flight crew and people on the plane for the trip we had just made. It was a nice end to such an amazing trip.
With nearly the whole building done ahead of schedule, our team decided to take some time to rest and traveled out to a small tourist destination called La Bufadora, a natural marine geyser located out on the coast, surrounded by little shops and businesses. We enjoyed the smell of fresh food and the sounds of bustling shops. Some of us even got souvenirs like panchos, backpacks, or little toy cross bows. After getting to see everything the small town had to offer, we packed up and went to lunch at Tacos Poblano, the same place we visited on the way down. After a nice meal of steak tacos, we went back to the place we were staying and got changed. We then went to the work site and finished working on nailing the remaining siding and finished installing the hurricane ties on the trusses. Meanwhile a team worked hard to make enough spagetti to feed a huge amount of people. We cleaned up the tools loaded up the vans and spent the rest of the night celebrating with the people of the church. We also took and gave out family portraits for all the people who had come to the service that night. All of us at some point took a second to step back and see what God had accomplished through us over this short week. The trials we had faced and overcome because our God was stronger then it all. We took a moment to rest and reflect on the mission we had finished. A building stood there where it hadn't before and where the building had stood before, nothing remained. Moved piece by piece, put together nail by nail, the building had been given new life and we all pray that it will bless the church.
We've had a full day today as we started out visiting 2 migrant camps and ministering to the children. Balloons, chalk, jumping rope, soccer balls, bubbles, singing and praying. These camps are where the families live who tend to the crops that we enjoy in the US. It's spiritually a pretty dark place, filthy dirty and full of God's people.
After that we went back to the construction site and finished up a multitude of jobs, rafters reinforcements, T-111 siding, blocking, windows cut in concrete, more siding, more cutting of lumber, fixing the air compressor so we could run 2 nail guns. We even sent a team out to finish digging a hole for a septic tank for a lady near where we were staying. It was really warm and the wind wasn't too strong.
Great dinner, more testimonies, a trip to the Mens Ranch to see the work from 3 years ago. Saw a gorgeous sunset there and headed back to town to visit our local favorite taco stand and the ice cream store. Shower....time of bed. This group of people is incredible, they have poured out their stories, tears, sweat and accomplished things they never thought they could do. I (Peter Laney) am exhausted and I think all of us are. We have laughed and laughed and grown in the Lord's presence. Pray for our safe last day of work and travel back to home on Saturday.
Thanks again to all who have let us go, prayed for us, supported us and encourage us.
As we returned to the worksite on wednesday we got right back into the swing of things and almost immediately the last sections of wall were up and nailed together. With the building now at its full shape and size we were able to see just how much we had accomplished and how much we still had to do. Sandy and his team quickly got to work setting up the rig to lift the trusses up to the top of the building. Everyone worked together prepping the trusses, installing supports, and nailing in the top rails. We took a nice lunch, prayed for safety, and soon we started on the first truss. It went up smoothly and then was handed off to teams to move each truss from one side of the building, where it was then flipped up and braced. Once the two teams got into a pattern, trusses were moving at an amazing pace. While the trusses were going up, a team got started sorting all of the loose T-111 siding and worked on installing panels. Before we knew it all of the trusses were up. We cleaned up and got changed. We returned to the church and had a worship service followed by a women's bible study tea party and a men's fellowship outside. The kids on our team got involved in a rather intense soccer game with the kids of the church. It was a wonderful chance for all of us to connect with the people of Colonet and Rudy's Church.
When we face trials and choose to continue the path that God leads us out of faith and obedience we are often met with blessings and opportunities in unexpected ways. In the previous day, we were left with the huge struggle of how to deal with the owner's requirements. Later that night, a group blessed us by removing the concrete slab completely and delivering the trusses to the new site. A small team, led by Peter, went back to the old site and began cleaning and leveling the ground it had been on to live up to the promises we made. An opportunity arose when the nephew of the man who owned the property dropped by. While talking to him, we got to know how God could use our obedience in removing the slab to reach the owner and his nephew and witness to them. As the day progressed, we moved the final walls to the new site and started to prep them for being reframed. The framing team got a method going and soon walls were flying up left and right. During lunch we were surprised with fresh clams that a lady brought to the site. With the help from some people from the church, Billy cleaned and cooked the clams for the group. After lunch, the walls continued to go up and by the time we were ready to leave there were only three wall sections left. What a blessing we were given that even after the trials we had faced the day before, we were able to keep ahead of schedule. God uses the trials we face to see if we have faith in his power and obiedience to follow him. When we live in faith and obedience we are given new opportunities and blessings.
The big picture is really easy to forget sometimes. Few people, even Christians, genuinely are always thinking of Heaven. Even then, we cannot even begin to be able to understand all of how or why God does things. Monday was a prime example of this. Costruction on the site was going well. There were only two or so walls left to remove when we took our lunch break. All the trusses were loaded on a truck, a few walls were loaded in a trailer, and we had even figured out who was moving to the other site. It was easy to loose perspective when the owner of the land the church was getting moved from showed up and told us that nothing else was leaving his site until the whole concrete slab was removed. We prayed, made come calls, and soon a dump truck and backhoe were on their way. While waiting, Pastor Rudy explained what migrant camps were really like and we looked around the abandoned migrant camp we were removing the church from. It was hard to imagine what God's plans were for the families who, generation after generation, had no options other than to work at migrant camps like this one. Once the equipment arrived, most of us moved to the new site and put up the walls we had moved there before the owner had said we could move no more. By the time we were done with what we could do, one thing that God had His hand in became clear. He had allowed us to begin working on Sunday, when we did not originally plan on working until Monday. He had also given us the strength and determination to be extremely efficient. These two things combined meant that the glitch in our human plans did not even slow us down much. For all we know, the owner of the land encountered Christ through us that day. Our plans are nothing to God's.
Our first full day in Mexico would logically set the tone for the rest of the trip. Ours definitely did. The day began with deconstruction. In devotionals, deconstruction of the barriers in our lives that interfere with our relationship with God, and on the ministry site, deconstruction of the building to be moved. The final truss and most of the walls came down from the building. The afternoon focused on construction. We were even invited to a little girl's sixth birthday party, and got to see here in her beautiful dress. After quickly cleaning up, we went to church. Worship was in Spanish, so most of us simply clapped along, but the message was given by Peter. He spoke on the blind man receiving healing at the temple and how God answers our prayers. It was a time focused on strengthening our relationship with God. Church was followed up by the kickoff of our time in Mexico. It was a time to simply build relationship with the people we would be helping and who would be helping us while here. We helped with games for the people at the church and had a hotdog feed. Deconstruction and reconstruction, our day's main tone, the mission for this trip with the church moving, and a reality of a relationship with Christ.
The rest of the team left RVCC in a set of vans on Saturday, headed to SeaTac. After a very minor hangup with ticketing, in which some last names were swapped with first names, we were on our way. TSA went well. The flight was short, a good number of us slept like babies, including Jim, who got a row of seats all to himself infront of the emergency exit. We were quickly offloaded from the plane and then proceeded to wait for our vans. As soon as we were ready to go we left Long Beach on route for San Diego. When we arrived in San Diego, we were all broken into small groups and went in to the Costco, tasked with the mission to find the food and supplies for the trip. We stocked up for the week, our purchases included a shopping cart full of hot dog buns, over 420 hot dogs, 4 cases of chips, and a ton of lunch meat. After an exceedingly long wait to have every item on our receipt verified, we headed down to the border. Crossing the border went off without a hitch and we were soon on the path to Ensenada. Right on the outskirts of downtown Ensenada we stopped at Tacos Poblano, for our first REAL Mexican food. It was rustic, it was simple, it was awesome! There was a candy store next door, and our first mexican candy was alternatively super sweet (dulce de leche balls) and spicy (chili tamarind mangos). After leaving Ensenada, it was a straight drive nonstop to San Vicente. We arrived 9:30pm and met up with the advance team (which was also at a taco stand). It was a happy reunion, with plenty of hugs. When we finally arrived, everyone was ready for some well deserved sleep.
Starting on the 1st gable end, removing the T-111 siding in order to remove the 1st trust. Sandy is up on the scaffolding.
border crossing in Tecate was amazing at 1030 pm, zero cars ahead of us, 2 of them boarded bus [2nd one likely in response to 'you won't believe these american grigo idiots that drove straight thru from WA. looked ONLY at bus registration, and waived us on in 3 minutes. Amazing. God is so good. Tecate was 30-60 min more driving but saved us time AND $$.
bus trip was great. bus motor and tranny got a little hot going up grapevine out of Bakersfiled and it slowed us a bit for periodic cool water applications on the radiators, to avoid LA rush hour traffic [arriving for 125 miles of LA traffice at 230pm, was not the best timing] so we went I-15 which was a little longer and some traffic, but a good decision.
other than those two little hitches, we were right on schedule. driving 60 and averaging 53 with hills and stops. bus got 8.5 mpg and ran great whole way...
PTL!!! no water for showers here, but we'll all smell together and should have a fix for tonight.