Mexico Mission Report to the People of Grace
Grace’s Mexico Mission started in 2005 as one of our centennial projects and has carried on every year except 2014 and 2015.
Mexico Mission 2016
We left Grace at 6:00 am Friday, March 18 and drove south through Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and California, arriving in San Diego at noon March 20. Our colleagues at Amor Ministries escorted us across the Mexican border to our campsite near the city of Tecate and we set up camp.
We were blessed with six experienced drivers and had driver rotations every 3 – 3.5 hours, stopping every night enroute at basic but clean motels.
March 21 through 23 we worked about 9 hours a day at the build site, then returned to camp for dinner and campfire time. On March 24 we worked till 10:30 am completing the house and then packed up our camp gear and returned to San Diego where we thankfully enjoyed hotel beds, hot showers and a very welcome break after 3 1/2 days of hard, dusty work. Some went to the beach, others wemt sightseeing and still others went shopping.
At 5:00 am March 25 we boarded the vans and headed north towards home, arriving back at Grace about 8:00 pm March 27. In ten days we’d driven over 5700 km, built a home and had a tremendous mission experience.
Our Mexico Mission Fund made it possible to subsidize 90% of the trip cost for Grace teens and about 9% of the cost for Grace adult participants. We had 24 really cooperative, positive participants (13 teens and 11 adults) from Grace, Westminster, Varsity and St. Andrew’s.
Kelly Christopher (1st time), Ryan Kellough (7th time), Dick Willott (6th time), Len Wolstenholme (9th time), Joanne Kellough (3rd time), Irene Robinson (3rd time), and Rose Wolstenholme (3rd time)
Trip leader Randy Jaggard is an elder from Westminster who has been on 9 of these trips and led several. He’s an excellent leader who has a gift of keeping everyone engaged, productive and connected. Len Wolstenholme was his #2. We had several Spanish-speakers on the team so communication with the family was excellent. Jared Miller, Minister at St. Andrew’s, took us through some very thoughtful devotion times, played guitar at the campfire, led us in Communion one night.
We built for and with the Mora Zimiga family. Parents, Juan (a security guard), Alma (a piece worker) helped on the build. They have three children: Arteznio, a college student; Perla, a high school student; and Juan Jr., in elementary school. The family together earns about US $500 per month yet provided us with a simple but delicious cooked lunch most days – unexpected but exceedingly generous given their very limited financial resources.
They have now moved from their one room dwelling into the new, four-room home and were very grateful for the beautiful quilts from the Grace quilters, and the Spanish-English Bible with a dedication translated for us by Mario Cervantes before we left Calgary. Every team member signed that Bible.
Our Build Experience
The build site was on reclaimed hillside in the community of Montisan. The owner had built a retaining wall that ranged from 6′ to 8’ tall and back-filled it with tons of fill to create a level spot for the house. The hillside drop ranged from 6’ to about 25’. Due to the need to have enough safe work area above the two sides of the retaining wall, we built a home 20’ x 23’. The plans were for a home 22’ x 22’. The difference sounds small but the entire plan had to be adjusted and materials were supplied for a different configuration, so we had quite a challenge. Due to resulting delays we were unable to get the second coat of stucco on before we had to leave. However, Amor staff assured us they would see that it was done.
This experience was a blessing to all who participated, as well as to the Mora Zimiga family and our partner, Amor Ministries which has been enabling volunteers to build homes for those in need in Mexico for over 30 years. Watch for news this fall about plans for Mexico Mission 2017.