Team from Calvary Chapel makes fifth trip to lend hand in Mexico
Story and photos
by Mardi Ford
For two days, they only watched us while we worked.
By Tuesday, the children had edged closer, shyly asking for "aqua" one of the few Spanish words these indigenous Oaxacan Indians spoke that all the folks from La Grande Calvary Chapel could understand.
By Wednesday, their little arms were up and around our sweaty necks, their faces pressed against our dusty shirts.
By Thursday, they were planting sweet kisses on our sun burnt cheeks and begging us to play.
As crucial as the construction projects were, time with the children was equally important. We joyfully put down our power tools and paintbrushes. We took turns taking a break to enjoy these children who easily captured our hearts.
God sent us to love and serve a proud people in humble circumstance. We did, in as many ways as they needed that would also honor Him and proclaim us as His servants.
By Friday, the little blue house in the Mexican desert was finished.
It is the first home for Fransisco and Rufina Santos and their three children, one of the few steadfast Christian families in this camp. They are the only Oaxacan Indians in this camp to have saved enough money to buy a tiny plot of land from the Mexican farmer for whom they work six days a week, 10 hours a day for less than $500 a month between them.
Francisco is one of the few Oaxacan who also speaks Spanish. He calls their new home, "La casa que Dios construy" the house that God built.
Friday, the children watched us as we packed the trailer with all our tools and cleaned up the construction site. While we piled into the vans, little brown hands hung onto big, newly tanned ones through the van's open doors and windows.
Downcast faces revealed their understanding that, after this day, we would not be back.
Our faces mirrored theirs.
Hopefully, what we left behind in the desert outside Maneadero a little blue house with its porch light softly glowing will serve as a beacon to the two Oaxacan Indian camps that flank it.
Each time they look at it and remember us, we hope it will remind them that with God, everything is possible.
At home again, we pray to hang on to that best piece of ourselves, refined by what we experienced in Mexico.
We wait, preparing our hearts for next year.