Broken and Beautiful

As soon as I got back from St. Louis, it was time to jump into servant event mode. My flight landed on a Sunday evening; 34 people from Mayer Lutheran High School arrived by bus after driving 26 hours on a Tuesday morning. Like last year, although not weather-related this time--Mother Nature attacked later in the week, we decided to take it easy on day 1, visiting all of last year's families, taking some measurements, and shopping at the market. The rest of their trip was dedicated to building the traditional 3 houses in Anapra. Well, for half the group; the other half just played with kids. At least that's what I thought last year. My typical mindset is to make sure that everyone has a job and feels needed, so seeing approximately half of each crew not even pick up a hammer made me uneasy. This year I realized that giving piggy back rides, coloring, and getting whupped at soccer is a different type of serving, one that is anticipated, planned for, and enjoyed just as much as the construction portion.

I remember loving the one or two of Mayer's devos that I sat in on last year, so this year I went every night. My favorite was the first night, led by the group leader. He rehashed some of the things that the team must have addressed in its pre-field meetings, such as the causes of poverty and forms of poverty other than economic. For me it was fantastic point after fantastic point. For instance, that night was the first time that we talked about how the only difference between the proverbial them and us is where we were born: Anapra or MN (MO in my case). Every one of us is "broken and beautiful," something else that has stuck with me--torn apart by sins of various types, but redeemed by the blood of Christ and gorgeous in His eyes. The best definition of sanctification I have ever heard was on that night--striving to live like who God already sees us as. Extrapolating on the "broken and beautiful" theme, I think it also applies to the town of Anapra itself. There might be potholes in the roads and fences made of bedsprings, but what God is doing there is breathtaking.

At the end of the week, only one of the houses was finished, but stay tuned and look at these pictures in the meantime...

"Perro, perro, gato" (Dog, dog, cat--they didn't know how to say "duck" or "goose"), which if you think about it makes much more sense...

Siding at my worksite--casa tres.

Our 72-in. high wall...

Allan fixing the 72-in. high wall...BEFORE the other wall fell on top of him! The devil really just did not want us to have a good first day on the job!

Tim and "Chapa"

Kelyn siding our second-to-last wall!

Stained glass ornaments drying on the floor of the church.

Dave (the group leader) and friends.

Something else the group did pre-departure was write messages on old-style concrete nails, which were nailed into the foundations of the houses. comes the WIND (Mt. Cristo Rey with the cross on top is over there but you can barely see it)...

...then the RAIN...

...then the SNOW! We didn't want them to get homesick!

It's not every week that someone gets the job of sweeping snow off the roof, or worse, chipping ice off the roof!

Kids in Anapra were fascinated by the fact that you could make balls out of the snow and launch them at people. This kid's got an arm!

Snow on the rooftops!

One morning the group arrived bearing gifts for all of this year's families and some of last year's. For casa tres's homeowners: an electric skillet and a table and chairs.

"You can be like faithful Aaron, holding up the prophet's hands..."

Perk of working when it's cold outside: Mexican hot chocolate!

Three of the 4 inseparable amigas--the 4th was right there, just a little late to stick her face in the frame. They reminded me of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Casa tres home recipients, Gloria and Antonio.

The casa tres crew!

Group members sharing their musical stylings, in Spanish no less, at San Lucas's Sunday service.

Until next time, blessings!


tchrchill said…
Wow! Looks like a wonderful and eventful week. What a blessing those kids are, and how blessed they are to spend time over Christmas working in Anapra. It'll be fun to see more on Casas 1 y 2.

Happy New Year, Carol