Showing posts from March, 2011

Killing Two Birds with One Stone

Nine days after I get back from Canada, I'm leaving town AGAIN! My second "business trip" serves a twofold purpose: Chris and I are flying from El Paso to Milwaukee on April 27, in order to be at St. John's Lutheran Church in West Bend, WI, for a mission fair and fundraiser/dinner on Sunday, May 1. Maybe you remember that the prize from the LCMS World Mission photo contest that I won back in October was a mission fair and a Skype session with a missionary. It probably wouldn't do us a lot of good to host a mission fair at San Pablo, so we identified St. John's as a much more fruitful location. They are a large congregation that only started sending teams to YLM 2 years ago, but those few that have been here have loved it so the potential is there for a thriving long-term relationship. West Bend is also fairly centrally located in relation to several other YLM-loving churches, including those in the Chicagoland area. It turns out that they have a mission fair e

Passport check!

Before leaving for Mexico, I always do a visual "passport check" with everyone in the van, be it middle schoolers or adults. The reason is that the 2 leaders of the very first group I ever worked with, after I had asked everyone if they had their passports and they had all responded that they did, inadvertently left theirs behind. It resulted in a drive to the complete opposite side of town and Chris walking across the border to retrieve them, then walking back and hopping in the van, thankfully before we had reached the guard station. Hence Erin's policy, which has been strictly enforced ever since. That being said, I just got back from Mexico WITHOUT my passport! I used my SENTRI card for the first time and it was sweet!!! We've finally jumped through all the hoops and now we're good to go! A couple teensy-weensy glitches: 1. They're only good at the Zaragoza bridge, so when driving back from San Lucas, Sin Paredes, or Cristo Rey it's a bit of a drive. B

Out of Many, One

Many families, one team: Team Chicago. I love the vibe of family groups (like St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mt. Prospect, IL, that was here last week), I think because it is how I first experienced this place: people who might not normally even give each other a second glance wind up on a scaffold together or covered in drywall dust together. This was my third year in a row working with St. Paul; it was a wonderful week of progress and spending time with friends old and new. The task at hand for most of the group was continuing where NDSU had left off with the Hinojosas. Existing house: more stucco, fascia, soffet, windows, doors, trim, wiring, insulation, roof patching, and sheetrock. New addition: completely finished, painted outside, primed inside. I could never forget those brave souls that spent their week organizing the mission's tool shed! Debby was the chief, but various others cycled through for part of the week. It was like deja vu all over again for them see

The NDSU Crew

Last week I had the privilege of working with a group of 5 from North Dakota State University. They drove 24 hours straight through to come and serve at the mission! Our week was dedicated to the Hinojosa family, whom we met through the same Head Start social worker that has introduced us to several of her clients now. NDSU is the first of many groups that are now slated to help the family of 9: mom (Dora), dad (Gilberto), 3 kids, and 4 grandkids I think. They currently live in a trailer home on rented property, but they own land down the street which is where our energies will be focused. Gilberto had built a structure but left it unfinished, so our eventual goal is to make that livable and also add 3 Mexico style 12 x 24 additions. The family has been over-the-top generous with us thus far: water (4 cases!), sodas, lunch, and a Port-a-Potty. Gilberto even takes off work to help us and sleeps in his truck some nights to guard materials we drop off. We don't know how to tell them t

Tiny man, BIG Faith

It's 11:00 pm...gotta go to the airport in a bit for a group arriving at 11:50. My Diet Coke from earlier is starting to wear off so I figure blogging should keep me awake. I spent the week of March 5-12 working with a group of 7 from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot, ND. They didn't come last year, but I had worked with them 2 years ago and had a wonderful time, so I was really looking forward to spending time with many of the same people and a few new ones. Our task was to build a home for Onesimo Martinez, the (volunteer) guitar instructor who serves both Cristo Rey and San Lucas. I had never met him before, but he's a tiny little man with big dreams and an even bigger faith. He was around most of the week while we worked: serenading us, working in his soon-to-be yard, or showing us pictures of his family. He is soooo proud of each of his 6 kids and soooo excited to move them into their new abode! His plan is to add another addition like the one we built to the prop