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 that we love their hospitality but think they should save their money for rent or something!

You may or may not be able to tell from some of these pictures and their captions, but I had a blast working with NDSU. One good time I know there are no pictures of is Wednesday night; it was one guy's birthday, so Chris made him lasagna and I made him a French silk pie (it was sooo hard not to lick the spatula since I gave up sweets for Lent!), then we played Team Trivial Pursuit. Thinking back, I can remember laughing a lot that night and all week really, so I was bummed that they had to take off early (Thursday after dinner) so one of the guys could get a good night's sleep before his National Guard fitness test. I kept thinking all day Friday as I went about my life that they were STILL driving!

Me nailing chicken wire on the existing structure on Monday.

We had to climb on the roof to get the top row, so Josh and I were the "monkeys." (I will admit, I used a ladder to get in place for this picture knowing my klutziness.)

Chris hates all things stucco, so he laid the forms for Wednesday's slab while the rest of us stuccoed.

The stucco crew in action. I love stuccoing, but we barely ever do it anymore (we just did it here because we were working with what was already there), so it was a rare treat for me!

This is what it looked like as we drove up Wednesday morning, all dry.

We brought Genaro with us on slab day. He is a machine at mixing concrete, no mixer needed. Check out our efficiency: 3 "volcanoes" at once!

Ellie was the "Mexican mixer." Once the consistency was right (you can tell by tasting it), we had to find someone with a "Mexican license" to steer the wheelbarrow to the right place.

Hannah and I were the smoothers. About halfway through the job, Genaro came up with a system for moistening dry patches that worked much better than our cracked styrofoam cup from McDonald's: a plastic water bottle that he poked holes in with a nail!

The NDSU crew.

Gilberto and Dora.

The youngest of Dora and Gilberto's grandchildren, Melani.

Thursday was a relaxing day spent on odd jobs around campus. The girls painted the office entryway...

...and the boys did anything BUT paint! How crazy is it that I now know 4 people that are allergic to paint, and 3 of them were at the mission in the same week? ;) In all seriousness, their job was to condense the pile of wood that had been ripped out of building #4 into the dumpster, which they did until it was overflowing. I could go into more detail, but suffice it to say they had WAY too much fun.

This week we are at the Hinojosa compound again with a group from St. Paul in Mt. Prospect, IL. Today they went to White Sands after church, but yesterday we insulated and wired in the existing structure, installed doors and windows, and put 5 walls up on NDSU's slab for addition #1, which will be 2 bedrooms. We started the 2nd coat of stucco too and would have finished but the Lowe's delivery truck brought us the wrong color!

Until next time, blessings!