Our one-eyed one-horned flying PURPLE house!

I am taking advantage of some time between church and lunch to share about my week. Right now there is a group here from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Chris and I had the pleasure of visiting there when we were in Edmonton a few weeks ago, so we had already met all but one of the group members. They arrived on Monday and we had the house done and painted--3 shades of purple--by Friday, so they are currently enjoying a couple free days to take in some area sights. Yesterday we parked in downtown El Paso and walked across the border to the Mercado Juarez, where we wound up spending all afternoon! Then we went to Cattleman's for dinner--hopefully I won't have to hear anymore talk about 2 lb. steaks! Today is a day of 3 church services (English and Spanish at San Pablo and then Santisima this afternoon), but tomorrow is up in the air still. We were planning on Carlsbad Caverns, although we were looking forward to staying for the bat flight which doesn't start until Memorial Day weekend. Maybe we'll go anyways, or maybe we'll go to White Sands instead, or maybe we'll do neither.

Below are some pictures of the building project; the last few show the distinctive paint job. The house is for a couple, Lilia and Jorge, who had been on the waiting list for 4 years! Lilia came to Juarez with a friend and her husband in search of work, met Jorge, and now they've been married 30 years! Part of the reason why they were in need of additional space is so that Lilia's mom can come stay with them and Lilia can take care of her. She is a widow and currently lives in Durango, along with the rest of Lilia's relatives. When she used to come visit, she'd have to sleep on a mattress in the kitchen. I don't think Jorge was thrilled with purple, but after so long he's learned to say "Yes, dear!" Another reason why they were selected for a build is because their land is the projected site of a new house church. They live near Mission San Pedro y San Pablo, but far enough away that there are lots of kids (and adults) around who don't make it there when Pastor Hernandez (Pepe) goes on Saturdays. My understanding is that there will be a covered porch in Lilia and Jorge's future as well, and then Pepe will, God-willing, begin ministry there in 2012.

One of the highlights of the week for me was getting to spend so much time with the kids. You might remember a blog about how sometimes I feel like I have to be so responsible and on task that I can't just let loose and play like I used to enjoy doing so much. This particular group, however, made that very easy. They all know that I can swing a hammer better than any of them except the guy who is a builder by trade, but I wasn't overly needed which meant I could play a lot of soccer, basketball, and duck, duck, goose and give a lot of piggy-back rides! Very few people whose native language is Spanish can pronounce my name, so this week it somehow morphed into "Helen." An acceptable alternative to that was "veinticuatro" ("twenty-four") because one of the other guys mistakenly answered "23" when the kids asked him in Spanish what his name was, so a running joke was to call us all by our ages.

Framing on day 1.

Ian sawing a siding panel.

Playing with Canadian flag hacky sacks. Buttons, pens, and bandannas emblazoned with the Canadian flag were also hit items.

Steve balancing on the wall to nail on sheet of OSB.

Keith sheetrocking.

Ana and I with our matching Canada buttons. The group gave me a bunch too and I meant to wear a different one everyday but I forgot towards the end of the week.

Dancin' in the streets!

Alex was one of the older boys in the neighborhood who loved to show off for the camera.

Pepe held an impromptu sing-a-long one day when he stopped by to check up on us.

The story behind this picture is that the group would buy candy for the kids, so one day the group leader/pastor told them that they had to sing "Happy Birthday" to Roland ("23"), and then they would get some. Note: it wasn't really Roland's birthday. They did, but Roland had forgotten to put the candy in the van! Luckily he remembered the next day. Instead of giving them the bag and letting them have a free-for-all like earlier in the week, they were made to stand in an organized line.

The Candy Man!

A few pics from Scenic Drive using some of my new camera's various low-light modes...

Pepe stopped by again on the last day for lunch and a house blessing ceremony, and he brought his guitar this time! Speaking of lunch, it was one of the most special meals that has ever been prepared for me by a family we were building for. It was like a potluck that the whole community showed up to! It goes without saying that it was all delicious. Of course we ate first, and then they all did; they wouldn't have had it any other way.

Cody and Ian painting the exterior and the trim purple. Not colors I would have chosen, but they don't look half bad together because they came from the same paint card. The interior purple had much more red to it, so it was borderline pink for my tastes.

Alex again.

I thought I was going to be deleting this one when the kids jumped in front of my shot, but it turned out pretty sweet!

Hugs for Lilia after the house blessing.

This is the side of the house that you can see from the street!

Until next time, blessings!