Where'd you go to high school?

***Check out this blog about my adventures with the group from University Lutheran Church in West Lafayette, IN. New pics have been added!

MORE St. Louisans were in El Paso this week! The day that my church's group left, a group from King of Kings Lutheran Church in Chesterfield, MO, drove in. Of course I asked them all where they went to high school at orientation, since that's what St. Louisans do! It was awesome having people from my hometown here. We had so much common ground: the Cardinals, the zoo, the Muny, Ted Drewes, toasted ravioli. I had lots of other weird connections to the group members too, like I went to grade school with one girl's sister, I went to high school with the leader's brothers, and I worked at the ECC with the leader's wife. It's a small world, and the LCMS one is even smaller!

I mentioned that the group drove down and thus had their own vehicles, and they also cooked for themselves. Consequently, at the beginning of the week I was feeling a little unneeded and disconnected, I think due to a lack of forced interaction. I was also feeling very unprepared, since we had 2 job sites planned (a house in Sparks and some more finish work at the Hinojosa compound), and I had to "lead" the 2nd one with less direction than I would have liked. As usual, I was getting all worked up over nothing though. The site under my supervision went smoothly, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves all week, me included. I hung out with the group outside the worksite a couple times: watching a movie, playing Mafia (team role-playing "card" game in which the Mafia tries to outnumber the townspeople by murdering/lynching them...not as violent as it sounds!) and eating lasagna...twice. The first time they invited Chris and I over for Sam's Club lasagna and Texas Toast, which was good but prompted Chris to offer his chef skills in making the homemade version on Friday night...

We all painted at the house for 1/2 day on Friday, but went back to the worksite that evening for a house blessing. Unbeknownst to us, the homeowners Hugo and his wife Cynthia were cooking us dinner! My first reaction was panic since I knew Chris was putting the finishing touches on our Italian feast back at the ranch. You just don't say no to certain things though, in general and in Hispanic culture in particular. So, we all politely ate a little--or a lot--of carne asada, hot dogs, chips, guacamole, and salsa, and then came back to the mission and destroyed 1 1/2 pans of lasagna and 2 loaves of garlic bread!

They're stopped in Amarillo for the night right now and will be back home sometime tomorrow night. Maybe if I wind up back in the Lou in January (future plans update coming soon) I'll go visit K of K some random Sunday!

The dirt lot where the house now stands. This one is going to be the 2 kids' bedrooms. Two more 12 x 24 builds are slated for next month and then sometime in the spring, to give mom and dad a bedroom, then a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. FYI the slab, poured by Hugo and some buddies, is serious business. There's a rock wall around the perimeter, topped by cinder blocks; you can see it in one of the pictures below.

Everyone started off with a Home Depot nail apron, but those didn't last long once Chris reported their attire to one of our friends at Lowe's on one of his nightly runs. He showed up the next morning with Lowe's nail aprons, hats, and pencils for all!

YLM's first ever chair-rail paint job. 5-year old Jazmin wanted her room purple AND pink.

Adrienne painting soffet. The exterior is a sort of split pea soup green with cream trim; I approve.

Kristen and Priya painting.

Mark matches the color of 1 yr. old Hugo Jr.'s bedroom: "Yellow Lettuce!"

The group leader Dan handing over strips of a prayer cloth to each member of a family. Each group member has one, as does their church back home. The idea is to put it somewhere where it will serve as a reminder to pray for the other party. I've seen groups use the concept before, but including the family (and Chris and I too!) brings it a whole new dimension.

Jazmin and Hugo were all smiles!

Group shot with the family in front of their growing house!

Until next time, blessings!