First off, thank you to our customers for supporting our small business. In turn, we get to give back to this crazy yet, beautiful world that can never have enough love, hope, and humility. We could be satisfied with financially supporting nonprofits, both local and nationwide, even international organizations but nothing is quite like being hands on and in the thick of it.
On May 19, 2022 I woke up early as usual but this time it wasn't to meet my 30+ customers and service their homes for the day. It was to caravan from Las Vegas to Tijuana, Mexico with 70+ men to build homes for under-resourced families.
With career backgrounds like Uber drivers, home inspectors, personal fitness instructors, business owners, and more we all came togther with a goal to build 5 homes for 5 families. In what typically takes 10 years to build in Tijuana was accomplished in a weekend. The family home that my team and I were assigned to was a 2 bedroom home to be built on a 16' x 20' concrete slab. Prior to arriving at the build site, imagining 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, dining/living space on a 16' x 20' foundation was a little hard. Measuring this space in my own home and realizing the possibilty of a 2 bedroom home within it quickly humbled me. And continues to do so.
My time there, though brief, has been life impacting, humbling, and emotionally overwhelming to say the very least. I'm very thankful to have been given the opportunity to experience this mission trip and everything that concerned it from time off, to the necessary finances, and well wishes from my customers.
Day 1: Las Vegas to Tijuana, Mexico. Shortly after passing through the US to Mexico border we arrived at our accommodations for the next few days. It was nice to see the ocean.
DAY 2: Bright and early we headed to our build site. The four other teams went to theirs. We were greeted by the 16' x 20' slab and got immediately to work. The soon to be homeowners and staff from YWAM Homes for Hope prepared lunch for us. The weather was overcasted and chilly! We got a lot done.
DAY 3. THE BIG DAY!
Photo description: 1. Half way through the build. Front of home. I built and installed that awning above the front door. 2. Back of home and roof being worked on. 3. The outhouse. After all the expenses made by the homeowner and organization, plumbing and sewage is a luxury. For many families, the outhouses are turned into a storage space. 4. The dividing wall for the bedrooms going in. 5. The kitchen area is located at the far back wall. A small refrigerator, a small counter/work space, and a portable gas range for cooking will fill the area. To the right are the 2 bedrooms. The entryway area is the dining/living area. 6. Thank you to our generous customers, Aaron Carpenter and Rebeka Acosta, who donated ten gift cards with $10.00 loaded onto each. The five families were given two or $20.00 to use at Walmart to purchase household items and toiletries. 7. Lunch! 8. The brand new homeowners took a photo with me.
The time has come! The excited homeowners finally received the keys to their house. Each one of us from the build team had the honor to share a few words of hope and encouragement with the new homeowners.
Respectfully, Mom and Daughter went into the finished and furnished house first and spent a few minutes in their new home by themselves. We stood outside taking in the life change that was happening behind that door. It was an incredible moment.
Afterwards, they welcomed us into their home. I'm thankful they were open to us taking photos. I hope to never forget this.
More about the homeowners, Magdalena and Katherine, can be found here: Mora Mejia
If you'd like to make a donation to either of these incredible organizations, please do so here: YWAM Homes for Hope Donation
With more international borders opening up every week, I'm hoping more will be added here soon: The Crossing
Day 4: Headed back to Las Vegas was another humbling experience. The time spent at the US border entry wasn't too long. But it was enough time to take in the differences just a border apart.
On our way to the border, the roadways were lined with last minute souvenirs available to purchase. While in traffic, waiting for our turn at inspection, vendors were nonstop selling freshly made churros, hot coffee, snacks, handmade dolls, and other trinkets. Kids went in between cars and did tricks.
At the end of the day, all the build teams came together to have dinner. It was a time to share and exchange our experiences from the day. One family's story stood out to me more than others. It's a young husband, 21, and wife, 22, with two little boys who lived out of a van for 5 years. This young family makes a combined $62.00 USD weekly. More about this family here: Rodriguez Vega I hope they are able to live a better life with less worry in their new home.
Although Tijuana is considered to be the most dangerous cities in the world, not once did I feel that my safety was or could be compromised. In fact, I can't wait to go back. Thank you again to our Provisions Pest Control customers and your support. There is no way around it to say but your bill payment goes beyond supporting our locally owned and family operated small business. Your bill payment goes beyond. I get to be the hands and feet.