Well, we left Thursday morning at 6am for Acuna Mexico, right on the Texas Mexico border near Del Rio. There were 19 of us all from the Newlywed Sunday School class at First Baptist. We took two 15 passenger vans and a jeep, and made it safely there after a stop at Bucees (love it!), subway, HEB, and a couple bathroom breaks. Here was our home for the next few days. It used to be an old school, but is now used by the missionaries. There are two bunk rooms - guys and girls, bathrooms, a kitchen, and a small house for the full time missionaries.
We arrived at about 2pm Thursday and quickly got settled in. Dana Sweet and his family run a ministry called WIDE - Word in Deed Evangelism. They focus on meeting physical and spiritual needs of the people of Acuna in the name of Jesus Christ. This is an amazing ministry, and there is such a great need in Acuna. Mission teams come there often, and help out in many different ways. Some build casitas (small houses) like we did, others spend time at the orphanage, or do other building projects. The family we were helping, like many, lived in a small "house" that they had made of stones. It has a dirt floor, rain can come right in, and has no insulation to keep them warm. Here is a picture of their home.
There is no door - they either lean wood up against it at night, or have fabric draped across. There are two outhouses in the back. It is a completely different way of life, and is very humbling. It makes me so thankful for everything I have that I take for granted - running water, bathrooms inside my home, a warm bed to sleep in, clean clothes, a kitchen to cook in, and the list goes on and on. It is so dusty out there too, I don't know if anything is ever really clean. The kids were so adorable, just running around wanted to be loved and chased. Though we didn't speak the same language, they were just like any kids, hungry for attention.
Thursday we did some prep work to get ready to build the house. We were on a tight schedule, but ready to work hard. The family got to choose the color of the house. They chose pink for the outside and green for the inside. The missionaries said they families choose pink about 50% of the time! They like fun colors in Acuna. We painted the siding and cut boards for the house. Dana took us to the site where we would be building the home. The concrete foundation had been laid a few days before. We cleared the ground around the house and met the family. We were building the house right behind their current home. It was out in the middle of a dessert like field, with similar homes spread out around there. The roads there are so bumpy. Even in the town, many of the roads are just dirt/gravel roads that are so bumpy they will send you flying in the back seat of the van. There were also dogs everywhere. Seemed like everyone had a dog tied up in front of their homes. That night we cooked spaghetti for dinner, had our evening devotional, and got a good night sleep.
The next day after breakfast and a morning devotional we set out early and started on the house. It was really interesting to watch the whole process of building a house from start to finish. I was a little hesitant at first - not sure how I would be able to help since I know nothing about building houses, but it was neat how there was plenty for everyone to do. Plenty of hammers, gloves, nails, and paintbrushes for everyone. We got the frame up quickly, and put the siding up.
Here is Jared, who lead our team, along with his wife Kristy. Jared had been on a mission trip to Acuna last year, and ever since then had wanted to go back with a team from the newlywed class.
After the girls got back from the Door of Hope, we continued work on the house for a little while longer, and then headed home. We had hamburgers and hotdogs, and evening devotional, and then enjoyed a good night's rest.
Saturday we started out early again. We painted more boards, put up the drywall, some of the guys worked on the electrical stuff, and we started painting the inside. We repainted the outside, put in the 2 windows, and the door. We packed sandwiches and stayed out there till it got dark, hurrying to get everything done in time.