In January 2013, I went on a short-term mission trip to Mexico to build a house for a single mother and her two teenage boys. It was a truly eye opening and thought provoking experience.
I traveled to Ensenada, Mexico, with a team from Mercy Road Church in Carmel, Indiana, who had raised the funds to purchase, build, and furnish a house. Through an application process, we found Elizabeth and her sons Eduardo and Jose. Elizabeth is a hard working single mother who purchased her land ten years ago. She paid off the land but wanted a house for her boys to grow in.
Our team went to Ensenada with little building experience. After making connections with Youth With a Mission ministries, a team of Mexican builders and translators joined us for the project. We arrived to the build site and found nothing but a pile of materials and a dry concrete slab. We learned how to frame walls, hang dry wall, build trusses, cut trim, and paint. We got pretty good at it in a short amount of time! With the expertise of the Mexican builders and the help of Elizabeth and her family, we were able to build a three-room house in less than two days.
On the second day of the build, Elizabeth had her whole family join us for a delicious lunch she had prepared. We feasted on fresh pica de gallo and guacamole, corn and flour tortillas, and some of the best grilled steak and fish I’ve ever eaten. It was a great treat for us to experience this wonderful meal with the family. After lunch, we asked a few members of the team to take Elizabeth and the boys to Walmart to buy them some groceries while we put the finishing touches on the house. When she returned, we surprised her with bunk beds complete with bedding, a table and chairs, a gas stove, and some other household necessities. Then we had a ceremony where we prayed over the family and the house. We presented them with a Bible and a framed picture of the group as a way for them to remember us.
I returned to my apartment and life in Wheaton very humbled. I left this sweet family with a tiny house and not much furniture, and yet it meant the world to them. I have a newfound appreciation for what God has given me and understand the true blessings in my life. I hope to return to Ensenada next year to help another deserving family.
-Written by Ashleigh Burdick, TEAM Administrative Assistant for Operations
-Photography by Ashleigh Burdick