Sunday, January 25, 2009

What can we do in Mexico?

I was elated when Paul called a few days later.

“We’d like to go with you and Tere on a trip to the interior like you described in your Christmas newsletter – all five of us,” I said after greetings and a brief update on our family. “And if there’s room, we’re thinking about taking some of the kids from our youth group at church where George is the youth leader.”

Paul described several options:

“There’s a pastor south of Veracruz who needs help building three houses out of cinder blocks.” (I scratched off that option immediately; a building trip was not what I had in mind.)

“Then there’s a church in Veracruz that needs help getting the building up to specs. They need to put in a tile floor to make it into a daycare center in the daytime. It’s in the center of a squatters’ camp with lots of unwed mothers all around who need to go to work, but can’t because they have no one to look after their children.” (Better because of proximity to the squatters’ camp that I’d want the kids to experience. Perhaps the girls could visit the women while the boys laid tile.)

“And then there’s this school that a pastor built in Oaxaca (pronounced wa-HA-ka). It’s an outreach point. There are indigenous tribes there. They’re extremely poor.” (My heart was beginning to race; this was more like what I’d imagined.)

“They’re about 50 miles from Veracruz in the mountains,” Paul continued. “It takes about three hours to drive there. We could help in some way. They desperately need school supplies. We could do food distribution, give out used clothing that you bring with you, George and I could preach, you could sing, and we can have prayer services for healing.”

I was sold. This was it.

“This is exactly what I had in mind!” I told Paul. I could hardly hold back my excitement. “I want our kids to experience some hardship and see how others live. We live in Disneyland here. We have everything. Our American kids have never experienced or even seen hardship. How many can you take with you?”

“Ten, besides Tere and myself.”

That’s five from our family, five from the youth group. We began to discuss details.

“It’s $30 per night for a hotel, four per room. Or you can stay with families,” Paul offered.

This was better than I’d hoped.

“Definitely with families.”

“You may have to sleep on the floor or in hammocks.”

“Fantastic!” My own children have lamented having to stay in a hotel rather than camping in the past. “The more inconvenient, the better. It’s exactly what they need, Paul.”

By the end of our conversation – I’d been scribbling on a notepad from the start – I had a rough sketch of where we’d go and what we’d do. I even had the beginning of a packing list – suntan lotion, mosquito repellant, and ship the sleeping bags in advance so we could carry more used clothing and school supplies with us.

Oh, this is going to be a great trip, and I’m so excited that I am the one organizing it. What a learning experience this will be, both for me and for my homeschoolers. And any from the youth group brave enough to accompany us.


gina said...

This sounds so excited- please keep updating here. This sounds like something I'd like to do when my girls are a bit older!

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

Hi Gina,

Your 14-year-old could already be going on mission trips with Global Expeditions ( They are a FANTASTIC organization based in Texas. My son went to Matamoros, Mexico with me through Global Expeditions, then alone to Tijuana, Mexico half a year later (he was still just 14), and then to Guatemala the summer after. I know it's broadened his world view.

Alexandra went with me to Honduras through Global Expeditions a year ago when she was 14. I intend to go with Larissa on a Global Expeditions trip when she's 14 or 15 to get her feet wet, too. With Global Expeditions, they don't need me to come with them because the organization is very trustworthy (I went with them the first time to check it out; didn't want to send my child off into the unknown with an unknown organization). However, by going the first time with me, my child is more confident.

But this Mexico trip will be different since it will be the family together! Befriend any missionaries who visit your church and you may be able to do something similar through them.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)