Reflections on Project Mexico
Our Project Mexico team of 22 people returned on Thursday from another wonderful and blessed experience. For 13 of the team members, it was the first experience ever to go to Tijuana and participate in Project Mexico!
We built a simple home for Victor and Veronica and their two boys, Alexis (age 5) and Eduardo (age 3). The simple, sturdy home we built in four days replaced the shack in which they lived. Their house was a 10x6 home which was put together with random plywood of all shapes. When we looked inside the house, they could literally fit inside it only a queen size mattress and a TV. There was no room for anything else. Their “kitchen” was a space right outside their house, which included a sink without any plumbing – in other words, just a sink by itself. And then they had a portable propane gas to light a fire for cooking something on a pan.
It is unimaginable to think of how this family, like so many other families in this area, lived during Mexico’s rainy season. It is impossible that they stayed dry and warm inside this home. In fact, during the rainy season many children die because of the dampness and cold. After we build them a home with a concrete floor, sturdy walls, and a roof that won’t leak, they now have a home which will provide proper shelter. They even have a door that locks and two windows – two basic things they didn’t have in their other home! In their old home, they simply had some blankets that covered the doorway into their home.
Our group joined 125 other Orthodox Christians and built a total of five homes last week! Everyone loved the families for whom we built homes, the orphan boys at St. Innocent Orphanage where we stayed, the interns who dedicated their summer to working down there, and all the new people they met.
We also had the opportunity to visit the family and see the home which we build in 2014. The home was still strong and sturdy, and the children of the family had grown up two years older. What a blessing to see Leslie, Axel and their parents!
This type of experience really takes us out of our comfort zones, and exposes us to the reality of how much of the world lives. We saw extreme poverty, and very difficult living conditions, but we learned that this is how the majority of people in the world live. We in the USA live the life of the minority. We got a small taste of how much of the world lives! And in some small way, some very small way, we had an opportunity to be instruments in God’s hands, and to do some small act of love.
Here are some of the comments from our team members:
This was one of the greatest experiences in my life. When I saw the face of Victor crying when he received the keys to his new house, I felt so good.. I don’t think I will be more happy when I get my own house one day. I will never forget this experience!
I loved seeing the joy of the children, even though they lived in great poverty. They found joy in the simplest of things, and I realized they are like any other children of the world..
I loved growing in my faith. We were surrounded by so many beautiful people, and we all were inspired by the faith and commitment of one another.
I came on this trip knowing no one. It was great to feel
welcomed and to create bonds of friendship with one another through this experience.
I was so touched when Victor and Veronica made the chicken lunch for us. They must have spent so much money on us, money they don’t have! Yet that was their way of showing hospitality. What a lesson we all can learn from!
I realized that this house will have a huge impact on their lives. Their lives are changed from the small act of love we did for them. That left me feeling so good!
I loved how Victor was working with us every day, building his own house. He made us feel so welcome, and appreciated all we did for him. He learned our names, and I felt such a bond of friendship with him. Whenever I hear someone say something bad about Mexicans, I will think of Victor.
I was so touched to see how happy the family was, and
how they were crying after we built the home. This was a life-changing experience in my life.
I loved getting to know new people, including people
from our own Church.!
This exceeded anything I could have imagined. I couldn’t believe the conditions the Mexicans live under. At the same time, our living conditions at the St. Innocent ranch, sleeping in tents, was kind of cool. The fellowship we shared with the other 150 volunteers, as well as with the boys at the orphanage, and the kids at the home we were building was amazing. I loved everything about this experience!
It was hard to see the conditions under which the family lived, to see dust and trash everyone, and to step out of my comfort zone. Yet I loved every minute of it!
I can’t believe that I didn’t miss my phone at all for one week!
Thank God, this 5th trip which our Church Family took to Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage was another truly blessed and beautiful experience! We thank God and we thank each of YOU also for all your support, prayers and love! Together we made a big difference in the life of one family in Mexico! Together we acted as God’s ambassadors in bringing His love to the far ends of the world!
May our Sts Constantine and Helen Church Family always be a place where we can do small acts with great love here in Webster, in Massachusetts, as well as in Mexico and around the world!
Myron the Martyr of Cyzicus; Straton, Philip, Eutychian, & Cyprian the Martyrs of Nicomedea; Afterfeast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary; Demetrios the New, Righteous-Martyr of Samaria; Eutychios, Eutychianos and Kassiani the siblings; Paul, Juliana, and those martyred with them (the executioners)