If we ate like we did on mission trips all the time we would all weigh well over 200 pounds. Of course some of us do and we are over 200 pounds but that’s not the point. The point is that our cooks do a great job. Mark Kane and Mark Salomon are up early and have the food ready for us when we get up. Verna cooks up a great lunch and it is ready for us when we return at 1:00 p.m. Every night we have left overs and there’s always something good to nibble on. Tonight Left us hot dogs and beans – an authentic American meal. Mark fried them up and we ate all of them.
The group works hard during the day. The work is messy and not very easy. The two major jobs have involved sanding and laying concrete blocks. I felt badly for the people doing the sanding. They were covered with white dust. Everyone wore masks but the dust got into everything and the crew looked like ghosts when they came out into the sunlight. Ramon, helped out today and he did it without the mask. He came out looking like something you see in the zombie movies. He was totally white faced. He wore a big smile though. He was so excited at the progress we were making. We worked a full day today and by the end of the day we were able to prime the big Sunday School room upstairs. That made he people who did all the sanding very happy because they felt they had really made some progress and that they would be able to see he result of all their efforts.
The bathroom crew was zooming along too. As the bricks were going up Andy Scheuermann began to install the copper piping that would support the toilets, urinals, sinks and showers. Mark Hopkins continued to work on the electrical so that we could supply power to the restrooms. The Salomon men worked in one half and Randy Sargent and Roger Mainville worked the other side. Our goal was to go up at least eight blocks high.
At one point Mark Salomon and Mark Kane went over to Ramon and Alma’s house to do some more work in their bathroom. They were going to grind out a layer of concrete so that new tile could be installed. That meant getting rid of the sludge and mold that had built up over time.
My job on these trips is four fold. I’m the chaplain of course. That puts me in charge of the spiritual welfare of the group. My goal is to help the team pray together and reflect on what God is doing in our midst. I do some of the devotionals but I always invite others to take a turn. God has this wonderful way of speaking through others. I admit that it is hard for me to keep quiet but when I do, great things come of it.
I also am the supply sergeant. I am in charge of getting everything people need to do their job once we get there. I work with Rick and Mercy to get what we need. For example today I got directions to the hardware store to get respirators for the two Marks who were working in the bathroom. The masks they had just weren’t doing it. When I dropped in on them the dust was so thick you couldn’t even see them. That wasn’t good. So I ran out to get them something that would give them better protection. I also picked up some scrapers and a level for the crew. I am also the one who gets the coffee and snacks for break time. I like that job the best because everyone really appreciates the effort.
I am also the official photographer and media person. I take photos, collect them from others and put them together in slide shows. I’ve also been trying to keep the world back home updated on what we are doing. We have had wireless internet at the seminary this year and it made it a little easier. The problem is that we have been very busy and I haven’t had a lot of time to write up these entries and post them. For example, this is day four and I am two days behind in getting it posted. I’ve been able to get some things up on facebook I’ll catch on Monday on the way back to San Diego.
The last thing I provide is overall leadership. This year I didn’t have another Pastor to bounce things off but the team has really come through. Everyone has accepted more responsibility and made the trip go very smoothly. I have gone to several people for advice on various matters and they willingly gave it.
Friday was a long day and after lunch the majority of the group went back to the church to finish some of the jobs they were working on. The big room upstairs got its first coat of primer and Andy Scheuermann really made some progress laying the copper pipes. Mark S. and Mark K. went back to Alma’s house to finish cleaning up the bathroom. Melanie S. Lisa L. and Michelle C. stayed back at the seminary and filled water balloons for the night’s games.
At 5:00 p.m. we went back to the church and participated in Vacation Bible School. Tonight Doreen, Michelle and Erica got up front when the kids sang the Superman song. It was great. When they broke up for classes, Doreen and her crew set up the chameleons the kids were going to make. Matt Salomon and I also figured out where we were going to set up the balloon toss game.
We set up the game on the road in front of the church. When the kids came down it turned out to be a big success. Roger, Randy and Mark S. volunteered to take the hits for the team. They sat in chairs with large inner tubes in front of them while the kids tossed water balloons at them. It was very funny and with 150 water balloons the fun last for a while. Carol, Matt and Jake fed the kids the balloons and tried to police the crowd. It was a huge success.
Earlier in the day I had Rick ask Ramon if he and alma were satisfied with the stuff we were doing. Nothing had gone according to plan so far. Chaos usually ruled. The kids didn’t mind. They actually seemed to really enjoy everything we were doing but it was Alma’s opinion who mattered. She and Ramon told Rick they were very pleased. The kids smiles didn’t lie.
We closed out the games and the kids received a snack and we took off for our annual visit to Dairy Queen. What a blast. We did our devotional there in the middle of Mexicali. It was a familiar setting in a distant land. It was a perfect end to a busy day.