by Rico Guerrero
This year’s Mexico Build was once again a mission that not only provided a much needed home for a family but gave me time to focus on my relationship with God. This was my second experience and it was as great as the first. I and 8 other men from First Presbyterian departed early Thursday morning with a variety of emotions. Even with my past experience I could not prepare for what to expect. We knew that the conditions and the build site is always an unknown until we drive up to the location. All we could count on is that God would provide and give us strength for whatever challenges we would face.
Fortunately, we were given a site that was perfect. As we all exited the vehicles we were met by mother Carmen and her son Angelo who were part of the family that we would serve. After the first of many group prayers we began the toughest day of the three-day build. This is the most critical day that determines how the rest of the build will go, it is the laying of the foundation. We mixed many buckets of cement in large trays and poured them one by one. All of our tools were powered by our bodies, which took a toll on all of us. The other challenge was the Tijuana heat that beat down on us throughout the day. At one point, we were faced with the fact that we may not be able to get the foundation poured by the end of the day, which would set us back on the build. We all stopped after noon and gathered our weary bodies. Ben Wiele, our awesome trip leader, pulled us all together and we prayed. We all had our needs and asked God to provide. I felt His hand over me and regained my positive, confident attitude that we were going to get it done. The team spirit was lifted up and we finished pouring the last tray during day one. This set the tone for the rest of the build.
During this time, the men and I shared many experiences about our lives with one another, especially about our faith in God. We also shared many laughs and prayers for each other. This bond that was created after the first day brought us closer together and made day two and three much easier to handle. Finally, after the end of day three we were able to hand over the keys to the Estrada Guzman family. At one point myself and Craig Hartsell were on the roof when Jorge, the husband, joined us in completing the finishing touches on his new home. He was a proud man that worked very hard for his family. He was thankful and curious of why we would come to help them. We let him know that it is because our love for God that we came to help his family. The build is not only about providing the family home but also to be a disciple of Christ to their family.
The mission trip is a transformative experience in many ways. I now have a connection with each of the men that is everlasting. I believe that is one of the best parts of the Mexico build. Each one of us sacrifice our time at work, time with family, and/or comforts of home. But the reward is great. For me, it allows me to grow my faith deeper and wider with God and focus on Him. We all can say without a doubt that it is a rewarding experience.
To see for yourself, enjoy this video of our trip created by Chris Popadich.
Editors Note: We invite you to ask Chris Popadich, Craig Hartsell, Bill Gotthardt, Matt Shaver, Jim Grunwald, Mike Murphy, Doug Smith, or Ben Wiele about their expereince of this trip.