2017 AMOR HOUSE BUILDING TRIPS — COME BUILD LOVE! | Bring God’s love to Mexico and do good. If you’ve never gone before, this will be an eye-opening and transforming experience. Our 2017 dates were Feb 17-20 (trip 1) and Mar 25-28 (trip 2). (A general description of these trips can be found at our faq page.)
Here is Kelly Mar’s recent experience and a summary of the trip (Feb 2017)
This was my second trip with the “Amor” organization to build a house in Tijuana, Mexico for a family in need. Despite all its challenges, it has been my favorite so far. God really knows how to exceed all my expectations. The weekend in Mexico was forecast to experience heavy rains and winds throughout the entire weekend. I was recovering from a cold virus and cough that made me nervous to camp in 40-degree weather. I anticipated our work days would not be very productive, and wondered how I would even tolerate standing in the rain for 8 hours a day.
My sleeping bag was wet, and I went to bed dreading the continuing downpour and potential of waking up in a flood.
The night we arrived at camp it rained as expected. It rained hard. A handful of tents flooded, forcing team members to retreat into our rental cars for sleep. My sleeping bag was wet, and I went to bed dreading the continuing downpour and potential of waking up in a flood. But, with the help of some extra tarp and brave manpower, we were able to make our tent a little more waterproof.
Of course, as God would have it, we arrived to the work-site the next day greeted by clear skies. With full trust in online weather reports, we got to work fully clothed in rain coats, ponchos, and non-breathable waterproof pants. God must have a sense of humor. The day began to get warmer. I was sweating under 4 layers of clothing and plastic covering. The rain will begin soon, I thought; but it didn’t. I watched as my teammates slowly shed their layers until they were in t-shirts, amazed that it actually may not rain as humans predicted! Hmm. The work day continued and moved along rapidly as we mixed concrete, poured the slab, and assembled some of the wood frames. There were occasional sprinkles, but it kept the air comfortably cool as we worked full-speed on the house. God provides.
The family arrived to the work-site, and at the sight of 23 people sawing and shoveling away, Brenda (the Mother) clasped her hands in excitement and proceeded to give each team member she saw a hug! She exclaimed so fast in Spanish I could barely understand her. It was love at first sight. Allen, her 4-year old son, quickly warmed up to everyone despite the language barrier and showed off his dinosaur pajamas. Brenda’s husband, Omar joined us soon after and jumped straight into action, helping in every way possible with construction. By the end of day 1, we made significant progress on the house and I finally conceded that God was in full control of the weather that day.
Omar and Brenda welcomed our arrival early the next morning and watched as my teammates huddled in prayer. I could tell Omar was appreciative of the work we were doing, even if he didn’t have the English words to express it. His actions spoke his thanksgiving. The work-site was covered in thick, sticky mud that caked onto everyone’s shoes and made walking up and down the hill very slippery. Omar knelt down in his jeans and began scooping handfuls of mud with his bare hands in attempts to clear us a pathway. I watched from the side wearing gloves and knee-high boots. It’s funny how God humbles me the most in times when I think I’m the one “serving”.
“I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!”
Day 2 went just as smoothly as Day 1. We assembled the frames, finished the roof, and installed the windows and doors – a first for everyone on the team. What proceeded was even more exciting than any of us anticipated. John called everyone to gather around the front door for an official “key ceremony”. It was a scene that made a lasting impression on my heart. I was covered in mud, had a hole in my pants, and was sore all over, but the second I witnessed the expression of little Allen when he saw the house, all that went away. I work with kids full-time for a living, but I had never seen a child that happy. His jaw was wide open, eyes in wonder, and hands clapping in excitement, I could make out that he was saying in Spanish, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!” Omar, in dirt-stained clothes, carried him up the steps to the house, and Brenda took the keys with tears in her eyes. They continued into the house with amazement and Allen began exclaiming all the exciting new possibilities, including where to put his bed. Brenda gave us a heart-felt thank-you with a shaky voice and said something I think resonated with every team member. She said, (translated) “I can’t believe you would all come here and do this for us. You don’t even know us and yet you showed us so much love”. God is SO good. His provisions are so abundant and His love so unconditional that it urges each of us to love on one another. In that moment of being thanked for love, I felt I was experiencing God’s “Amor” the most. He watched over my health the whole weekend, He protected our work days from rain, allowing us to complete more work than we ever have on a house; and He gave Omar, Brenda, and Allen an opportunity for a new life in a house they can finally call home. That’s Amor.
Images from the Feb 2017 Amor Trip. Team members: Alex Ho, Damian Au, Carl Sujo, Christian Li, Daniel Lew, Danny Orh, Enoch Teng, Esmond Wong, Henry Li, John Chow, Jordan Mark, Kelly Mar, Kerry Leong, Kevin Chan, Kevin Leong, Kris Leong, Kristina Yano, Lawrence Fung, Nathan Mark, San Thach, Sonny Cheung, Tracey Luke.