Mission Mexico June 8th- 18th, 2007
What does it mean to give a gift to someone? Do we measure a gift by its worth, size, beauty...or is it by the love with which it is given? The ultimate gift is to give with profound love, expecting nothing in return. This wisdom has grown in the hearts of each of the 15 Mission Mexico group members during our stay outside of Tijuana, Mexico from June 8-18, 2007.
We said goodbye to the comforts of home - family, electricity, and efficient plumbing - and traveled across country with the intent of offering the greatest gift we thought we could give a poor family: building them a house of their own. However, to say that this physical structure is all they accomplished in Mexico would not do our experience justice. The lives of all involved were touched deeply by the love that drove every nail and sawed each piece of wood.
The family had barely any belongings: Sergio, Claudia, and their two young children welcomed our help with open hearts. Yet, as impoverished as they were, appreciation, love, and joy emanated from their family. The youngest daughter was more than content with playing near the work site with a few crayons and books; I thought of the many toys I used to play with as a child and how I was never fully satisfied. And I realized that this family was giving to us at the same time that we were trying to give to them.
The house, which merely consisted of one room with four windows and a roof, held a special meaning for Sergio and Claudia as a place of their own to raise their two children. Over the 4 days of building, we laid the foundation, put together and erected the walls, laid down the roof, and sealed the outside walls with stucco. As each day came and went our group pulled tightly together. We poured all that we had into every inch of the house in order to finish and present our gift of love to this family.
On the final day we blessed the finished structure and the family could not find the words to thank us. But in the end, we ourselves could not sufficiently thank the family for allowing us the opportunity and blessing to learn from them as we built the house. In this sense, all that we had intended to bring to the family - our love - they returned to us even more so. For this we will always be grateful. We will never forget this experience and we hope to pass this message on to those that we touch in our everyday lives as well. We would like to extend our utmost thanks to Metropolitan Methodios for allowing us this experience of a lifetime.