Reflection by Elijah Evetts, 9th grade
What is the main goal of the Mexico mission? Some may believe that the goal is to build a house but I believe it’s really something different. I believe the real goal of the Mexico mission is to grow closer to the family – both the ones we are trying to build the house for and the church family as well.
Now that we are back from Mexico, I feel as though my trust for those that came with me has grown substantially. This was both from the building of the house and the four days we were trapped in a vehicle together. I also got to know the family members as well. On the first day on the work site (concrete day) we met the family. It was strange for me. I felt awkward and out of place on these people’s property in a strange country. I mostly kept to myself and allowed the hardened veterans of the mission do the talking. I kept my head down and worked, but something strange happened, by the end of the mission, I felt comfortable among these used-to-be-strangers and was saddened when we had to leave. I believe this was felt both ways as the family was also very touched at our leaving.
Instead of picturing the building of the house as our goal next year, I will think of it as a tool. A tool to bring us closer to our family in God.
Reflection by Casey Cross, Hope’s Young Disciple Director
Being a part of an experience like this, I couldn’t help but find myself considering two questions: What makes a home and what makes a family?
What makes a home?
It’s not the number of rooms, screens, or dishwashers. It’s not what’s in the fridge. It’s not the bathrooms (though this is a highly important feature for a living environment… and 6 porta pottys shared between around 100 people doesn’t count). IT DOESN’T.
A home is not just a place to live, it’s a place for living. It’s a space for shared time, together. During our time in Rosarito with the Lopez Reyes family, we experienced home. Across the street, in the next door neighbor’s yard, we saw houses brought to life: A family eating barbecue on the patio together, laundry strung out along the yard to dry, a little boy playing with their new puppy, mothers walking hand in hand with their children, and kids running home from school… these are some of the moments I captured each day while we hammered, measured, mixed, and built not just a house, but home.
To be part of this process, to join the group headed to Mexico every summer to work with Amor Ministries, is to be invited into a family’s home. And as we were invited to the home of Ramon, Estelle, Miriam, Margarita, Jose, and Mario, we became a part of their home as we worked side by side with family members and friends to create more space for living.
What makes a family?
Is it the parents or siblings? Is it growing up in the same house? Is it blood or heredity?
We know that family is not just this. We know that sometimes whom we are born to does not make them family. We know that family, similar to a home (though not the same), is created as it is lived – together. This is why some of our friends can feel closer to us than a brother or sister. This is why family is more than just the person, but the enactment of dependence upon and commitment to one another.
When people live together, eat together, work together, rely on each other, and pray together, they can become more than just a group of people – they can become like family. It can be hard to be with people that intensely for such a period of time, but when you are committed to one another, it can be done. You can overcome the difficulties or personality quirks and remember the bigger picture, the goal you share, to be Christ’s hands and feet together.
Our time shared together in a van, sitting for hours in traffic, scraping tubs full of rock and sand and concrete and water with shovels, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or sharing and praying around a campfire became a daily reminder that in Christ we become a new kind of family. We become a family that celebrates life and lives it together, a family that goes out into the world to meet our brothers and sisters beyond borders and walls, and build them up as we build new walls for a home.
I have been blessed by this experience, blessed to be part of a home that is more than the apartment I go to in Eagle and greater than the two person-one dog family that I consider myself a part. It is opportunities like these that strengthen the body of Christ, fuels us, and inspires us to live out Christ’s mission of love every day in this home created for all of us by God in the beginning.
Through your support you are a part of this family, this story, and these homes in Mexico. If you are 13 or older, you can be part of this in person by joining us next year. Please prayerfully consider how God may be calling you to be part of this experience of home and family. The answer may be unexpected, but believe me, God will make it worthwhile.
This short reflection was written in response to my experience a few weeks ago and the gospel text this Sunday: Luke 9:51-62.