Submitted by team member — Mindy King
Juarez Trip – Nov 4-7, 2021
Psalm 51:10 reads, “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.” Perhaps God can help us achieve a “clean heart” when we get our hands really, really dirty, like our team did as part of our mission trip with Operacion Abrigo in early November. With the help of many hands, we built a home for a family of six in Juarez, Mexico. And in doing so, I think our hearts all became a little “cleaner” — washed in gratefulness that we were able to make an impact on the lives of this sweet family. And grateful, too, for the many ways in which their lives made an impact on us.
If you’ve never heard of Operacion Abrigo, it’s a group whose core ministry is to build homes for families that live on the outskirts of Juarez, Mexico. Over their almost 30-year history, they have built thousands of homes for families, many of whom were previously living in cardboard shacks. You can learn more about their mission here: https://www.operacionabrigo.org/.
Custer Road has partnered with Operacion Abrigo for 7 years. Our most recent trip was with a group of nine Custer Road members (including myself – my first trip!) who built a house for the Flores family — a mother and her three children (ages 8, 3 and 2), a grandmother and a grandfather.
Building the home was an incredible experience. With help from our group, from expert builders in the community called “maestros,” from members of the community and from the family itself, we stacked cinder blocks, laid mortar, poured a floor, and raised a roof. By the second day, we had finished a home — a modest one, certainly, but still something far better than what the family had before. We dedicated it with a Bible reading (in English and Spanish), a prayer, a message and groceries from the local supermarket, with hugs all around.
The second day of our visit we also had the opportunity to read with local children as part of Love and Literacy, a group that encourages reading and stresses the value of education with the children of Juarez: https://loveandliteracy.education/. Not only did we get to read with the children, but we also got to do arts & crafts, jump rope and do puzzles with them, in addition to playing a little “futbol.” The children’s smiles and hugs were incredible and possibly my favorite part of the trip.
Overall, it was a terrific experience, and I do feel I’ve walked away with a “cleaner” heart, washed in gratefulness. It was amazing to think that I had a part in building a home for a family, and knowing that three kids now have a floor to play on and a place away from the winter cold and summer heat. I’m grateful to have had the chance to meet the Flores family and to interact with their community — their kindness and warmth reminded me that we are all part of a big, beautiful family that transcends language and knows no borders. It was truly an unforgettable experience and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.
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