So We Made It To Mexico

We'd planned for months to take a trip to Mexico to help with the orphanage, but even the best laid plans fail. The problem was weather related. Kind of. And also involved drugs.

In case you haven't been listening to news at all (I'm so guilty of that), the US is cracking down on drugs being run across the Mexican border. The drug cartels have decided that it seriously hinders business, and have chosen to fight about it. The whole "it's illegal" aspect doesn't really register with these people, because the money is good. And drugs have clouded their judgement. And they're obviously criminals.

So, the main road into Mexico was taken out by hurricane the other week, leaving smaller "side" roads to travel on. No problem, you say, because they're all paved and maintained. Except that these side roads are controlled by the drug cartels. They decide who travels freely and who doesn't. (My free, American, law abiding mind cannot wrap itself around these kind of things, but it doesn't diminish the fact that it's true.) Pretty much if you're driving a black SUV or pickup, you're dead. The drug cartels choose to drive those, so they either take your vehicle and let you walk, or worse. (See the "you're dead" part.) Sometimes, if they're just having a bad day or want amusement or even in need of a little extra cash, they'll kidnap a carful of touristy passengers. Ransom can be expensive, and you're lucky to walk out of it unharmed.

So the weather and drugs conspired to keep us from helping the orphans the way we'd wanted to. We did get into Mexico that one day for an hour or so (and were totally safe, except for the driver trying to flatten the 30" heap of gravel in the middle of the road with the van) but it was just too dangerous to risk going any more often.

So what did we do the remainder of the week? The plan was to build a classroom for the school. It's a 24' square building with a few windows, a door and an AC unit. If our men could get it framed up in the week they were there, the school would be grateful. Our men framed, shingled, installed windows, door and AC unit, and started drywalling. It would have been completed had the missionary not decided that things were going so well that our guys could start another building. That one had the pad leveled, the floor done and a wall built before the missionary changed plans yet again. A bathroom needed installed on the soccer field. Rented equipment built up a 3' mound to elevate the facilities out of the flood plain and the site was leveled and readied for construction.

Our guys can get some work done. They make us proud.

The ladies? Shockingly, things on the mission field are much like they are at home. We spent most of our time in the kitchen either preparing for, making, or cleaning up after meals. A lot of other time was spent shopping for more food. We also managed to clean out the attic and storage room, organizing things and setting up for Vacation Bible School the following week.

Our close proximity to the border lent itself to a lot of fun shopping. The Mexican markets are awesome (so I hear) but were very unsafe to attend. There is a smaller market in South(er) Texas with cheap prices and fun finds, but the prices aren't nearly as negotiable. (Yes! One negotiates a price! That is a shopper's dream right there.) I scored a genuine Coach knockoff purse for $10, faux Coach sunglasses for Becky and I for $4 and $5 (different vendors), and some fun jewelry for $1/piece. The earrings, rings and bracelets were to die for, and the price was better than good. Oh, the fun.
So that was Texas/Mexico in a nutshell. We spent a day in San Antonio touring the Riverwalk and Alamo when we flew in, and an evening at South Padre Island before we flew out, and both were just amazing. But really, we were there doing the Lord's work, and it was wonderful being able to help.

I'd give up a Disney trip to go back again. God is that good.


JennyH said...

you're awesome!

Sounds exciting. Glad the guys got so much work done. The guys wouldn't be able to do it though without the women!

Trisha said...

God bless all of you for the work you did!

Trisha said...

God bless all of you for the work you did!

Roger said...

Did you give the kids any gobs? :-)

Teresa Dawn said...

That's so wonderful! What a great opportunity to work for the Lord

I can't say I've been to Mexico myself, but they came here last night for the International Fireworks Competition. A different country is featured different days and we went last night to see Mexico compete. They did such a good job... I just put up photos now. said...

Wow! That is so inspiring! And you are a brave lady! The ONLY thing wrong with your whole itinerary is that we didn't have time to meet up anywhere and have lunch! ;-)