In December 2020, a group of 12 people from Life Church, travelled to Reynosa, Mexico to build a home for a family living in the city dump. Below are pictures, stories and videos from the trip.
For someone committed to live life with a heart of servitude this trip was off the charts for me…As soon as we heard about the trip last year, my wife Laura and I started praying about it and I am so thankful that God had me go to Reynosa with the group. It was one of the most fulfilling and meaningful things I have ever done! Thank you Jesus!
– Doug Schwartz
Our team was incredible!!! God put together builders, helpers, painters, helps, organizers, etc. We had just the right amount of variety and the perfect number to show excellence in the task we went to do. I told the team that the house was the hook to allows us to Echo Jesus.
As the home was being built, we slowly tried to break the language and trust barriers (in Jesus name we need a Spanish speaker next time). The four walls went up, most of the boards were painted, kids came around, and our team began to come together. The next 2 days things got better as we just kept at it with work, translation phone apps, and goofing with the young ones who came around. The kids were slow to accept us at first but by the last 2 days they would just follow us everywhere and hug us and want our attention. So cool!
On day 2, I found a Bible with both English and Spanish written side by side. I thought I might ask to read with Enrique and Leslie. (Dad and mom) They said yes so I read verses and had Leslie read the same in Spanish. Enrique can barely read so she did the reading. We did that sitting on rock and a plastic tub in front of the house out by the road as our team did their awesomeness. We did this the next day also.
I felt that I should focus on Enrique, so we did a lot of labor clearing his lot of trash, sledgehammering large rocks dumped there, and leveling the front “yard”. So with the reading and working together, us two started to feel at ease and he saw we all really wanted to just be a blessing to them.
Day 4 was fun as this is “give it all away day” down there. The house was given the final touches. And when I say touches I mean an awning not called for, shelves built inside not called for, and extra paint not called for. The crew just kept working til the very last minute. They even shaved off nails up in the loft area so the kids wouldn’t get hurt. In those last 2+ hours I pulled aside Enrique and Leslie and had to force them to receive a couple few hundred in cash. A short time after, they got stocked up with tons of food, table and chairs, cookware, a clock, bedding for 7, clothes for 7, etc. The team added to the Life Church offering and completely blew the family away. Ten minutes later, Roland’s team dropped off a used tv for them. The blessings were coming to them in waves. Their extended family was around by then as well as some neighbors. It was a party.
We dedicated the house with an interpreter. I told our team to say anything they wanted. All of us were inside the house at this point and we handed the keys to the house to the family. There were tears as we all prayed with them. Just so neat!!! Most of us went outside and we waited to depart and say goodbye.
A personal highlight for me came soon after dedicating the house. The two chairs we got them were outside the front door and I had a thought to wash the feet of Enrique and Leslie. Usually I have a zillion thoughts running through my head but not at that moment! Instantly it felt like slow motion. Total sweet peace and love as I asked Leslie to sit. She had no idea. Nobody did. But I just so happened to have my water bottle and began to remove her sandal. She kinda gasped and said “no, no, no”. I never looked up, asked for a wet wipe which someone just happened to have right there. I washed her feet and wiped them. The holy ghost was there. It was an emotion hard to describe. I heard some crying behind me and I learned it was leslie’s sister who was watching with others. I put her flip flop sandals back on and turned to motion to Enrique. We repeated the washing with my bottle and a wet wipe for each of his feet.
Here is the kicker …..I hate feet !!!! They are gross. I don’t even touch my wife’s feet. Told her no a dozen times when asked to massage them. That was a God moment for sure. I testify of his presence in doing something so far from my comfort zone!
I could go on and on but will stop here. I feel God was with us the whole trip. We experienced wonders, and our life church people were outstanding. Everyone had a blast and we can’t wait to go again!!