So below the Israel post is one regarding where I am headed in a day or so, and for the 3 people who still read this blog, the whole thing might be tough to understand. There are those that knew me when anything with the word 'mission' in it had better be an old TV show, and there are those that may be wondering why Mexico, of all places, what's wrong with Coatesville…hey there Stone-dude, didn't we once see a post about charity starting at home?
First things first, I have grown up, and in the growing there have been a few changes. I hope that the inner core is still me, the me that loves people for who they are, the me my grade school classmates would remember with a book, or a helping hand for, well, whoever needed it. I would hope that the high school classmates would still see that guy that was too smart to be hanging around with that group, but sure didn't seem to get into as much trouble as they did, the guy that would, again, lend a hand. See a trend here? I like to help, if I have a skill and I can share it, I want to (this is the reason I can't own my own masonry business, I share too much and charge too little!) I firmly believe that charity begins at home, in our own communities, our own back-yards, therefore I have…nope, when I started to list I realized it read more like self promotion than what it is; it is my life (in the words of a pretty perceptive teenager). So I do give here at home and I see this as an extension of that. The youth who travel with us are the ones who will benefit from this trip, almost as much as the children in the orphanage and the church we will be working on. These are great kids; talented, creative, friendly, outgoing, and willing to work, they've proven themselves locally as well. What they are seeing are some parents that fully support them and are willing to spend a hard earned vacation to allow them to experience helping those in need.
I know, platitudes get me nowhere, need is so overused. I guess what I am saying is that what passes for need in Chester County PA isn't even close to what will pass as need in Bonfil, Mexico. We've been warned that it is different, that it will shock us, that we won't believe it, and still, when we get there and start working, I know that first night is going to be a chorus of "I didn't think it would be like this." And then we will persevere and learn, get to know some kids from another culture, give them a hand for a week (more importantly, supply the materials), and come home with a new perspective on what it means to need.
Why Mexico? That's easy, because it is the church our congregation helped start 15 or so years ago. Is that a cop out? No, that's the truth. Is it selfish to head to Mexico during what is being called drug cartel wars? In a way it is, but it is more selfish to not go, to allow this group to go without me, because they would. Self promotion again? No, one of the mysterious workings of this life we lead. The possibility was discussed between my son and I, bandied about, and then, and adult dropped out. I asked if they needed me and they said yes. The leaders headed down to set it all up and came back with a description of our job. "We will be laying these big block, mixing cement, and finishing the stucco roof," they told us. Did you read that? Laying block…I can do that, I have done that, and no one else on the team has, not one of them. Sure my son has mixed mud, you don't get to be a stonemason's 16 year old son and not mix a couple hundred batches, but he hasn't carried and laid block all day for a week, heck, even I haven't done that for a number of years.!
Oaky, I'll stop now, many may have skipped the middle anyway, we are going because Pedro, Genaro, Lorena, and several other young children might learn from Mike, David, Allie, Gel, and several other young adults. I expect the reverse will be more true, and I plan on watching both groups, so I can learn as well…and lend a hand.