What an incredibly full and an incredibly fulfilling day!
Today was our last full day in Ensenada and was, perhaps, the most unique day of the week. After our morning routine, we all headed to our respective work sites. Our particular group and one other group had the privilege of finishing up the house that we have been building all week for the De La Cruz family. We spent the first half of the day preparing furniture, painting and touching up the interior of the house, adding trim to the windows and doors, and working on the electrical. Gone are the days of heavy lifting, raising up beams, and installing dry wall; in their place were the finer details of putting the finishing touches on a home for a family.
After lunch, there were a few final things to take care, but our main goal was to make the house and the immediate surroundings as presentable as possible. We picked up as many nails, screws, staples, pieces of wood, roofing, and dry wall as we could. We put the beds, tables, and chairs in their respective rooms. We added mattresses, sheets, curtains, cooking and eating utensils, food, and of course, a welcome mat. And we were joined by the rest of our team.
When the house was finished we shifted gears to the presentation ceremony. A few additional Yugo staff members arrived at our job site to film the ceremony and help with translation. With all of us waiting around the house the family, a husband and wife and three young children, climbed their way up that hill we have traversed so many times over the week. Each of the seniors from the Hope Community Church youth group had an opportunity to share a few words of dedication to the family. This culminated in some words from Pastor Aaron and a response by the husband and wife. Then, with all of us watching on, Pastor Aaron handed the keys to the house to the couple, they unlocked the front door, and walked into their new home for the first time. After giving them a few minutes to take in their new home, we began to file into the house one-by-one to give them hugs and kisses, sharing in their tears, sharing in their affection, and sharing in their joy.
I won’t pretend to know exactly what these dear people were feeling in this moment because I have never been through anything quite like this. But, I can imagine. I can imagine, as a husband and a father, thinking about the safety and security this home would provide the wife and children I have been called by God to protect. I can imagine, looking at the kitchen table and chairs and thinking about sharing, not just meals, but life with one another. I can imagine us, as a family, standing up around the table, holding hands and crying out to the Lord as family in prayer and lifting up our voices with one another in praise. I can imagine peaking behind the curtain of the children’s room and envisioning that bunk bed filled with chattering, laughing, and joyful children. I can imagine the bed I would share with my wife, lying down on that bed after a long day of hard work, and praying quietly with one another for each of our children before drifting off to sleep. My greatest hope is that this house and the outpouring of love witnessed by this husband, who is not yet a Christian, would bring this man to the greatest gift in the universe–not a new home, but the hope of a future and forever home through the Gospel.
After the dedication ceremony, we headed back to Yugo to clean up and then it was back out again for a dinner of fish tacos at the home of one of the members of Pastor Fidel’s church. But this wasn’t just any dinner. This was a celebration. Pastor Fidel and his family were present. The De La Cruz family was present. And many other brothers and sisters from Pastor Fidel’s church joined as as well. We sat around three long tables, our plates filled high with the most delicious fish tacos we have ever tasted, talking, laughing, and enjoying the bond we have with one another in Christ. Taylor was a particular source of joy for the ladies preparing the tacos as he ate his way through seven fish tacos, the most of anyone on our team!
Finally, after our tummies and our hearts were filled to the brim, we drove back to Yugo for one last evening chapel. We sang, we watched a video from the day, we were encouraged by the Word of God, and we were challenged to take what we have experienced and learned and live it out back home. What a day.