Yesterday was our final work day here in Ensenada: dedication day. But before we could get to the dedication, there were a few finishing touches we needed to add to the house.
We got a bit of an earlier start to our day and headed to Walmart to pick up some small things to decorate the house and bless the family: curtain rods, curtains, dishes, utensils, etc. Then we headed to our job site to touch up all the painting, add a counter to the kitchen, decorate the home, and clean-up.
By 12 noon the YUGO staff (translator, photographers/videographers) had arrived along with Pastor Nicolas and various family members and friends. As our translator prepped us for the time of dedication, Andres and Rosa could be seen in the distance walking to our home from her aunt’s house a few blocks away, carrying boxes of food for our celebration afterwards. Taylor and Kyle ran up the hill to help them, our translator locked the door, and we all formed a circle in front of the house.
What transpired next is near impossible to capture in words. Our translator handed the key to the house to Brady and he kicked-off our time of sharing. When he finished speaking he handed the key to Dan, then Dan to Kayla, Kayla to Ricardo and so on and so forth. Each of us spoke to the family words that we had either written down or we had been thinking about for the last day or so. Each of us spoke to the family words from our own minds and our own hearts, but it was amazing to see similar themes cropping up in our statements. Words of thanksgiving–both to God, but also to the couple for allowing us to have the privilege of serving them. Words of affirmation–affirming this couple as a part of our team, as a part of our family despite the linguistic, cultural, and geographical differences between us. And words of hope. Hope that this house would be a blessing to the family. Hope that this house would be a place of security for the family. Hope that this house would be a place of salvation for little Andrea. Hope that this house would be a place of ministry and a light in their community.
After each of us spoke, we handed the key to Andres and Rosa. They both expressed their gratitude to God and to us and then we all stepped back and allowed them to step into their new (and complete) house for the first time. They quickly invited us into the home to enjoy their moment and with tears in our eyes and smiles across our faces we joined together as Pastor Nicolas prayed a final prayer of dedication for the family and the home. (You can watch a video of highlights from all the dedication ceremonies from the week here.)
The rest of the day was truly a time of celebration. Andres and Rosa served us a delicious meal of rice, cactus salad, fried chicken, and fresh tortillas. Then after Taylor and Kyle finished their third helping, we said our final goodbyes and loaded into the van to head to the beach until dinner time. After two hours at the beach, we made a quick run to the ice cream shop and arrived back at Yugo in time for dinner and our closing chapel.
At the end of the day there were so many thoughts and emotions running through each of us, but it seemed like the big lesson from our final work day was that this final day of work was really the start of so many things. It was the start of a new life for Andres, Rosa, and Andrea in their own home–a home they have been waiting more than a year for. It was their first meal in their new home and their first time showing hospitality in their new home. It would be their first night tucking their little girl into her new bed (although, she got a bit of a head start during lunch), getting on their knees at her bedside to pray over her, and laying down on their own new bed and falling asleep together.
But at the end of the day, we know that this brand new house will eventually crumble and fade, but our prayer and our hope is that today would mark the start of this precious family building something far more durable and far more lasting. Our prayer and hope is that today would mark the start of this precious family building their marriage and their lives together upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. Our prayer is the prayer that Pastor Nicolas prayed for them: that Andres would lead his family to say on this day and for as long as he in on this earth, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).