Pouring Foundations and Building Relationships
This summer the Winkler EMMC had the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Queretero, Mexico June 30 to July 10, 2023. All together we were a group of 20 youth and leaders. Here in Winkler we have a lot of connections to this area of Mexico and in particular this network of children’s homes known as “Children of Hope”. Knowing all the connections that we had down there already, it was an easy decision that we would go there and serve in whatever way we could.
Leading up to the trip, there was lots of fundraising! Sales fundraisers were done along with our large meal auction fundraiser. This fundraiser involves gathering offers of meals (to be hosted at a later date) and then those meals are auctioned off on a per plate basis. We have always had Auctioneer Bill Klassen out to do the auction. We are honored to have been one of his last auctions, as he passed away very unexpectedly July 24. Through these fundraisers we received very generous support and were able to come up with all the funds that were needed for the trip.
We as a team met regularly throughout the year. The purpose of these meetings was to build team comradery, discuss details of the trip and of fundraisers, train the team on what to expect, pray for the trip, for the team and for the people in Mexico.
We made it down to Queretero, MX late on June 30. Our travels there were not without unplanned adventures. A wallet was lost in the Toronto airport, and then the same leader’s suitcase didn’t make the flight from Toronto to Mexico. Once that was sorted out, we got to the bus station where we waited for much longer than anticipated for a bus ride to Queretero. The end result being that we pulled an all-nighter and made it to Esperanza Para Ti just in time for breakfast on July 1. The wait for the bus was not so bad though, because we found our first taste of Mexican tacos.
The children’s home we worked at was called “Esperanza Para Ti” and they are part of the Children of Hope network of homes. Currently they are a less established home site and as such, there is no shortage of work to be done.
We got to be a part of a large housing expansion that they are working on. This will increase their ability to house more kids, but also to give the kids more appropriate amounts of space to call their own, and more bathroom facilities as well. We were working on the first level, as this project is in the early stages. Most of our work was in forming and pouring beams, forming and pouring pads, backfilling sections, and sealing walls.
Most memorably our team showed their Mennonite work ethics on our first and last days. On the first day, with anywhere from 0 to 3 hours of sleep we got right to work pouring a concrete pad. On the last day, trying to squeeze in as much as possible, we poured a lot of concrete ending with pouring a pad in half the time that the crew leaders expected as we raced to finish it before the rain and before we left.
Of course, we also had the opportunity to build relationships with the staff and kids at Esperanza. We regularly had the opportunity to hang out with the kids in the evening, learning names, playing games, and establishing relationships with them. The depth of these relationships was on display as we left with hugs and tears abounding, showing the depth of relationship that was established in such a short time.
We are grateful for the opportunity we had to serve down there and hope to get back there again.
This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 60 No 5