Youth Group Mission Trip - House Construction Project

by L. Lake
(Salt Lake City, UT)

When I was in High School my youth group loaded into two fifteen-passenger vans and drove from Utah to Mexico to work on a mission project of building houses for families in need. I had participated in many mission projects during my junior and senior high years, and was very excited to be taking part in such a big project.

We stayed at a camping area that had been set up for all of the youth groups that were there to work for the mission agency that was in charge of the housing projects. I was not prepared to see the conditions of where the families were currently living. The houses the families lived in were not houses at all. The houses were one or two small rooms made from wood scraps, chicken wire, and cardboard. Several family members lived in each house, often including grandparents.

The family that we were building a house for were such wonderful people. The kids were anxious to learn about us and were also excited to teach us songs in Spanish and to play games. We had brought small gifts for the children such as candy and small toys. The mother cooked us lunch each day even though we pleaded with her not to use her food to feed us. The family did not have much to live on.

The father went to work each morning and the mother was so excited each day when he returned to show him what we had completed. The parents were both so thrilled to be able to pick where the window and door openings would be placed in the new home. The new "house" we were building was not really a house by American standards. We built two large rooms with a roof, but there were dirt floors and just openings for doors and windows, not actual doors or windows. Still the family was so humble to have a sturdy shelter to call home. I am so grateful to have had the experience of helping in such a big way.

The days were so hot I didn't know how I would survive the tough work required, but the joy of the children and the parents made it worth the effort. In the evenings we went back to the camping area and enjoyed the fellowship of the other youth groups. There were campfires and sing-a-longs. Many close friendships were formed. It was also exciting to go on a couple of excursions into the town to shop or to try local food.

I would recommend this experience to anyone. I know my life was forever changed by the opportunity to learn about other cultures and to witness true hardship that people face.

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