We have been building houses in Mexico (Nuevo Laredo) for about six years now. A prayer and desire that I have had for some time now was to come up with a plan for a user friendly house that could be easily constructed by people who want to experience the great commission in a foreign country. A house that would keep its strength and quality but also be easy to put together. Many times we have church groups that would like to build a house but may not have anyone on their team with construction knowledge. GMSM has always supplied this construction knowledge by me leading the teams in the home building process. Something I really enjoy and something that God has called me to do.
Another part of this vision has been the desire to help people feel more involved in the home construction process for these beautiful people that we minister to. Praise God, after several years of dead ends, God put Craig Harrison in my life. Craig is a products designer who owns a company called L- Wood Manufactures in Gulf Breeze, FL. Craig approached me one day with a design and new technique for constructing a small home that he thought would help us out in the field. I looked at it and said lets give it a shot! He cut out the parts for the homes on a C&C router, we loaded them up on the trailer and took I took off to Mexico with two packaged homes. I won’t let Craig off this easy; I spent many hours helping him prepare these homes for transport.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I apologize to our readers, Preston Trails Church and God our true Father for being so lame about getting this report out.
I make no excuse other than I was burned out beyond belief after making the 17 hour one way drive twice by myself. With fires waiting to be put out here in Florida upon my return, I decided to wait until I had some quality time to devote to the wonderful work that was done through the grace of God and the team from Frisco, Texas.
Taylor White the team leader of the Preston Trails group, whom I have had countless conversations over the last two months, is a solid dude who loves the Lord and has a passion for kingdom expansion was informed that his group would be the “lab rats” for this new design. Preston Trails provided the funds for the two homes that were built. Craig described his new way as “faster and easier construction”.
Once I started the long drive by myself I had plenty of God time which I used and maybe even over used, though I don’t think God minded. All I could say was “God these are your houses. If it is your will that these homes go up in the short amount of time (2 days) that Preston Trails Church is down here for, then I pray that Your will be done.” I am a carpenter and was never good at puzzles and that is basically what these homes were.
After the long haul, God put me in Laredo, Texas where I was met by two of my best ministry bros, Pastor Felipe and Jose Martinez. We made a few stops in Laredo and took off for the border town of Nuevo Laredo. Praise God we had no major problems getting across the border. With a trailer overloaded with house parts, no sleep, me the gringo driving, a national (Felipe) as the passenger and Jose pulling up the rear for support, we looked like a band of gypsies. We were not very incognito. We did get pulled over which was no surprise to me and were fortunate to only pay a small duty tax.
All was good and we proceeded on to Casa Hogar Elim orphanage. That was to be our watering hole for the next few days, and a place that I have logged much time at. The Frisco team arrived the next day around 10 a.m. They had a group of about 30 or so men and women who worked on maintenance at the orphanage and the boy’s dorm. They also had a crew to visit the colonias with me and build two houses in a day and half. A task that up until a few days ago seemed absolutely impossible. Did I fail to mention that this project was bathed in prayer by all parties involved and by some who were not involved?
After a good night sleep and OXXO coffee, a must for this gringo, Jose and I met Felipe and his son Nathaniel out at the first job site to start work on the floor of the new home and other preliminaries to help expedite the project once the team arrived. The conditions were muddy because of all the rain that had taken place over the last few days and rain was also forecasted for the next three days. As soon as I pulled up to the house site, the truck sank in the mud with the mud half way up the trailer tires. Just like I planned. Not to worry, we were not going anywhere anytime soon; we had a house to build.
The two homes we were building were for two young families. Two brothers, Angel and Milton Jimenez and their wives Valleria and Lupita, who has a small son. We never had the chance to meet the husbands. Praise God they were working both days we were there. That was a huge blessing in itself since work is a hard thing to come by out in the colonias.
Jose and I started the floor system while Felipe and Nathaniel started to unload the parts for the first house. I got the call from Taylor that the group had arrived and was ready to rock and roll. I drove over to the orphanage to pick them up and brought them out to site #1. What a great group of men God had assembled for these projects. Out of the two days of working together I did not experience any negativity or mutiny by any of these 15 or so men. They were patient with me as I figured out the puzzle and organized the men as best I could. There hearts were right and attitudes were clear with the common purpose of reaching the final result. A safe secure shelter for a family in need to call their own. Once we started rolling the house took shape quicker than I possibly imagined. The pieces fit almost perfectly and the walls were stood up in no time.
The men worked in harmony as the parts of the home found their proper place. This size home, 12×20, generally takes about 3 ½ days to build and with the prefab parts it seemed to make sense to the guys on how it went together. Hey, this was the first time for me too, so it was a challenge to all. I am all about taking a package of lumber and doing all the measuring, cutting etc. and making it work. This was very cool in the fact that it went together well and all were involved in the process of making it happen. We got about ¾’s of the first house done in a half day. The next day we split up. I took about four or five guys with me to finish up house one while the rest of the group plus a handful more from the orphanage and Jose went to house number two to get started. God was so all over this stuff. Not only did He hold back the rain, He allowed us to complete the house projects with time to spare. We finished house one and went to the other house and these guys were getting it on. With the large crew now having some experience under their belt they had it down. Our crew jumped in and before the sun set we had another fine home completed. I did little to nothing on the second house. Praise God from whom all blessings flow, He allowed us to be a small part of His huge plan. Christian teamwork was the key. I think everyone knew that this was not about us, but about God and the love of Jesus in us that put all this together. I wonder so many times why God has chosen someone like me to help accomplish His work. I truly know I am not worthy and pray I never feel worthy.
The best was yet to come, the house dedication ceremony complete with scripture, prayer, house warming gifts and the keys to the house. As everyone gathered for the ceremony I could see the look in the eyes of the mission team knowing the impact that this home will have on Valleria, her family and the witness it provides. It is always so humbling and emotional for me, knowing that God has put these folks in our lives for a reason. A reason that I sometimes have a hard time explaining to a lot of people. I think God allows us to do these things so that we to can be ministered to, by the showing of His grace and mercy. It helps me to never forget the grace and mercy He has for a kook like me.
After all this we were rewarded to a killer meal at Pollo Buenavista, the best chicken place in the world. What was even cooler was that Preston Trails Church paid for it! The team left early the next morning. I stayed one more day and was able to spend the day with Felipe and his family. We went to church, had lunch and had the other house dedication ceremony for Lupita and her little son. Props to Preston Trails Church for their obedience to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With a little improvement here and there I think this new system has great potential. Thank you to all who labored and made this possible.