THE EYES HAVE IT – On a Mission – to Tijuana!

Mission trips may take you to interesting or exotic locations, but the purpose is not a vacation. Instead, mission trips involve work and provide a tangible difference in the life of an individual, a family, or an entire community.

I had the opportunity to take such a trip recently, to Tijuana, to build a house in, believe it or not, two days!

80 volunteers from Greenwood Community Church in Greenwood Village flew to San Diego, then rode a bus across the Southern border to Tijuana.

The project is facilitated by a Christian ministry called Homes of Hope, which builds homes around the world. They are part of a larger ministry called Youth with a Mission. 

We built a home for a poor family, parents in their mid 20s with two young children. They had previously been living in a shack with a tarp for a roof that leaked when it rained. 

The poverty is Tijuana is truly remarkable, with many families living on $25 a day, not enough to ever save enough to build or own a home. Eligible families apply through Homes of Hope and are hopefully blessed with a new home.

After two years our family was approved and received one of the homes built during our mission weekend. The church sent four teams of 20, meaning four homes built by our group. Participants ranged in age from kids below 10 to seniors in their mid 80s, each working on some aspect of building.

The teams were each lead by an experienced builder who, like an orchestra conductor, was able to get everyone working and contributing. Some used power tools, some hammered nails, some painted.

We started with a 16 by 20-foot slab of concrete and a pile of building materials. We built and erected walls, put on a roof with shingles, hung drywall, applied trim, and painted it all. There were lights and a ceiling fan, waiting for the home to be hooked into local electricity. 

The home had two small bedrooms and a kitchen dining room combo. The entire home was the size of many American family rooms. We decorated inside and out, and we all brought toys for the children and household items for the family.

We even built a chicken coup behind the house and furnished it with three residents.  

While we put finishing touches on the house, several in our group took the family to Walmart for a $500 shopping spree for food and other essentials.

We prayed for the family and blessed the house. Tears flowed from all eyes, especially the family whose life had been changed by moving from a shack to a real home, with a locking door and  protection from the outside world.

I was joined by Ellen and her oldest son, as well as my two oldest children. Everyone worked hard at a variety of jobs and found the experience life changing. We dedicated the house to the memory of my dear departed Shirley who would have loved to be part of such a project.

Our mission was to make a difference in one family’s life, and that we did. We did a good thing and had fun doing it.

Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” We were all blessed during that weekend, not just our young Mexican Family with a new home.

This trip will occur again next November. If anyone is interested in participating, please reach out to me or Greenwood Community Church. It was a wonderful experience, and a reminder of how good our lives are compared to many in the world.