44 people went on the trip this year. We built three houses and put a kitchen and bathroom on Peter's and Anna's house. To quote Dickens, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Ultimately, God, as always, blessed the trip. We finished the projects and returned safely.

First, the negative things:
  • One of the team members hurt her back and had to cancel on Thursday before we left.
  • The Tire:  We hadn't even left Colorado Springs when the right rear tire of the rental van blew. The sidewall disintegrated. We had to buy a new tire in Santa Fe. It wasn't so much the tire, but the time it took to change it and buy a new tire.
  • The van from Nebraska had a problem and the check engine light illuminated. We don't know what it was, becuse it went off and we had the code checked and there was no code. Again, not a big deal, but it took time.
  • We had to make several stops in the day and arrived five hours late in Flagstaff.
  • I forgot to buy the Mexico auto insurance before we left and bought it Flagstaff (on line). I misplaced the paperwork the next morning. We still don't know where it went.
  • When we arrived in Tecate, we discovered that some of the material was back ordered and would be delivered later that morning. It took longer and we didn't get started until the early afternoon and fell a half day behind.
  • Materials had to shuttled to and from the sites. Two sites were close and one was 26 minutes away.
  • Eduardo's, Lupita's and Isaac's house had a team there building part of their house and we had to adapt to that building.
  • Steve spent two days shuttling materials back and forth between sites causing delays in work. By Wednesday we were a full day behind.
  • Thursday morning, we got a call that someone broke into Eduardo's and Addy's house and stole materials and ladders. Steve had to go to Eduardo's and Lupita's house (26 minutes away) to grab some of their extra supplies to keep them working while Anna got the remainder of the supplies. The total cost of the supplies was $250. They also stole two ladders.
  • After the call about Eduardo's and Addy's house, we got a call from Dora, someone broke into the storage area and stole the sewing machines Betty and Steve brought down in November.
  • We finished the buildings on Thursday, but because they were so late, we had to do two dedications on Friday.
  • People were sick thoughout the week.
  • We left on Saturday morning and people continued to get sick. One poor soul threw up in the Avanlanche outside of Gila Bend.
  • On Sunday, the check engine light came on in the Avalanche. We're hoping it was an odd ball thing.
It seemed like nothing went right and it seems there was more thing about which to complain and to rejoice. Not so.

The positive things:
  • God provided almost $5,000 Saturday morning.
  • We arrived safely.
  • The bording crossing into Mexico almost miraculous. The did a cursory search and let us pass.
  • We had most of the material to start building the houses.
  • We had great ministry to the people in Mexico.
  • The people in Mexico were so grateful, they uplifted our group.
  • The VBS started slow, but grew by Thursday.
  • We brought down a "slush fund" (as Steve calls it) for emergencies and unseen expenses. That more than enough to cover the cost of the stolen materials.
  • Because of the need of the families, the dedications really touched the group.
  • We had safety while in Mexico.
  • Because of the changed building for Eduardo and Lupita, there was extra material to help cover the loss.
  • We did two church services.
  • The group came together, because of the adversity and produced unity.
  • The houses were finished.
  • The border crossing into the United States went quickly.
  • The check engine light on the Avalanche was simply bad spark plugs.
Utimately, the challenges brough unity. Yes, there was some stress over being behind and wondering if the houses would be done. The joy over the completion out weighed the stress of wondering.

All in all, I'm left with the words of Job (2:10) in response to his wife's question, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" Job said, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" Ephesias 5:20 says, "always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." and that reminds us to be thankful when supplies don't come, when plans unexpectantly change and when things go wrong. Romans 8:28 (all things work together for good...) means all things and we are thankful God will bless this work, those that did it and those who received it. "Blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21).