First trip of 2009 a success

January 2009 Trip Summary
There were a total of 18 of us on the trip.

St. Joseph's
Everyone seems to be doing well. The children were bright eyed and thrilled to have our large group there to play with them. Sr. Monserrat is more relaxed each time we go down , and loved the hearty appetites of our group!

The only job we did there was to repair a leak from the girls' shower. We'll need to repair some sheetrock on the next trip, and the whole dorm area needs a good coat of paint.

We had the kids do a craft project that we can auction at the Crab Feast. It was chaotic and tons of fun, and the kids liked it. Bid high when you see them!

The Trip
We borrowed two vehicles, a suburban from Terri, and Jim Paxton's truck. Both worked really well for our purposes. We did blow a tire on the 'burb in the middle of Nevada, but thanks to Bill and Scott Henscheid, it was fixed quickly and didn't delay us much. We opted not to replace the tire in Las Vegas since the spare was a "real" tire, and the spares for all other vehicles were the same size.

Marvin got a little boo boo on his truck pulling into the driveway (and another vehicle) at Cuki's. Once again, Scott came to our rescue and found the parts needed to repair it and got the truck in for an alignment. Manuel Castro helped him, and it went more smoothly than we ever could have hoped.

Verdad y Vida
We finished the tiling job in the nuns' sleeping quarters, and Sr. Veronica showed us a bunch of other jobs needing done; mostly tiling. Marvin headed up the crew there, and had 4 people working there most of the week.

Cuki says that donations are drying up and far fewer groups are coming down to help out.

Hacienda de la Inmaculada
First, the bad news; Srs. Lily and Berneice left the week before, saying it was too difficult. George says that there are 2 Mennonite missionaries who spent a year there awhile ago who are interested in possibly coming back. The toddlers have been released into the general population, and I'm not sure how they will fare. There were some kids playing with toys occasionally, but we saw lots of games (in English!) with parts everywhere and the kids having no idea how to play anything - and no one to show them how. I witnessed the most interesting game of chess I've ever seen!

Our presumed job there changed on Sunday when we went to look things over. Instead of starting on a nursery expansion, Madre wanted us to build more shelves - lots of shelves - some like the ones we built in October, and some with doors that could be locked.
We built 6 sets of shelves for the boys' clothing room, 3 tall shelves with doors for the large entry hall, and put about 8 sets of doors on shelves by the back exit to the laundry area. Naturally, all needed painting, so if people didn't have another job, they were kept busy painting.
They would like us to repeat the shelves on the girls' side in March.

One of the things that Julietta (probably Madre's first officer) loved the most is that we purchased padlocks keyed the same for all the doors we built. They have tons of padlocks in the place and they all need different keys, so she was thrilled.

We also painted the second room of the boys' dorm, installed a light and fan, safely capped off expose wires, and fixed the entry doorway to it.

The beds in the other boys' dorm room are bolted to the floor and walls, so we decided we should wait until the new beds are installed before painting in there. The bunk beds and bedding should all be in by the end of the month, and George has a crew ready to do down and help put it all together. I'm sure he'll send pictures.

Safety
We didn't have any problems other than overtaking a group of Federales ,who stopped right in front of us to arrest someone. Naturally, Rusty remained calm and in control while Manuel and I debated diving to the floor of the truck while emitting a few girly shrieks.

George got 4 prepaid cell phones for us that we picked up at the Hacienda. They were absolutely invaluable, and while we didn't use them for safety reasons, they really saved us a lot of time when getting materials.

Ripples
We hope we started several ripples of aid in Tijuana on this trip. The high school students weren't back in school yet, so we took Griselda ( Olga's goddaughter, who goes by 'Grees') to work with us for 2 days. She was very moved by what she saw, and wants to get her youth group involved at the Hacienda. Manuel Castro also came with us a couple of days, and also wants his youth group to get involved. He wasn't aware that places like that existed in Tijuana. Dr. Moses Castro also came to the Hacienda one day and examined several of the children and prescribed meds. Moses wants to go back there to work again! Also, although I didn't talk to him, Theresa said that Alejandro, who works with a TV station, wants to put out public service announcements in Tijuana asking for aid for the Hacienda. I gave him the contact information.
Theresa and Cuki had a wonderful dinner and fiesta for us on Friday night in Cuki's carport and patio. We had an excellent dinner and a little dancing, which Theresa and Manuel led.


New Construction Coordinator!!!
We are thrilled and optimistic that we have someone who not only was excellent at leading the Hacienda construction crew, but is very interested in continuing to make trips to Tijuana. This is such a gift to us - he's outstanding, both as a carpenter and as an individual and it will be a huge relief for Marvin. More on this later when we have had a chance to follow up.


Thanks to all the prayers offered for us, we had good roads there and back, and a really great week, with only minimal bumps and cuts. Thank you for all the prayer support!

Deb