Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I saw what I saw

I spent last week in Juarez, Mexico with a group from the University of Illinois Springfield and Lincoln Land Community College. In 3 days, we built a home with Casas por Cristo for a strong woman named Alma and her 4 kids.

We built a home smaller than my garage.
We built a home with electricity, but with no sewer system in the area, there was no reason for us put in any plumbing.
We built a home in an area where taking out the trash means carrying it to the other side of the mountain and dumping it.
And to this family, it was live-changing.

We met neighborhood kids like Paco and Roberto and Vivian, playmates for my Sarah. Just like my children, they laughed and wanted to help, loved the attention from college students and had smiles that lit up a room. They adopted Sarah into their little clan and wandered through the trash-covered hills together, taught each other words in Spanish and English, and made up games with the tires, sticks, and trash they could find.

We saw what it looked like for someone to humbly and graciously accept the biggest material gift she would probably ever receive in her lifetime. And we were even more amazed when she sacrificed what must have been a week's wages in order to makes us the biggest pot of burritos I've ever seen in my life.

We saw a family changed forever. Kids no longer having to be sent off to live with family members, but mother and children all under one roof. I saw college students sacrifice their time with family, their money, and their comfort, out of their love for God and their desire to love others. We saw the injustice of poverty. We saw the unfairness of what it means to be born in a city like Juarez. We saw strength and perseverance and character from people who understand real life.

It's a trip I've done 6 other times, and every time I come back changed.

Well, at least for a little while.

Then I start getting consumed by things like my clothes dryer not working right, or needing to color my roots, or wanting a new phone. And before you know it, I'm back to living like I'm at the center of the universe.

But I saw what I saw and I can't forget it. I just can't.


The Williams Family Blog said...

love love love this video and your thoughts!

Erin said...

Thanks Gretchen.