This post is also available in: Spanish
Every year after Christmas, students and adults from Mayer Lutheran High School in Mayer, Minnesota give of their time, talents, and treasures to serve the community of Anapra through construction projects and other activities. This year, the group of 56 continued their theme of sharing Jesus through their work and words. As has been the case for the past few years, the two primary projects were building 4 homes and entertaining the many children who would congregate at the job sites each day through craft projects, bible stories, games, and of course lots of shouting and laughter.
As the students debark from their 26 hour bus ride to our mission, you can already see the excitement of those who are returning and the anticipation of those who will be serving in Anapra for the first time. The question most often heard on this first day is not what time is breakfast, or when can we take a nap, but when are we going to Anapra? “I can’t wait to see my kids from last year” says one student. Another explains the picture frame and picture they made for them from last year, while the adults are excited to see how the families they have served in the past are getting along in their new homes.
As soon as the vans and trucks arrived at San Lucas to load materials for the new construction projects, familiar faces began to come out of homes around the church. Squeals of joy at recognizing old friends were quickly heard while hugs were given out around the church. Shortly, we had extra helpers loading materials, soccer games in the street and a game of tag around the church. What a great way to end a long bus ride experiencing such friendship and joy.
Over the course of the next 6 days, the lives of hundreds of people across Anapra would be impacted by this team from Mayer. Obviously the members of the families receiving four new homes, but also the numerous children told Bible stories and played with, the members of the community who saw the work being done, and even a customs worker as we crossed into Mexico who nearly broke down when he realized what was happening and thank the van full of people for all they did to help his community in Mexico.
Despite the barrier of Spanish to English, it is truly amazing to see how lives are touched and changed in everyone over the course of one short week. The smiles, shrieks of laughter, and emotions of everyone involved tell a far better story than words or pictures ever could.