18 Jan A Mission Trip to Mexico
Winston Churchill is credited for the quote, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” It is volunteers like Scott Mann who bring the words of this quote to life through his community outreach efforts partnered with his church and his service trips to Mexico.
“…we make a life by what we give.” It started with his involvement through Stonebridge Church. Scott enjoys working the coffee bar and cooking foods during holidays and fundraisers, but his impact broadened when he agreed to travel with 8 others on a mission trip to Mexico.
Puerto Penasco, Mexico is where the mission to hand-build a home led to a deeper personal growth and character mold for Scott.
“It’s tough to think this is the nicest these people will ever have,” explains Scott. We were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to sit down and meet with Scott over coffee and learn about his service trip to Mexico and how it personally impacted him.
A trip to Mexico occurs every year, twice a year through the Stonebridge Church, which is a program sponsored by Amore Ministries, based out of California. Each trip they select a family who is need of a new home built and they fundraise to supply the materials, tools, and food for volunteers.
The service trip began on Friday as the team flew into Phoenix, Arizona. The mission officially began at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday when they drove from Arizona to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, five hours South of the border. The first day for the construction team of volunteers is crucial because it lays the ground work for the rest of the trip. If the volunteers do not get the concrete slab pored and the 8’ footings secured, they will not finish the project in time. The trick is that all concrete must be mixed by hand. Day 2 is less stressful for the team as they focused their efforts on the first coat of stucco and putting up the chicken wire. Day 3 revolves around roof coatings and a second coat of stucco.
Scott revealed that one of the biggest challenges he faced on this trip was the smaller number of volunteers. Typically, the trip includes around 20 volunteers, however they were still grateful that a majority of their team of 8 had construction backgrounds.
The construction of a new house is only half of the journey for the volunteers. It’s both a personal and spiritual development. “It’s about the humble experience of serving,” explained Scott when asked why the house is built by hand. The other half of the journey is connecting with the family that you are serving. The team experienced a lot of interaction from the family as the two eldest boys helped to build their new home. The family consisted of 6 boys, ages ranging from 17 down to 2 years of age. The father and 2 eldest boys worked for a local tire store.
“There’s nothing exotic about the trip,” according to Scott. He explained their location was completely surrounded by a sand desert and the nights get pretty chilly in the upper 30’s. “Our house was the last one built. Building season is between March and November.” However, according to Scott, it’s worth it for the good food, J fun interactions with the family and spiritual development. Along with the development of a new home for the family, there is also a multi-night program of bible readings and discussions that build off each night. The volunteers took time to reflect each evening after the day of work to think about how this affected them personally to gain more introspective of why they were there.
The end result is a 11×22, 2-room structure with stucco walls. The “house” will be used for the 2 eldest boys to live in and build their families. “It really is amazing to see a family of 8 living in something that would be torn down here. It’s emotional because we’re just building them a shed. You almost feel guilty coming back to what you have. It’s amazing how much this does for you.”
The service trip to Mexico lasted from November 13th-18th and the volunteers spent the first and last day flying out. On the first day, they were setback with a 1-hour rain and sand storm and most of the team feared they wouldn’t be able to finish the home within their time limit. Scott explained how truly phenomenal and humbling it is to see the disparity of people’s lives, but yet they are so happy with what they have. “It’s humbling to see how people that far from us live. We are more than blessed to live how we live.”
Scott’s church, Stonebridge, became involved in this program through their minister who was originally from Phoenix, Arizona before he moved to Omaha. This was Scott’s second mission trip to Mexico and someday he hopes to take his wife and daughter along with him to experience the journey. “The church helps, but you pay most of your own way down, but it’s a small price to pay for the personal growth and the impact that’s made.”