The soup kitchen down the block from Oasis Boys Home serves food on Fridays and we had a great experience going there to do crafts with the kids. Every year this is a fun experience where we get to meet and serve the local neighbors. on the last trip we were fortunate enough to have the soup kitchen as a work site where we painted a flower mural on the inside wall. It was very inspiring to see the work from a previous trip still being a bright light in a building that does so much good.
Our afternoon was filled with buckets of paint. We went to the public school that most of the boys attend and painted a large portion of the outside walls that were faded and in need of a makeover. We got to work along side some of the people that work at the school which was a great experience.
The church we attend on Wednesday has a youth program that met tonight and invited us to attend. We went out after dinner to the youth group and Zack delivered the message to all in attendance.
A word from Dave (6th trip to Mexico):
It is interesting how things change over time. The week of Thanksgiving always used to mean staying home, eating a huge turkey dinner, and spending time with family and friends. Many years ago my expectations of Thanksgiving week began to change. The first time I came to San Luis over Thanksgiving I had my entire family with me and we had a great time. We began to look forward to spending Thanksgiving in Mexico every other year. Over the years my family has changed. God has blessed me with two wonderful daughters-in-law and two fantastic granddaughters. This year, even though one son and my wife are here, more of my family is in Pittsburgh this weekend than with me in Mexico. And yet I still really looked forward to being at Oasis Boys Home for Thanksgiving.
You see, what has changed over time is that feel like I am home spending my Thanksgiving week with family and friends here in Mexico. As soon as our group crossed the border around midnight into Mexico I got the same feeling as if I were going home for the holidays. When we turned right onto Calle 26 I knew we were getting close. A left onto Jazmin Street meant we were only a few blocks from the turn into the driveway where lights were left on for us to find our way into the rooms where we would be staying. When I threw my suitcase onto my bunk I felt like I was home even though I knew that I would miss my family in Pittsburgh.
The trip has been fantastic so far and today was just another example of what it is like to be home. My good friend and brother, Adalberto, shared his testimony with our group just after breakfast. Some in our group had never heard it before, others, like myself, had. We shared tears of joy with him as he told us of the wonderful ways in which God had worked and is still working in his life. And when he was done we all gathered around him to lay hands on him and pray.
After that we walked to the Soup Kitchen where we played with the neighborhood children. It was like being at a family reunion with all the kids running and playing together. They drew on the playground with chalk and then had a lesson on the transforming power of God by drawing caterpillars and butterflies with their chalk. Then they made butterflies by drawing on coffee filters with magic markers, then clipping them with clothes pins before spraying them with water to mix and blend the colors into beautiful patterns. We then gave them some candy, said our good-byes and went our separate ways because we had some home repairs to do.
Our home repairs were to paint some walls at the school where the boys from Oasis attend. We enjoyed working alongside our brother Marcelo. He is the guy in the family that coordinates all the work projects. As usual, Marcelo, had everything we needed to get the project done just like all the other ones he planned for us earlier in the week. From there we went back home to have a fantastic home cooked meal of chicken mole, refried beans, rice, tortillas, and flan for dessert. Just like mom used to make, well not really but just like Isabel makes.
That great meal was all the fuel we needed to go to the youth group where Zack shared a message with the young adults in attendance. Then back home again to spend more time with our little brothers at Oasis. It feels good to be so at home here in Mexico but I guess we can be at home anywhere and with anyone as long as the people we are with are all children of God.