February 18-21, 2022

MMOL President Laurie Van Dyke was able to help build a house in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, for a family with 3 children. This mission project was in conjunction with Amor Ministries and Emmanuel Presbyterian Church. This annual trip was close to MMOL founder Jack Hopkins’ heart, and he participated in over 10 builds over the last years of his life. He was probably the oldest participant a few of those years! This year, his legacy was represented by 1 of his kids and a son-in-law, 1 of his grandkids and her husband, and 3 of his great-grandkids.

Day 1, Friday

Nothing gets built on Friday. The team meets, loads up with tools, wheelbarrows, food, and people. After traveling South to Puerto Penasco, some team members stay at a campground adjacent to Playa Bonita, some stay in close-by hotels and condos. Friday evening, we had a beautiful meal sitting outdoors at a nearby restaurant.

Part of the camping set up
Campfire at night
Campfire at night

Day 2, Saturday

The built-up platform for the new home with the old home in the background.

The work began today. We met at the campground to have breakfast, coffee, and prayer to ready us for the day. After caravanning to the worksite, we saw a narrow plot of land that was lower than the lots around it, and the family had been fighting flooding in their current home. They had built up a section of their lot for their Amor house by packing down huge chunks of cement and filling in with fill dirt. This was a challenge for rolling up the wheelbarrows full of cement for the foundation and later, full of stucco for the walls. But we managed just fine.

Day 2 is the day we do site prep, foundation pouring, wall building, and roofing panel building. No power tools are used in these builds, so cement for the foundation gets mixed in wheelbarrows by the hardworking “cement-heads,” then wheeled over to the foundation form for tamping and screeding. While all that is being done, another set of workers start sawing 2×4’s and fitting them together to form walls and roofing panels using hammers and nails.

 

Foundation form built and the first wheelbarrows full of cement are being dumped.
Cardio!
More cardio!
Nice looking crew on the other side of the screed board!
It takes a LOT of wheelbarrows full of cement for the foundation! Plus you can see the walls being put together on the street.
And it was a beautiful day to be working outside!!
Done!! Well, almost.

We had lunch at the worksite. We were thankful for sandwiches, chips, and fruit. We also supplemented our caloric needs with homemade cookies and brownies from EPC bakers. Many thanks to Jereme for taking care of our lunches!!

Lunch in a wheelbarrow!
Lunch in the shade of a truck!
Lunch hanging out by a truck!
Walls being built on the road
Won’t be long before little workers like this turn into…
adults who have a heart for mission!

At the end of the day, the cement foundation was complete, and roof panels and walls were stacked in a corner ready to put up the next day.

Here’s a video that we recorded at the end of day 1:

 

 


After spending time cleaning up and walking on the beach, we headed to a condo where we had a fabulous spaghetti feast supplied by Brenda, Jennifer, and Gary. After, campers went back to a campfire. What a way to end a hard day!

Day 3, Sunday

Day 3 is usually the long day on these builds. After breakfast, prayer, and caravanning to the site, we prayed at the site for God’s blessing on the work we were to do that day.

Putting the walls together

 

We put up the wall sections, got them plumb and true, slid on the two roof panels, and nailed everything together.

The roofing crew climbed up with 6×8 plywood panels, nailed them to the structure below, and put on a membrane with white roofing paint.

Roofing crew
Putting on the baling wire

While the roofing crew was roofing, down below the walls were wrapped in baling wire, which was then tightened in a chevron pattern. Tar paper was stapled over the tight baling wire with the openings for the windows and doors cut out.

Chicken wire

On top of the tar paper, we hung chicken wire, again taking efforts to get everything as tight as possible, so that there would be a good surface for applying the stucco.

Another crew had to screen all the rocks out of the aggregate, so that we had fine sand for the stucco mix. Then the “cement heads” on the mixing crew got back to the wheelbarrows to hand mix the sand, concrete, and water for the first coat of stucco. Finally, we troweled on the first coat of stucco.

First stucco applied!
All done with the scratch coat!

We finished way earlier than usual because the homeowner Angel, family and friends helped out. It was like having the A-team come in–they knew what they were doing with stucco!

Sporting the sunglasses!
Playing in the ocean
Pure joy!
As Brenda says, no one in our group goes hungry 🙂
Our dinner team–many thanks!!

We went back to our respective camps, cleaned up, and ate a fabulous pulled pork dinner with mac & cheese, provided again by Brenda, Jennifer and Gary. We spent a little time after dinner talking about what the trip meant to us.  It was nice to hear from people who had done this trip many times before and also from first-timers. Then back to camp, campfire, sleep!!

Day 4, Monday

We broke camp, ate breakfast, drank coffee, prayed, and headed to the worksite one last time. Today the only thing left to do was a final coat of roofing paint and a final coat of stucco.

   

The work team this year was comprised of 17 adults and 5 kids. The family we served was very grateful for their new home and the house-warming gifts. We were grateful to be able to help them!

Here’s a collage of some more pics.

Because we are servants to missionaries serving in some extreme conditions, it’s great for us to get out of our comfort zone every once in a while. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve with such an incredible group of people from EPC, their family and friends, and Amor Ministries. Soli Deo Gloria!

Emmanuel from Amor Ministries and Laurie Van Dyke from MMOL
In loving memory to the ones who have gone before: Dan Schoffelman, Sam Giaconne, Ray Martinez, and Jack Hopkins. We missed each of you so much!