February 17-20, 2023

MMOL President Laurie Van Dyke was able to help build a house in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, for a young family. 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, 2 of his grandkids and a grand son-in-law, and 3 of his great-grandkids.

Day 1, Friday

Twilight at the beach
dinner–muy delicioso!
This is pretty much how everyone on the team feels about getting back to the beach!


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

Day 2, Saturday

Circle up for prayer before the work begins

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 work site, we noticed it was in a new area that we had never built before. It was quite North of town, and we were amazed that the homeowners rented a port-a-potty for us that weekend! Usually, we just load up a couple of cars and drive to a gas station, but this time, we had facilities right there.

Preparing the form for the foundation–notice the port-a-potty in the background!
Cement mixing by hand!

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 saw 2×4’s and fit them together to form walls and roofing panels using hammers and nails.

It takes lots and lots of wheelbarrows to make enough cement for the foundation



About two-thirds of the way done with the foundation



Framing the walls in the middle of the desert!
While all the work was being done to mix and pour the foundation, another set of workers were framing the walls and roof, which are shown stacked up next to the foundation

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

After spending time cleaning up and walking on the beach, we headed to a condo where we had a fabulous spaghetti feast supplied by wonderful cooks who really took great care of us!

Day 3, Sunday

Getting ready to pray

Day 3 is usually the long day on these builds, but this year, it was actually shorter than Day 2!. 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.

Walls up first thing!

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.

Tar paper walls
The door and windows get installed, too.

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.

Lunch 🙂

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.

The new homeowner applying the first coat of 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.

We went back to our respective camps, cleaned up, and ate a fabulous pulled pork dinner with mac & cheese, provided again by our awesome chef team. 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.

Installing some curtains
Beautiful blue door plus a really cool stoop!

The work team this year was comprised of 20 adults and 5 kids. The family we served was very grateful for their new home and the housewarming gifts. We were grateful to be able to help them!

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!

Jack Hopkins progeny 🙂