Most Viewed Stories
Seventeen Yumans recently spent a long weekend helping build a house for a family in Sonora, Mexico.
The group was made up of members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Yuma and various local churches, plus several other volunteers.
The group built a house for a family of six in Puerto Penasco. They started planning their trip, partnered with Amor Ministries based in San Diego, about six months ago, said mission trip coordinator Petra Orta.
Seeing the family's reaction when the home was complete was the best part, said 12-year-old Zach Kircher of Yuma. Kircher said the family appreciated it very much.
"It was a life-changing experience for me," he said.
Kircher said it was also amazing to see just how much materials and goods they had compared to the people they were helping. And he said it pointed out just how much goods and materials people sometimes waste.
"We have all this stuff, and they have just a little," he said.
Group member Eleanor Tilley, who attends Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, said a lot of the group's members had a "coming to Jesus moment."
"It's just you learn so much about yourself when you're building something for someone else," Tilley said.
This wasn't the first mission trip for Tilley. She said when she found out members of St. Paul's were organizing it, she was right on board.
The group raised the $4,100 needed to sponsor the house through fundraisers and donations from St. Paul's, which allocates 10 percent of its budget toward community projects such as this.
Part of the money came from creative fundraisers, such as an enchilada drive-though dinner, a yard sale and a potato bar, where members held a baked potato dinner pot-luck style with all the toppings.
Tilley said the home building experience wasn't just a good experience for the volunteers. Tilley said it was also a good experience for the family, who also helped build their home.
"That really meant a lot to us," said Father Michael Todd, St. Paul's assistant rector and youth minister. "It was neat to have them so appreciative and helpful."
Tilley said how it was the father of the family just started helping.
"He grabbed his trowel and he just started doing stucco," she said.
The family also invited them to a home-cooked dinner one night during the four-day trip.
"That was the bonding night," Tilley said. "That was very cool."
The volunteers built the entire house mostly using manual tools, the only exception was a battery operated drill the group charged beforehand and brought with them.
"There's a method to the madness," Todd said about using the manual tools as an example to others that they can accomplish the same thing. "It's an empowering tool and a witness."
Todd said they're not the only group who does this kind of work.
"We're just one of many, many groups that have served," he said. "This is just one small part of God's work that he's doing through the whole body of Christ."
Father Bill Krieger, rector, said it's wonderful that so many people would volunteer their time to help others.
"It's a tangible expression," Krieger said. "It means that they're not only hearing the word (of God), they're doers of the word."
Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857.