Monday, January 31, 2011

intern program.

Well, the deadline is quickly approaching for the new interns who will apply to work with Casas por Cristo this summer. A few years ago Casas was in a good place financially because over 300-400 houses were going up each year, but with the media coverage increasing in Juarez, people are becoming afraid and last year Casas did 200 homes (which is still a miracle, but with a three-year waiting list I am praying that even more houses go up this year).

In order to have enough money to hire interns, Casas has to do some fundraising this year. You can read about some of my experiences HERE.

It is honestly one of the best things I have ever It breaks my heart that I can't go back this summer, but I'm hoping some new interns have just as awesome of an experience as I did. This summer they are going to hire seven interns, and this is what they need to help cover the cost. (the numbers are for all interns for the whole summer, not interns individually).

1. Scholarships: $9,000

- Each intern receives a scholarship at the end of the summer.

2. Training (materials to build): $1,000

- Interns have two weeks of training with each other and staff members and then one week with a staff member.

3. Training (food/water): $700

4. Handbooks/supplies: $700

- Each intern receives a handbook that has hints for Spanish and house-building, and other things for the summer like a backpack, pens, Spanish Bible, and journal.

5. Retreat: $2000

- Last year, like I wrote about in my blog, we got to go to the Grand Canyon thanks to donations. It was seriously awesome and definitely well-needed after a long summer!

If you'd like to donate you can do so by sending a check (with "intern program" on the memo-line and made out to Casas por Cristo):

Casas por Cristo

PO Box 971070

El Paso, TX 79997

OR you can donate online at

Make sure to specify in the notes section what your donation is for. (intern program - scholarships, intern-program - materials)

Please consider giving so that other future interns can have the same life-changing experience as I did.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Ever since my internship, I think about God ALL the time. Now don't get me wrong, this is a good thing...but sometimes my heart just breaks.

"Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see everything that I've been missing, give me your love for humanity."

I prayed this song when I first heard it, and I think it's coming true. God's answering that prayer, because my heart breaks for people who don't know him. And yet I sit by and watch people go in and out of my life and I don't know if I ever have any impact on them for Christ.

And when I say my heart breaks it's not like, "Oh man I am sad for them." It's more like a gut-wrenching thing. Compassion. The Greek word used for compassion means to have a pain deep in the bowels.

Jesus had COMPASSION on people.

How can I get to that place? I want to be compassionate. Christ knew exactly what people needed. He also never got angry when people were so needy and so clingy and probably bothering him all the time. I get angry when someone asks if I can make sure their sandwich is toasted just right.

This is going to be a goal of mine: learn about compassion. What does it mean to be compassionate?

I start working in the high school this week in the ESL classroom. I am SO excited. Please be praying I can be a good influence for Christ on the students around me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

spring break plans?

Looking for something to do for spring break or this summer? Come help a family in need by sharing Christ with them and giving them a nice, warm-in-the-winter, cool-in-the-summer home! Every day people die in Juarez waiting for the hope of Christ and praying for a new home.

Please take just a few minutes to watch this new video.

"Greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city." - Chris Tomlin

Sunday, January 23, 2011

choosing life.

So I decided to read through the Bible cover-to-cover. I have said many times, "This year I'm going to read the Bible all the way through," but each year I drop off somewhere in the middle of Leviticus. The thing that I decided to do differently this time, is to give myself as much time as I need to actually read through the Bible and enjoy it and learn from it...not make it a chore.

As I began reading Genesis though, I noticed something I've never noticed you may think, "Wow, Aubs. You're slow." And this may be the case, but I'd like to share with you what I gleaned from the first few chapters.

"...the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'" - Gen. 2:7-17

The thing I never noticed (and I'm not sure why): "the tree of life was in the midst of the garden"

God never said, "You may not eat of the tree of life."

But they didn't choose life. Eve chose the only thing God told them they couldn't have.

I wonder what the tree of life looks like...maybe it looked like all the other trees (doubt it).Maybe they didn't know it was the tree of life (doubtful again). But one thing is certain, eating from the tree of life brings eternal life: "'Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever-'therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden..." - 3:22,23

That's it. That's what I noticed, and it raises a lot of questions in my mind. Why did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden in the first place? Did Adam and Eve ignore God's warning because death had never happened before, so "you will surely die" didn't make a lot of sense to them?

Someday we'll know. Maybe not until we get there...but someday.

Eve's choice of sin over life reminds me of myself sometimes. I choose to watch that movie, or I choose to let those words tumble out of my mouth and then wish I could stuff them back in. (Jeez, James was right when he said the tongue was "a fire, a world of unrighteousness").

Another thing I know, however, is that God, through John in the book of Revelation, tells us that we will see the tree of life again...and there will be no tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Maybe because we already know what evil is capable of doing to us. Maybe because there will be absolutely no evil where God is.

"also, on either side of the river [of the water of life], the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever." - Rev. 22:2-4

Monday, January 17, 2011

new year. new goals.

well. this is it. i am finally putting the smackdown on facebook. i can't explain to you how much i hate the amount of time i spend on there. i love the fact that i get to talk to friends and family and see what's going on, but seriously...i spend WAY too much time on facebook when i could be studying for school or studying scripture.

i am not really a resolution type of person, but these are some goals i have for myself this year:
- finish the OKC marathon in 4:20...or just finish it
- memorize the book of Colossians. Seriously. Some people have the entire Bible memorized and there are times I can't even think of one verse.
- meet with my accountability girls every saturday morning. talk about Christ. talk about life. we have this all set up and i really can't wait!
- spend much less time on facebook. it is seriously an addiction and i don't want it taking over my life anymore.
- not be a procrastinator. i have a 2500 word spanish paper due in May...written over the 700 page novel that i am now reading. i will not save this till the last minute. i will not save this till the last minute. i will not save this till the last minute. i have NEVER pulled an all-nighter and i will not start this semester.
- and the biggest goal (and hardest...but i'm always striving for this one): look more like Christ. have an good attitude. love all people. see people for who they are. control my temper. be an example for other women and girls. at work. at school. teaching esl. in my apartment.

on a random note: i miss summer. i miss running until i am drenched because it's so hot. i miss those cold vanilla rootbeers and cherry limeades from sonic happy hour. i miss my chacos. i miss nike shorts. i miss painted toes and tanlines. i miss laying by the pool on a towel and feeling the heat from the concrete underneath me. i miss hopping on my bike and going somewhere. i miss tubing (i haven't been boating or tubing or water-skiing in maybe 5 years).

but. spring semester is here. and may will be here before i know it. lots of people to love on and impact in the next few months.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Some people tell me I'm not American because I don't really like steak or ketchup. I'll take a piece of chicken over beef any day. And I put mustard on things that normal people put ketchup on.

I am a teeth-brushing fanatic. I brush my teeth at least three times a day, yet the dentist still tells me I need to brush better.

I was born in Seattle, but grew up in small town, Kansas. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. I can remember getting on my bike and riding the nine blocks to the grocery store to buy a Diet Coke for my mom. I can remember regularly going to the local drug store to get cherry limeades with my friends. I remember going to the lake every 4th of July and listening to the country singers on stage, running through the grass with my friends as the sun set. I remember the smell of the fields burning and the cattle trucks that would drive through town.

I have the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I know, but when I have cravings I usually crave salty food. If I had a bowl of velveeta and rotel cheese dip and guac, I could eat a whole bag of tortilla chips by myself. Before I put myself on a budget, I hit up Sonic at least once a week for a Reese's blast with extra Reese's.

I used to hate running. I remember the President's Physical Fitness Exam in PE in elementary school and I failed the one-mile run because I didn't finish in under 9:30. But I believe my sister holds the record at a little over 14 minutes for her mile. I love her :)

My friends and I used to drink pickle juice out of the jar after all the pickles were gone.

I've never really been girly, and I remember I would get in trouble because all I ever wanted to wear was basketball shorts and t-shirts to school when my mom had bought me all these nice clothes. Sorry mom! :)

I used to skip recess to read.

I've done just about every sport except soccer. Basketball, tennis, gymnastics, softball, volleyball, track, cheerleading, bowling. I am the world's worst soccer player. I'd lay money on it. When I was in 8th grade it was me, one other girl, and 28 guys in our PE class. I was always goalie so they could kick the ball at me.

I've had braces twice, and headgear once. Nerdy? Yes.

I am not a germ freak at all. I think Mexico did this to me. I will eat anything off the floor.

I've worn glasses since I was in 1st grade. Contacts for a few years. Eyes freaked out. No more contacts.

I absolutely love kids. They remind me of God. I want to adopt some and have some of my own.

I'm a deep thinker. I think about things too much. I'm the kind of person that wonders what was here 200 years ago. I mean, like, RIGHT here, where I'm sitting. Weird, I know.

If I had my Uggs, my Chacos, and my running shoes, I'd be set for life. No heels for me. I hate wearing heels because I'm already tall for a girl. And I have big feet. Heels+big feet=super painful.

I hate cherry pie. I don't care what you say, men of Olivet Baptist Church. I will always hate cherry pie. I hate cherries for that matter. And green olives. And cottage cheese. Geez, I thought I wasn't a picky eater.

One time when I was about 8, I decided I didn't want to hold on to the swing anymore, so I tied myself to it with a jumprope. Plan failed and I knocked the wind out of myself. I think I screamed so loud my mom thought I was being kidnapped.

My great-grandmother was Cherokee Indian. I got the hair and my sister got the skin. She goes out in the sun for 10 minutes and comes back golden tan. I got the Irish side skin, so I go out and come back looking lobster-ish.

I was bald until I was two. Hard to believe, I know.

What are some random things about you? I want to know. No, really, I do! I think random things are so cool and they make us who we are. God doesn't make ordinary people (that thought coming from Ryan), which I think is awesome.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

we are the rich man.

Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.

“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead.There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

“The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

“But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’

“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’

“The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’

“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’” - Luke 16:19-31

So, as most of you know because I've said it in past posts, I'm reading Radical by David Platt, and he talks about this story about halfway into the book. And what he said was haunting to me. This guy is amazing in the sense that he says what needs to be said; the stuff that no one else says because they're too afraid to.

His belief is that we are the rich man. Jesus isn't talking about billionaires, millionaires, or even people that make a six-digit salary. He's talking about us. People that get to eat every day and that have a roof over their heads. The ESV says that Lazarus "feasted sumptuously every day." If you eat at least two meals a day, I would consider that sumptuous.

Now I'm not saying that you should just stop eating (please don't). BUT I am in agreement with David when he says that we are the rich man with the poor lying at our gate. What are we going to do about it? They really are at our gate. There are poor all over the US, and even more so there are people right across the border in Mexico who struggle to survive each day.

Why do we get to live how we want while others die?

"Every Sunday we gather in a multimillion-dollar building with millions of dollars in vehicles parked outside. We leave worship to spend thousands of dollars on lunch before returning to hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of homes. We live in luxury. Meanwhile, the poor man is outside our gate. And he is hungry. In the time we gather for worship on a Sunday morning, almost a thousand children elsewhere die because they have no food. If it were our kids starving, they would all be gone by the time we said our closing prayer. We certainly wouldn't ignore our kids while we sang songs and entertained ourselves, but we are content with ignoring other parents' kids. Many of them are our spiritual brothers and sisters in developing nations. They are suffering from malnutrition, deformed bodies and brains, and preventable diseases. At most, we are throwing our scraps to them while we indulge in our pleasures here...This is not what the people of God do. Regardless of what we say or sing or study on Sunday morning, rich people who neglect the poor are not the people of God." - David Platt

Reading this was hard for me, because I don't want to be the rich man. I had always thought of him in the past as this Daddy Warbucks old man who was grouchy and never shared with anyone. But in reality it never says that he was mean or rude or grouchy. He just never acknowledged Lazarus. Did he even know he was there?

I don't think it's that we don't want to help (at least for most people). For some reason, we've fallen into this belief that not everyone is called to serve the poor. I don't agree with that.

There's a part in the book where David went to speak to another congregation about missions and the poor, and what he heard from this church family shocked me:

"As we sat around the den, they asked me questions about how my wife and I were doing. I shared with them about inner-city ministry in New Orleans, where we were living at the time. I told them about ministry in housing projects ridden with poverty and gang violence. I told them about ministry among homeless men and women who struggled with various addictions. Then I told them about ministry opportunities God had recently given me around the world. I told them about people's receptivity to the gospel in places that are traditionally hostile to Christianity. I told them that, whether in the inner city or overseas, God was drawing people to himself in some of the toughest areas of the of the deacons leaned forward in his chair, looked at me, and said, 'David, I think it's great you are going to those places. But if you ask me, I would just as soon God annihilate all those people and send them to hell.'"

Sadly, I think this is the view of a lot of people today. I was so angry when I read this. God doesn't call us to do things that make us comfortable or things that we really want to do. I can tell you there were times this summer that I would have rather laid on my cot than gotten up to go build.

But God calls us to be obedient. And there are so many places in his Word that talk about serving the poor. Christ shows us in Matthew 25:31-46 what happens to those who served the persecuted and the poor. They inherit the kingdom of God. And those who never paid attention to the poor and persecuted...I believe he might say, "Away from me. I never knew you."

I'm really tired of talking about the statistics. I could ring off a number of different ones off the top of my head. I'm sick of talking about making a difference. I was praying the other night about how tired I was of waiting. I am so ready to be out teaching and impacting children and families around the world...or maybe right here in the US. I have two more semesters of class left and I want to make them count, but I'm still trying to figure out how to serve the poor while I am here.

We get so nervous and upset about the possibility of giving up something so that we can follow God more, but I love how David puts it when he says, "...what it seems Jesus was saying [was]: 'In light of the fact that you have a God in heaven who is set on caring for you as a shepherd does his sheep, as a father does his children, and as a king does who is passing on an entire kingdom, don't be anxious. Sell your possessions, give to the poor, and don't worry. Your God - your Shepherd, your Father, your King - has everything under control."'

You speak Your words into my life,

And where You are is where I wanna be.

I'll say, "So long," to everything else.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

one of my favorite memories.

Tonight I feel like writing.

As I was driving home from Manhattan today to see a friend, my mind wandered back to summer like it always does, and I want to tell you a story that is probably one of my favorite parts of the summer.

Towards the end of July, I was building in Acuña with a team from Illinois. They brought a team big enough to build two doubles, so Shane and I took one house and Brittany and Lisa took the other.

We built right after Hurricane Alex hit the Gulf of Mexico, and hundreds of homes in Acuña had been destroyed, including the home of Weldon and Maria and their young daughters.

At the end of the third day when we were finished with our house, we knew that the other team was still working, so Shane and I dropped our half of the team off at the church and went to Brittany and Lisa's site to see what we could do to help.

I hadn't heard much about the family yet, only that everything they had owned had been destroyed by the flood and that they were living in a van.

When we pulled up, we met Weldon, an American citizen from Texas, and his wife Maria. While the team finished up with drywall, I talked with Maria about her family, how she home-schooled her daughters, and how she wasn't sure how she was going to anymore because all their books were taken in the flood.

As the evening went on, I wandered into the house to help with electrical, but we soon realized that none of the electrical worked. We spent a couple hours rewiring switches and outlets, switching the breaker on and off, and checking to make sure no wires had been cut. After a while, someone noticed there was an outlet missing, and sure enough, we took of a piece of drywall and found the unwired outlet behind it. We all celebrated because it was getting late and we were tired and hot. After wiring the outlet, the electricity came on, there was a pop, some sparks, and everything went out again.

Probably sensing our frustration and exhaustion, Weldon offered us some food and a break. The team had left for the church a long time ago, so we agreed and sat down. His wife made us some delicious food. I was so tired I honestly can't remember what it was, but it was good, as it always is when families make it.

Weldon spoke English as his first language, so we carried on an easy conversation. He told us about how he had fallen in love with Maria and decided to move to Mexico as a missionary. This is a man who gave up EVERYTHING he had, yet he was so content in God and with his family that nothing else mattered.

He came from one of the richest countries in the world to live among the impoverished and show them Christ.

A verse that I for some reason easily remember is 1 Corinthians 1:18: "The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing."

To be blunt, Weldon's choice probably makes him seem like a fool to most people. I mean, who in their right mind leaves the comforts of home to live in poverty? I am not sure if Weldon intended to end up living in a tiny house or in a van, but one thing I was reminded of. Someone else did this too. Someone else left their comfortable home to come here to be uncomfortable, even hated.

This book I'm reading, Radical, it's making me think. How many people ACTUALLY know Christ? Because I think that we pick and choose what we want to hear from the Bible. As Shane Claiborne says, "That's why God invented hilighters." So that we can hilight what we want to read and ignore the rest, right?

I have to be honest with you. I'm not ready to leave the comforts of my bed, my room, my apartment, my hometown, and things that I know. But that might be what it comes to.

Back to Weldon and his family. I will never forget what it was like to sit under the stars in Mexico, eating delicious food, with good friends, and listening to Weldon tell his story of how he ended up in this small border city in Mexico. I couldn't help but wonder if that's what Christ meant when he said that if we followed him we would have life and have it to the full.

After talking, we checked out the electricity, which still didn't work, and then we called it a night. Seventeen hour day that sounds terrible, but I wouldn't trade it for anything because I got to meet an amazing person who has more treasure than many people will ever see. Not an earthly treasure, but a heavenly one like Christ talks about. I guess you could say he probably found that pearl in the field, sold everything he had, and bought that field...if that even makes sense.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the electricity, we came back the next day and it worked. Just a coincidence? I think not.

Friday, January 7, 2011

seriously america?

Okay, so, I don't have much time because I have to leave for work soon, BUT I have something to say. I'm not much of a TV watcher. Amazing Race is about the only thing I watch anymore, but yesterday I was bored, so after I made lunch I was looking around the internet and saw that "The Bachelor" had a new season and the first episode was up. I've never really watched much of this show, but I thought I'd check it out.


I sat there and watched as all these women fought over this one man who isn't even sure he wants to be with any of them. This is very saddening to me. What's even worse is that we all love to watch this. It's addicting. I could probably watch the whole season, even though it drives me absolutely insane! At the end of the first episode, he "chose" 20 out of the 30 women. The ten women that left were crying, and in their interviews said all they wanted was to be loved.


You are loved!

I wanted to scream this over and over at the screen like they would hear me. GOD LOVES YOU and you don't need this junk! One couple out of the 14 seasons of the Bachelor has actually gotten married. ONE.

Why do we love to watch this trash? Why do I love to watch it?

Don't be deceived ladies. God loves you and there's a man out there who actually deserves you and will treat you right. A man who doesn't need to have 30 women to choose from. You don't need to go on a reality show and embarrass yourself in front of the entire country to try and find "love."

And the other thing that infuriates me is the fact that I know that some of those women were probably only chosen to add to the drama. Some women were probably chosen just so that America could make fun of them, for example, the girl with fangs who thinks she's a vampire.

I don't get it.

I don't get how these women can watch him kiss and hold and date 19 other women and think that he actually cares for them. And it's the same way with that other show, The Bachelorette.

We are so wrapped up in the fact that we want to be loved by someone that we forget that God already loves us and pursues us EVERY DAY. Or is it just that we don't know what love is?

That is my rant for the day. What makes you angry?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

December Build

Well, it finally happened. We made it to Mexico, built a house, and came back. In September when I started thinking about this trip I honestly wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it did. We left Wichita at about 4 a.m. on Monday, and I really didn't think the drive was that bad. Twelve hours later we rolled into El Paso and split up to take on Wal-Mart and Sam's Club to get what we would need for the week. (If you haven't been to the El Paso's an experience. Odds are you may not find what you're looking for because they will be out of it. I've never seen so many people in my life. If you ever plan on going, set aside at least two hours.)

After Wal-Mart, we headed to Chili's for dinner (after stopping by House of Pizza...which is closed on Mondays..?) At Chili's I got to see Andy, Kevin, Shane, Raphael and Alexis and the team that would be building another house that week. It seriously was great to see all my Casas friends again.

The next morning, we got up early and headed for the office to meet Alexis, since she was leading our team. I was reunited with my beloved Peña for the week (a sixteen year-old Ford F-250) It was awesome.

We got situated at the church in Juarez and then found our worksite and set to work on the form for the concrete floor. We hand-poured the slab, and I have to say, it looked pretty good for being hand-poured!

We had frequent visits from the niece and nephew of the couple we were building for, so we broke out the five boxes of Teddy Grahams that my boss sent with us and gave them to the kids. They absolutely loved them and I can't help but wonder if their mom was mad at us for spoiling their lunch. Teddy Grahams are better than lunch anyways.

After assembling all the walls and pouring the concrete, we went back to the church that night, exhausted, ate some PB&J for dinner, and fell asleep. We had the privilege of staying at Verdad y Vida, which is one of my favorite churches to stay at. It has a new bunkhouse built onto it so we had beds instead of army cots. Loved. It. And Chila, the lady that lives there, always made sure the gas-run space heater was on when we got back since the church wasn't heated.

The next day we did a ton of stuff with the house, including electrical, blackboard, chicken wire, the roof, and insulation, again with many visits from the kids, Jose Luis and Julissa.

Sidenote: We also had this awesome grandpa named Anastasio who told us to call him Nacho. He knew a little English from working in the fields in the US (I wish I'd had more time to talk to him about this). The first thing he asked me was, "You married? Why not?" (What do you say to that?)

He heard one of the girls say to Lehr, "No way Jose!" So he picked that up and called Lehr "Jose" all week long.

That night when we got back I realized that our pre-made lasagna said it would take TWO HOURS to cook. Fail. BUT the boys' team had bought Josue's (a delicious restaurant across from the church we stayed at) and then their family had made them food. So they paid for the Josue's and we got to eat it. Best Mexican hamburger in the world. Hands down. Hamburger, ham, bacon, hot dog, guacamole, ketchup, and who knows what else. Sounds disgusting. Tastes amazing.

The next day we finished the house with stucco and drywall and a little electrical (it took me over an hour to install a ceiling fan, but I blame it on the guys walking past and dropping random stuff in my pockets while I had my hands up working. Either that or I suck at ceiling fans. Probably true.)

That day it had started out at around 60 degrees, perfect for building. The wind picked up that afternoon and a large sandstorm rolled in. We grabbed whatever we could find to cover our mouths and noses as we worked (I woke up the next morning with sand caked in my eyes. Attractive.) We got a good break at lunch when we got to sit inside and eat the delicious mole and rice the family made for us. After a few hours the sand calmed down and freezing rain rolled in, right as we were finishing up the house. Icicles began to form on the roof of the house and the rain was washing our still-drying stucco away, so we quickly pulled tarps from the roof to the ground to try to save the stucco. Some of it washed off, but the family said they knew how to fix it.

We left the site right as it started to snow (yes, it snows in Juarez) and we got back to the church where Chila was making us tamales over the fire. YUM! She also made sure we were fully stocked on her homemade tortillas with butter. I am realizing how it is that I gained 10 pounds last summer.

At the dedication the next day, the pastor that sponsored the family we built for prayed for the family and each of us individually. He then gave us oil in our hands and proceeded to put his hands on the house and pray for it. At first, I was hesitant to put my oily hands on the sheetrock, but I think it will be a reminder of the prayer over the house and family and of God's love for them.

We headed out after that and crossed the border (which we only waited five minutes TOPS to get across...I've waited up to three hours before). That night we all got to hang out and play Signs for a few hours before we rang in the new year and headed to bed.

All in all, it was an amazing trip, and God never ceases to amaze me when I am there. I am not in as much emotional pain now as I was when I came back after this summer. But I am at peace. I am thankful for my warm bed and the heat that is always warming my house. But the thing is, part of me would rather be laying in bed at Verdad y Vida, dirty and cold, than in my warm bed.

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for us or donated to help us get to Mexico. It was AWESOME. Headed for Acuña in March with my church, and I can't wait.

Can you guess which one's Nacho?