It’s the end of Day 5 (Dec 1) and we finally have some down time to update you on our activities.

Day 3 (Nov 29) began as usual, with us fueling up with a great breakfast for a long day of work ahead. Our biggest enhancement on the worksite was being able to move the dirt with wheelbarrows instead of 5-gallon buckets. We also noticed some interesting wildlife. Many butterflies were fluttering about the site and these paled in comparison to the bull elephant we spotted on the hill in the distance (probably a statue). That evening we had our first extension dive into scripture, lead by Jean-Luc. Three and a half hours later, we had covered God’s creation and the crisis that arose in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1 – 3). To say we had a lot of information to consolidate during our evening sleep would be an understatement!

Day 4 (Nov 30) was a day full of witnessing the community relationships that have been cultivated through the work of Urban Mosaic. The first project site we visited was De San Jose Las Palmas, a community center / church / health clinic. There we learned more about the myriad factors that lead to urban poverty and how it takes a holistic (integrated) approach to transform a poor community. The leaders of this project are Mario and his assistant Abby.

The next project we learned about was community electrification, lead by Juanita. There are so many obstacles to completing these projects and it was amazing learning about their resiliency as they demonstrate to the people what is possible when they unify. We then walked to the home of Rosalina and Delores. These women shared their experience from a previous church that forced them to pay for benefits of attending and how that model would trickle down into other relationships in the community. This situation dramatically changed once they moved to their current church. The next project we visited was a community water tank that was completed in 2015. Our primary tour guide Carina gave us the details and our interpreter Elios translated. Now the distribution network is being developed and this will serve around 4,000 families. All from a project that began with $25 in assets.

We then left Palmas and drove to San Sebastian. There we ate lunch with the Urban Mosaic team and then went on to visit a very special small brick house. This house was not built directly by Urban Mosaic, but rather by people of the community inspired to help a family in need by finding building materials for the house. This is an example of how members of the community are being inspired to help others. We then learned about the vocational training program lead by Carmen. He has three students, who are aspiring to become nurses and university-trained educators. We then learned about how the health care needs are going to be addressed through project Salud, lead by Yolanda. We then received intimidating news. Our team would be facing the children of San Sebastian in a futbol (soccer) match on the gravel field down the street. Fortunately for us, four teams were formed containing both Americans and local children. After an entire highlight reel of spectacular plays, we came together for a group photo (“selfie”). We said our goodbyes and headed back to our residence.

After dinner we took another three-hour plunge into scripture, discussing the Tower of Babel (Genesis), God’s calling to Abram, and then to Moses (Exodus).

Day 5 (Dec 1) was our final day on site at Centro Renovar. This day was a day of realization of the progress that had been made during our time here. Not only the progress with the filling of the void behind the retaining wall, but more importantly the filling of our relationships with our four new friends at the site, Rafael, Marco, Alexis, and Fausto. This day we stayed on site and prayed and ate with our Mexican friends. The hard work for the rest of the day flew by and as the day ended, we gathered for some groups photos and said our heartfelt goodbyes. We then enjoyed tacos at a Taqueria in the center of Papalotla and made it back to our residence for some time with our host Jean-Luc.

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