it is good to be home. the older i get, the harder it is to be gone. don't get me wrong, though. there are not a whole lot of things more fun, more fulfilling, more revealing...than spending five days with a bunch of men. really.
i love our men's mission trip to mexico. i'm so impressed with the group of men who choose to take time away from work and family and house chores and making money and recreational pursuits to join with other men to build a house for family in mexico. it's hard work, time consuming, costly, exhausting, and risky.
the work is painful. especially for the old guys. like me. two long days of mixing cement by hand in wheel barrows. sawing lumber with hand saws. gripping twenty-eight ounce hammers and swinging them until our forearms burn. for some of us, that's about fifteen swings and a whack on a thumb. pulling wire. shoveling sand and gravel. lifting plywood on a roof. lifting five gallon buckets of water. stretching chicken wire. mixing and spreading stucco. the hardest physical labor that i do anymore is mowing the lawn and running the snake through my plugged plumbing.
the men have to pay $275 to go on the trip, plus all of their travel money. that's not chump change. i'm sure that money could go for a lot of other things. but it doesn't. it goes to giving a family a new house. amazing. a whole new house. for about the cost of a new car stereo or a new callaway driver or new power spray washer, a family gets a new house. did i say amazing?
the best part of the trip, though, is where the greatest risk is. it's not the long hours of travel. it's not crossing the border. it's not drinking the water. it's being trapped for five days with other men and having to be honest and open and real. and having to talk. oh, there's a lot of groaning and whining and sarcasm and suspicious story telling. but, more importantly, there is good conversation. we get to know each other. we become better friends. we have been in the trenches together and we are deeper and stronger because of it. and god is pleased.
sign me up for next year.