A big “Hello” to our friends, family, church and former teammates!
It always a pleasure to share with you the work that God is doing in our lives and in the ministry of Teen Missions. Since our return from Mexico, it seems like we have not stopped “running”. Our lives have been filled with school, birthdays, swim practices and meets, and thankfully, NO hurricanes!! As I sit now writing this letter, I am grateful for the opportunity to remember and finally process the fantastic summer we had.
The days in Mexico were HOT and humid, and the nights were less hot and humid, but quite warm nonetheless. Our missionary, Henry, encouraged our team to purchase hammocks to make sleeping at night cooler. Most did and once delivered, our dorm houses went from drab to being awash in bright, vibrant colors from the beautiful, handmade hammocks. Although hammocks are part of everyday life for a Mexican, we were definitely rookie hammock sleepers. At night, if a room randomly erupted in laughter, we knew that someone had toppled out of their hammock!
We lived on the beach all summer. Yes, I said on the beach and not at the beach. We literally lived on the Gulf of Mexico’s sandy shores for a month. I know that this may sound romantic to many of you but, on a practical level, it made everyday life that much harder. Sand was everywhere it should be and shouldn’t be and got in everything! It was always in our boots, clothing, hair, dish bags, duffel bags, blankets, dish water, toothbrushes, and even our Bibles! It being in our Bibles was understandable since we had our personal devotions at the ocean’s edge every morning. Watching the sunrise on the horizon everyday was a wonder-filled, visual reminder of how awesome our God is. Enhancing the sun’s greeting were the flocks of wild flamingos that flew by and the schools of fish that would jump out of the water in bursts of energy. #thebeachlife #itwasroughbutsomeonehadtodoit
Our giant project for the summer was breaking ground and starting construction on a multi-purpose building for Camp Porvenir. We began by digging the holes for the foundation. There were nine holes in all and they were each about 12’ square and about 4’6” deep. We could only dig down so far before hitting water. The building when finished, will only be about 100’ from the ocean. Digging was a strenuous first task for the team even after their Boot Camp training because there was not an ounce of shade on the worksite. The sun’s heat beat down on them every day with the only relief coming in the form of the occasional cloud cover. To go in those nine holes were the nine rebar-enforced columns that the team built. Each column had 628 steel ties…not counting the mess-ups! In total, the team tied over 7000 steel ties!!! Once tied together, they painted the rebar columns with a rust-proof paint. This paint was an oil-based paint and it got everywhere and made a mess of many a teammates’ hands and clothes. We also made the rebar mats that the columns sat on and poured the foundation for each column. We formed up the columns and poured over 86,000 pounds of concrete. This concrete was not delivered by truck but rather by teenage muscle, as every ounce of it was mixed on site by hand. Water for the concrete became an issue at one point and had to be hauled from the other side of the property. Over 1,000 gallons were dragged, pulled, lifted, and hefted across a lot of sand. The team trudged through this sand with their buckets making trip after trip of water deliveries. When work on the project was delayed for various reasons, like waiting on more rebar to be delivered, they picked up trash—mountains of trash. They were part of their very own beach clean up on the Yucatan Peninsula! We can’t even give you a rough estimate of how much trash they cleaned up because there was just so much. Simply put: there was A LOT. Our team’s project was not for the faint of heart! We are proud of our team and all that they were able to accomplish. It was a joy and a pleasure to labor alongside each one!
We were able to see and do many wonderful things while in Mexico, but I will touch on just one. My favorite adventure took us into a local, coastal village for a day on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We rented three boats to take us on our adventure. With the ocean water spraying our faces and bodies, the ride was bumpy, but so much fun!! Our first stop was at a sandbar in the middle of the ocean. We climbed off the boats and explored, finding treasures like conch shells, sea sponges, and orange sea slugs. Some teammates even exfoliated themselves with the ocean’s sand. Once we were finished at the sandbar, we boarded our boats again and journeyed to a fresh water spring that the locals like to use for fun. Once on land, we trekked through mangroves on a very rickety, old, wooden bridge to get to the spring. There was a top swing there that we all took turns swinging into the water on. Some of us were quite the trapeze artists!! It was very refreshing because the water was cool and the day very hot. Before heading home, we made our final boat stop at another natural spring in the middle of the ocean. So much water comes out of the spring (5,000,000 liters come out each minute) that the ocean “boils” at the surface, except that the water coming out is cold!!! Our boat drivers had face masks that we all took turns using so that we could dive down at its mouth. There were tons of fish, starfish, and plants to see down there!! It really was incredible AND so much fun!!!! It was also very exhausting since we were fighting the current created from the massive amounts of water coming out of the ocean floor. Driving home, our sun-kissed faces were all smiles from our most amazing day.
It was such a rewarding summer for our family, both professionally and personally. I hope that all of the joy and love we feel regarding our time in Mexico has come through to each of you who are currently reading this. We are grateful that God placed us on the team He did and that we met and made such wonderful friends. Thank you to our MOST AMAZING teammates for a MOST AMAZING summer!! Thank you to each of you who prayed for us. Your faithful prayers sustained us.
We treasure your prayers, support, and heart for missions. Thank you for serving with us these last 14 years!!!
Mike, Michelle, Kenya, Isabelle, Lily, and Gabriel Myers