S.O.S Outreach/House Build RECAP!
We recently returned from our first Mexico Outreach/Build Trip representing the S.O.S Family! Since we've been asked how the trip was and what it was like. I hope it paints the unbelievable picture of what God does on trips like these, what can be experienced and the true impact that occurs inevitably to those going and those already there. Enjoy!
The differential between empathy and sympathy is a strong focus not just in the fields of sociology and psychology but more importantly, the church. Psychologists have decided on a process of engagement or a way to label the differences of reactions to others situations, beginning with pity as the simple acknowledgment of ones suffering. Most Christians understand that knowledge isn’t what is most important, therefore, we usually believe we start out in sympathy, where we simply care that someone is suffering. However, at this “reaction” stage we tend to get stuck in problem-solving and attempting to draw silver linings to avoid the messiness or suffering that still occurs. Meaning empathy, the feeling and being intimately with someone else in their suffering, never occurs. Sadly this leads to the inability to ever achieve the full act of compassion, garments which the great apostle Paul once told a certain church to be clothed with and a trait the God of the Universe has constantly been described as. Now let’s also take into account 3 most common prepositions: to, for, and with. Unfortunately the prepositions “to” and “for” have become so commonly related with sympathy, creating a picture of remaining in a higher place, a place where no matter what the situation or level of suffering for the other person/people is, you aren’t willing to step out of your place into this lowly place. Even more unfortunate is that the reaction of sympathy creates a relational stance that rarely leads to transformation and healing. So what about the last preposition “with?” Well that is where our trip comes into place.
Our first ever S.O.S outreach team just got back from a 4 day trip in which we provided a permanent 520sq ft home for a beautiful and very grateful single mom and her kiddos. We saw the miracle in which Jehovah Jireh provided something for this single mom that she’d been so desperately praying about. We saw the miracle of God clarify to her that the religion that caused so much hurt and trauma in her past was not the true representation of God
Incarnate. Rather, the men and women there that day to be His hands and feet (and all the financial sponsors who helped make it possible) that poured out the love of God the Father, God The Son and God the Spirit on her and her family was the purest representation of His love. The fact that this blessing in her life had nothing to do with her earning, but merely that her Creator is Almighty and Good. In just two days we saw this small dirt lot turn into a piece of land they will call home for generations to come. Our team joined the Baja Christian Ministry Team and framed, sided, roofed and painted with the help of Jessica. The coolest moment was when the kids came back from school on Day 1 just shouting in excitement that they had left hours before and now they actually had a home standing where rocks and trash lay days before. ** The family actually slept outside next to all the building materials both nights to protect it from looters and others in desperate need of materials to add to their own homes**. As soon as the kids got home from school they jumped in on the painting. Day 2 we were able to finish all the sheetrock, mudding, paint touch up, and add all the finishing touches: electrical trimout, furniture construction, and cleanup. One of the best parts of this day is the prayer dedication of the home and the handing over of the keys (Video to come)! At the dedication we were also able to pass along a financial gift from the S.O.S family nearly $1,000 to the family for further resources to make their new home feel like home and for much needed personal items for her and her kiddos. With tear drenched eyes it was incredibly hard to say goodbye to each other after spending so much time not just building but sharing meals and conversation together.
Our team also took part in an outreach in the local community in which this home was built. Thanks to our friends at Baja Christian Ministries who engage in all the networking in the local communities of Tijuana, Tecate, Rosarito and Ensenada, we were also able to partner up with a local church, Yo Gran El Soy (The Great I Am Church) for a day of outreach. We were able to provide dozens of food kits (2 weeks worth of food) specific to the local culture and traditions, to members directly within blocks of the small dirt road. While it was special to be generous in this way, what was more impactful was our time hanging out with all the local families. The kids gathered up and we played soccer and kickball for hours, while others did crafts and shared in conversations about life. Praise be to God as members of our team shared about Jesus’ love for those 50+ people in that small church building. Even cooler was seeing our team step in and pour out prayer with our brothers and sisters in this town. As tears rolled down faces, and with pain and suffering on hearts we saw prayer circles engulf individuals who were facing feelings of unworthiness and loneliness. What an incredible realization and time of humility as we saw descriptions and labels placed on these people by this world being released and God’s children coming together to proclaim God’s healing and victory! Lest I forget, we were also able to celebrate and bless the Baja Christian Ministry team (made up of full-time global missionaries and local volunteers) to a well deserved meal.
We went “to” serve but true and ultimate service can only be done “with” others, amongst others. This type of service creates authentic and intimate relationships. The type of relationships that speak, not by mouth to ears, but heart-to-heart. “To” service closes the giver off from ever being impacted fully and growing emotionally and spiritually. “TO” service says I don’t need anything in return, not because I expect something for my service, but that there is nothing you could give me that could be beneficial. But what “with” service did this last week was allow us to step into the everyday life of a family living in extreme poverty, into a community without any infrastructure, and have our hearts experience a new depth of Gods love. “With” grows our perspective of how deep, wide and long our Gods love is. “With” service humbles the heart and reminds us how small we actually are in Gods story, while also reminding us how incredibly special we are to be apart of it!
So in short, when someone asks how our trip was and what the experience was like, I’d have to say it was the smallest glimpse and illustration of God Incarnate. What I mean is that we got a small taste of what it was like for God to not just have pity for his people or simply sympathize with his people and remain on His throne. Rather, we experienced the empathy and compassion that God actually felt and still feels towards His children in disparity and suffering. Not only did Jesus come to us and for us, but God Incarnate stepped out of Heaven into the lowliest form of a newborn and remained with us for an entire life cycle of suffering to be with us. This experience is always an opportunity that draws us into the unimaginable and unforgettable reality of Gods forever choice to leave His throne to be with you and I, asking His children to come home. Its a practice of immitation of Jesus that leads all who practice it into the realm of indescribable love and a new relatability with the gospel.
We truly thank each and everyone of you who prayed for our team and this trip, those prayers were felt more than you know. To everyone who honored God and blessed our team with a financial gift to provide all of this for His service, it was truly an honor and we are thankful. Whatever way you partook with our 2021 Baja Team you’ll have an eternal spot in Alicia and I’s hearts.
Stay tuned for videos and more photographs!
Thank you again for all of you who were apart of this years team. Our financial responsibility of nearly $20,000 for the entire trip wouldn't have happened with out your incredible generosity!
If you are interested in being part of the next team who joins us please let us know! We want to continue to build our list of future "hands and feet" of Jesus! Just shoot us an email that asks to be considered for the next go around!