On Oct. 12, four members of the Open Bible Church will board a plane from Des Moines to San Diego, Calif., and travel across the Mexico border into Tijuana to build a house for one deserving family.
With the financial support from the Pratt-Fenton Charitable Trust, whose monetary donations have supplied past builds and the Puente de Amistad (Spanish for “bridge of friendship”) ministry, this will be the sixth house volunteers from the church have helped to construct.
Usually, a group of 15 to 20 volunteers travel to this territory to offer a hand. Since the October trip will be smaller in number, they will team up with recovering substance abusers from a local Tijuana rehab center. The concrete slab will already have been poured when these builders arrive. By Thursday the house will be complete, and the keys will be given to the family of Maria Ortiz.
Ortiz fell ill with trichinosis. She lost fractions of her memory and suffered from convulsions. During this time, her husband was out of work and her two sons tried to contribute as much as they could to their ailing mother. Ortiz will have to take medicine for the rest of her life to maintain her health.
But it’s not only the Ortizes who will benefit from the mission. The church will also serve the community.
“We go out into the slums of the city, where the poorest of the poor are and teach ministry,” says team leader Ed Hall. Downtown is where many homeless drug addicts and alcoholics reside, and the group will have prayer time with them, he added.
Another segment of the trip is reserved to serving 200 hot dogs to the locals and going around from house to house offering pounds of dry rice and beans. Hall recalled one year when they knocked on the door of a home that housed 13 family members from three generations.
“It is a tremendous joy to give something to people like that,” says Hall, who commented that the woman who answered the door was absolutely “struck with joy” at the sight of the food.
Home number seven is scheduled for June 2014.
“Everybody who goes on our trip can make a contribution,” says Hall. “Everybody participates. Nobody watches.”
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