The Lake Almanor Community Church sponsored eight youth and adult volunteers to travel to Matamorros, Mexico, to spend four days building homes for some disadvantaged folks in the area. Matamorros is a community just a few miles from Tijuana.
The group left April 8 to connect with Mexico Caravan Ministries in Mexico that sets up and facilitates the building projects.
The program starts with the Lake Almanor volunteers raising funds that are sent to MCM who then purchases the building materials needed for the homes from local Mexican businesses.
MCM also confirms all the requirements have been met by the recipient family and a building site is ready.
Upon their arrival, the Almanor team coordinates with the MCM staff (mostly interns) that delivers the materials to the construction-ready site.
Because all of the 12-foot by 12-foot homes are identical, much of the sheet goods can be pre-cut in the MCM warehouse. All of the on-site dimensional-wood cutting is done with hand tools, as is all nailing, roofing and hardware.
Once the walls are up and the roof is on, the exterior gets a coat of paint for protection.
The objective for each team that goes down is to complete one home each day they are there, which the Almanor team did very nicely.
LACC pastor Matt Jensen explained that, besides the obvious intent to help others by building the homes, the trip was also a chance for the volunteers to experience the culture and living conditions of people in a country adjacent to us.
It is an eye opener for many that with the effort of these volunteers, $850 can build a home for a family that otherwise would not have a permanent place to live.
Jensen also said, “The most common reaction to the whole experience is the revelation of how warm and happy the relationships of the recipient families are and how responsive and helpful they are to the team members.”
“One of the most enjoyable parts of our stay there was when the families would prepare a meal for the team members and we could sit down, relax and share some food together,” Jensen added.
After four days in Matamorros and four homes complete, the group set out on the long trip back to Lake Almanor with a sense of accomplishment, but more importantly, a new outlook on lifestyles outside of Lake Almanor.