Giving service, gaining insight
Relentless construction work; hard, uneven ground to sleep on; scorching days and freezing nights. By no means does this sound like an ideal way to spend one's spring break.
But this past week, many Sutter Union High School students joined others from numerous different schools who gave up their relaxing vacation in an effort to impact the lives of others. We headed down to Mexico, where we planned to build four homes for truly deserving and needy families. Little did we know, however, that our trip would be no sacrifice at all.
Our first impression upon arriving in Mexico was the immediate poverty surrounding us — it was impossible to ignore. The days progressed as we began construction on the houses. The first day was the most important: building the foundation. We soon realized that the foundation for the house — or even for our own lives — was crucial to any future stability.
After never-ending concrete mixing, we moved on to sawing and working on the house's framework. By the third day, the structure was complete and we worked to finish the roof and begin wrapping the frame with tar paper and chicken wire.
The final — and possibly most tedious — step was mixing and layering the stucco for the walls; but after our four days of work, we were finally able to step back and admire the finished product.
The framework was small, with each house only containing two bedrooms, yet these homes were perceived as mansions. The families we built these homes for physically had nothing, yet they felt overjoyed and found delight in the smallest of things. They shared this love with each and every one of us, giving us much more than we could ever give to them.
Christinah Uppal, a freshman at SUHS, said, "Mexico is an amazing trip. Although the house seems small and insignificant to us, it's where the family will grow up and make memories. It shows us the gifts in our own lives and gives us the opportunity to meet new people and develop lifelong friendships."
Over the course of one week, we constructed and built much more than four houses. We witnessed true love and happiness, developed friendships, families, our individual confidence and inner strength.
Within this simple event, my own life's blessings were revealed, and I desperately hang on to that enlightenment; but with time, I fear, many memories will fade, and supposedly life-changing happenings will lose their original vivacity and meaning.
Whether you experience an eye-opening mission trip to Mexico or any "reality check" occurrence, I challenge everyone to grasp that moment but refrain from letting its influence linger only for a moment, a couple days or even a week. Rather, let these occurrences influence you for a lifetime, as a constant reminder of your blessings throughout life.