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Sunday, June 4, 2017
Today is graduation. It was also the dedication of the Idaho Falls temple. Both events matter, but one brought me peace and the other caused me stress. It is a new experience having a kid that cares about the ceremony, the party, the time .... anything.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Thursday, April 20, 2017
I have prayed that I can relate in words the experience that we had this Spring Break 2017. We went to Tijuana, Mexico to build a house for Mirium. Miriam had been an alcoholic for most of her life until about three months ago. Miriam had always believed in God, but until recently had not appreciated the full extent of his Mercy. She lives in Tijuana and had lived in a small shanty/house on a hill next to a large sink hole that has recently destroyed many homes and streets in her neighborhood. Through prayer she was chosen by Spark of Hope to be the recipient of the Gift from God, through of organization of a new home. Our family was privileged to participate in the Giving of this new home.
We started off by visiting an orphanage in Tijuana where Edith explained to us how she came to be taking care of many of orphans, and how the Lord answers her prayers on a regular basis. One example: The government was going to shut the orphanage down because it did not have enough bathrooms and of some of the conditions it was not meeting. About a month before the orphaage was to be shut down, a group of Russian came and built all three bathrooms for her, this was after she had fasted and prayed for three days for help. Each day she prays for the needs of the orphans and each day someone shows up with food or money to help them. She is a living testimony of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. She was glowing with light as she bore witness of the Savior.
Mirium’s New Home.
We got to participate in the process of constructing the walls, setting the cement for the porch, painting the external walls, building the false ceiling, and the roof, and helping to run the wires for the electricity. I (Dad, Tony) help build the walls of the two bathrooms, the external walls, and helped to build the false ceiling and the roof. Mom (Kelly) helped paint the external sheeting of the house, build the walls of the two bathrooms, and helped with building the false ceiling. Eliza spent the first day painting the external sheeting/walls. It required a lot of bending and rolling paint. She also helped with running the wiring for the electricity after the frame of the home was built. Max helped paint the external walls, and helped with mixing of the cement, and moving the cement to set up for the beams to support the porch. Marcos helped to run the wiring after the frame was built. He put Tyvek sheeting on with a staple gun. He also helped to keep some of Mirium’s grand children occupied.
After we were through with our portion of the construction phase of builiding the home we met together with Miriam to dedicate her home. We all met inside and then we sang “Come ye children of the Lord”, the second verse in Spanish to Mirium, and then we all knelt down while Chase P., one of the workers, offered a beautiful prayer in Spanish. The Spirit was overwhelming. Miriam then shared her testimony of the Savior and read a letter from her Son who was serving on a mission in another part of Mexico. I got to translate the letter as she read it. There was not a dry eye in the house as we felt the Spirit as her son testified of the how the Love of God is felt through service. I dd not translate- the Lord helped me translate. He loosened my tongue. I spoke much more clearly and understood the Spanish more clearly than normal- only through the Grace of God. We then hugged and each family got to take pictures with Miriam. Miriam invited us to come back and visit her home anytime when it is done.
Each day was hot. I did not have sunscreen the first day, and I had a sun burn on my face and neck (It did not lessen my resolve) The work was hard, but there is no description for the feeling of accomplishment/wellbeing and gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of helping Mirium. The food at Chispa was excellent. It is made by one of the families that watch over the property while Brad and Kim are gone.
We even had the hardship of having no running water for the last two days in Tijuana - but even this did not slow down the work.
We also had the problem of placing the longest external wall backwards - and had to work through how to make it work. Not even a word was said as to who was in charge of building and placing the wall (me). There was no blame for the error, there was just figuring out how to work with it. In the end, the error will turn out to be a blessing for Miriam.
Having the opportunity to see that your work and service immediately can have a great effect on others is deeply fulfilling. Miriam and her family came to the construction site daily to help and to see the progress.
What magnified the intensity of the experience was scripture study in the morning with the whole group. We shared thoughts and insights and felt the combined strength and testimony of our group.
The Tijuana Temple (From Tortillas to Temples- made by hand)
We ended with going to the Tijuana Temple to do baptisms for the dead. This beautiful Temple is built in the Colonial Mission style. We spoke with one of the workers that helped to build the Temple. Much of the Temple was built by the handiwork of Local Artisans and workers. We spoke with Jorge, a member who worked on building the Temple. He talked with pride about how they used a heavy iron latter to get to the roof and work on the Temple.
In Tijuana, the tortillas are not the only hand made piece of work.
We went to the Tijuana Temple to do baptisms for the dead. We went down to the baptistery and we were in awe of the simple beautiful decor and artwork. I got the chance to use my Spanish as I baptized in the Temple. They let me baptize in Spanish. The Roper family brought some names and we had some names that the Temple gave had us to do. The workers were beautiful and the Spirit was divine. When came out of the Temple we talked with Marcos, a tour guide, from Guatamala.
We were then taken to the best fish tacos in Tijuana at Ticos. Kelly had the fish tacos, I had ceviche on a tostada, and I also had the “gobernador” or the the “governer” It was a deep fried taco with fish, guacamole and lined with white mexican cheese. Excellent.