Most of the pictures sent this week have been from the building site for the church. However, this morning I received a lot of pictures from the house site. Check the captions for each picture in the slideshow.
Here is the house built by the missionaries. Fr. Daniel Lenz can be seen blessing the house, and Fr. Michael Mitchell presents the keys to the family.
The final pieces of the roof were installed on the church this morning and the benches are stained. The roof on the house is also complete and the house is painted. Fr. Dan blessed the new house and Fr. Michael presented the keys to the family. The entire group was treated to a fantastic lunch by the family we built the house for. It’s been a wonderful week and everyone is looking forward to doing some sightseeing tomorrow (and showering!).
Below are some pictures from the last day.
Today's update on church construction:
"All 15 pews for the church have been assembled and roughly half have a first coat of stain wax. The roof has been coated with waterproofing paint just needs the metal sheeting put on. The plan for tomorrow is to finish sanding and staining the remaining benches and complete the roof. Here are today’s pictures from the church site."
One more update tonight from the group, again focusing on the church:
"The roof is now covered with plywood and will get painted and covered with metal sheeting in the morning. One of the pews got built with some delay, but we have the process down now and the other 14 will be completed tomorrow."
Here is a summary of the progress on the church as of this morning. Pictures below!
The crew got half of the roof covered with wood this morning and will finish this afternoon along with getting a waterproofing paint coated on. The wood for the pews is cut and ready for assembly this afternoon.
I received a brief update from Fr. Michael today. Here is what he had to say, plus a few pictures of the church work site from John Benson:
We have had two missionaries a little under the weather, but nothing serious. Everyone else is eating very well and the work machinery is now working full speed. We’ve had a lot of good time with the local people.
Fr Dan is doing well. He went to do a funeral today as the local priest was really swamped. Fr Daniel messaged me just now that he was so happy to have been able to go. He’s on his way back now.
Weather has held off nicely. The clouds came in today but no rain.
The house inside has first coat of cement. Outside half finished with first coat.
Roof of church is going up, but only just now starting on the plywood. We’ve got a lot 4 pieces up of about 40.
Flautas for dinner tonight. Chicken tacos for lunch.
All is well!
The missionaries began their work today. Some were mixing concrete, others began working on the foundation of the roof of the chapel, and others began to make friends with some of the local children.
They also got some dancing lessons from the locals! Thanks to John Benson for these pictures and the video.
The missionaries have arrived in Ahuazotepec! They are staying in a new school building and have more amenities available than usual, even with power and showers. After the long day of travel they enjoyed tacos for dinner, but they are headed to bed early to be ready for their work to begin tomorrow.
It is almost spring break at Mount Michael, so our missionaries are getting ready to leave! For those who want to follow their progress from home, please watch this blog for updates throughout the week. Mr. Cormier will post news and pictures whenever he receives them.
Some basic information: this year we have 21 students, 8 dads, and 3 staff members going on the trip. The missionaries will be staying in the larger town of Ahuazotepec in the state of Puebla. They will be working in villages near the town, primarily building a house for one family and also finishing a chapel that has been started in an area that did not have a place to worship as a community. Below are some pictures of the chapel as it is right now; watch for pictures of the changes a week from now.
Please keep all of the participants in your prayers for safe travel, good weather, and a successful mission!
Although the missionaries are sightseeing at Malinalco today, here are a few more pictures of their work. We have some painting, plus a finished house and then shots of the group celebrating with local residents on Thursday evening.
The missionaries finished their work yesterday! Here is Fr. Andrew’s final update.
Dear Friends and Families,
Today was an easy day, in comparison with the last two days doing concrete. We only had to paint the houses, and put the corrugated metal roof on. We all started the day happy, knowing that today we would be giving two families a house to live in, but at the same time not wanting this week to end. We have all made friends here, and we have been received so warmly! Everyone had something to give us, whether it was a kind word, practicing a few phrases of English they had picked up, giving us bread, avocados, we had everything we needed.
Fr. Dan has spent the last few days making for each house a cross he carved and painted himself. Today we mounted the crosses on the front wall of each house, and then we all took part in blessing the new home we left to the families, asking God to be present here always.
At 6:00, we had the final Mass with the townspeople. Many of them came to say good bye. We took with us all the candy, soccer balls, toys, coloring books, that we brought to give out to the kids, and after Mass we all had a great time meeting each other, and exchanging gifts, photos, best wishes, and even a few hugs from friends we made this week. We now have more bread and avocados than we could eat in a week! Everyone just wanted to show their appreciation, and to ask us to come back soon. Maybe we should ask to have two spring breaks! We could start a petition, and have at least 45 signatures right away!
Tomorrow we will have an exciting day as well, visiting a place called Malinalco. We have to leave early, so we will try to pack up what we can tonight, and be ready on time to leave at 7:30. May God bless all the people of this town, that have received us so warmly and found their way into our hearts in such a short time!
In Christ, Fr. Andrew Kolenda, LC
Below: Painting the houses (the Calvary house was a white-pink, while the farm house was more of a turquoise; the inside of both houses is painted white; the smile of the little girl who will be able to sleep in her new house tonight (she told me she already picked out her room!); a picture outside the farmhouse with the “farmers,” or the guys who built it.
Below is Fr. Andrew's report on the work the group did on Wednesday.
Dear Friends and Families,
Today we all had one mission: we needed to finish all the concrete before the end of the day. There was a lot to do at both houses, and it was going to be a real challenge to get it all done. Today we had all the supplies we needed right from the beginning, which was a huge help. Today was also one of the hottest days so far, so a short break in the shade was about all that we could catch during the work.
We still started out our day with a morning reflection in the Calvary church/tent. It is important to begin with that spiritual motivation as well. What I am doing during the day does not just affect me here and now; I’m not just throwing cement on the walls of a house. I can take advantage of the work I do to form my spirit, my willpower, and most importantly, my love for Christ.
We definitely needed a good lunch to keep up our strength, and once again the ladies helping to prepare the food outdid themselves. It really shows something when there are never any leftovers…
Everyone worked long into the afternoon to get all the cement finished, as well as getting the plywood on the roofs. Mass started a bit late because everyone was trying to just get one more thing done before it was time to stop for the day. The pressure was on, but everyone was able to rise to the challenge, and we finished all the concrete, on both houses! Congratulations to everyone for their hard work!
After a dinner of hamburgers prepared once more by Fr. Dan and a couple of volunteers, we all sat around a bonfire, sharing some of our “highs and lows” of the week. It was very inspiring to see what made an impact on each one, what experiences each had that he would take back with him.
Tomorrow is a lighter work day. We have to put on the corrugated metal for the roof, and paint. We are looking forward to seeing the houses fully completed! God bless!
In Christ, Fr. Andrew Kolenda, LC
Attached: hard at work mudding the Calvary house; raising the roof; a view of the Calvary church on top of a hill, where we have our meditations and Mass; having fun around the bonfire
Here are some pictures from Wednesday. They were sent by Mr. Righter, Mr. Rief, and Mr. Nigro. You can see some shots of the town, different phases of work, and some midday snacks.
Mr. Cormier will update this blog whenever he receives pictures or other news from the missionaries while they are in Mexico. Check back during spring break (March 3-10) for any updates!