Most, if not all, of you know that Eric and I began taking our kids to Mexico each summer about 5 years ago. Although we’ve tied these trips with some wonderful family vacations, we’ve found that nothing builds our family legacy like building a house for someone we don’t know, in a culture that isn’t familiar, for the sake of disrupting our comfort zone. We do it each year and it doesn’t get old! It doesn’t get tired. It definitely doesn’t get boring. Honestly, it is really, really exciting. And a little bit hot and really quite tiring. But 100% worth it!
During our first trip, we met a wonderful family, the Hughes, from Tennessee. For the last few years our families joined together in Mexico to build, all while praying for someone, ANYONE, to join us. We weren’t just trying to prove to others we weren’t crazy, we were trying to share the incredible JOY we feel with someone else.
Our joy this year didn’t just come from building a house (or the fact we actually were able to build 2 houses). It came from sharing the joy of giving with others we love. This year, God answered that prayer in a way only HE can. This year we went to Mexico with a team of 52 people, 1/3 of which ranged from ages 3 to 17. Some of these people we knew before the trip, but many we didn’t know at all. Boy, do we know them now! We know each child and their willingness to give of themselves while working, their ability to find fun in the work and their excitement when they communicate with the local kids in Mexico—through soccer, through cameras, through Google Translate! We know each teenager and each adult, who willingly put themselves in a position to persevere through the difficult and unknown for the sake of a stranger. And the families we served are no longer unknown. One, a rather private family, and the other, boisterous and eager to be part of the activity, but both in need of a home.
Each family is told that the home is a gift from God. It is not a gift from Amor or even a gift from the Americans who built it. It is, completely and wholly, a gift from Him.
I have always considered these homes a gift to our family as well. This year it was a privilege to share this gift with others. Many of the individuals who participated are hoping and planning to return to Mexico with us next year. Would you consider joining us? We plan to be in Mexico over Memorial Day weekend 2018.
Oh, that reminds me! We learned one more thing during this trip…building in May is much more pleasant than building in July!
We hope to see you in Tijuana next year!
The Dunavant’s are home and survived the Do Unto Others Adventure 2015 to Mexico. As always it was an incredible blessing to our entire family. There is something about serving others that always leaves you more blessed than the family you served.
See pictures here.
This year was a brand new adventure. On the second day, the region of Mexico we were serving in received more rain in one day than they have had since 1902. These families don’t deal with rain like this on a regular basis. Many of the members of the community could be seen sweeping the rain out of their homes and trying to keep their possessions as dry as possible (Not an easy task in a strong rain storm). It is times like this when you realize how much we take for granted in our day to day lives. I’ve never had to worry whether an afternoon rainstorm might ruin my food or leave my bedding and clothes unbearably wet for the evening.
When we finished on day 3, we were able to leave the family with a dry home that only needed an application of stucco to the outside. Fortunately, Amor sends groups down on a regular basis to finish homes that are not completed when the longer trips leave. We were able to work alongside the family to build them the home and it was an incredible experience to see their joy and gratitude.
We have tentatively set the dates of the 2016 Adventure for July 16 – 18. Put it on your calendar and consider bringing your whole family to join us. I promise you won’t regret it.
Blessings to you all,
Eric & Angel
Eric and I are kinda crazy. Lots of people think so.
We aren’t crazy ALL the time. Just in the summer, when it is time to travel. And maybe in the springtime, when we start to plan our travel. We do things that no one in their right mind would ever think of doing. I promise, we don’t try to be crazy. It just sort of happens.
This year’s big Dunavant vacation included family fun from Canada to California to Mexico–it was a continental journey! Oddly enough, after all the sightseeing, flying, swimming, boogie boarding and exploring, Mexico was the highlight of our trip. We had been working toward this goal for nearly 20 days (yes, 20 days–I told you we were crazy). We were finally to our grand finale–serving.
I kind of wondered what this year would be like. Would we have that same feeling as last year? Would it feel old and tired? Would we miss the exciting, exhilarating emotions?
It was like we had never left. The tents were there, but this time we had packed smarter. The row of outhouses was still there, but this time it wasn’t quite so bad to have no plumbing.
We had a new family. The young family from last year had been replaced by a family matriarch who asked for a home to be built on her property for her daughter, who was in school. Ermalinda was a solemn woman who never failed to smile when she saw Gracyn hopping and skipping around the build site. She was eager to share her homemade popsicles with the hot, thirsty workers and cried and prayed through the moving key ceremony. You see, it was all the same and all very different but a completely amazing experience once again.
Tijuana is dusty and dirty. It is not a place that you “tour” and I wouldn’t suggest exploring it on your own. That being said, it is a remarkable place to experience, to serve and to savor. . . year after year.
**Read more about the Dunavants’ travel here under Eric’s Blog **
This blog is written by Angel Dunavant and Angel Dunavant is independent of LPL Financial. The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
From August 3rd-5th, the Dunavant family and members of the Kardia team and their families traveled to Baja, Mexico to participate in the Amor 3-day Home Build Project. They met in San Diego and traveled across the border where they met members of the family they would be helping: Ramiro, Daniela, and Fernanda. Over the next 72 hours, everyone worked tirelessly together to build the house. The group ate fabulous Mexican food, showered with milk jugs, and slept outside!
It was a rewarding experience for everyone, and the new homeowners were so touched by the group’s efforts. The Dunavant family and everyone on our team look forward to participating in another mission trip soon. We hope that more friends and family can join us next time! Please visit our Photos page to see more of our journey.