CCI Youth Group Trip to Reynosa Mexico, July 27-August 2, 2003

19 members of Christian Challenge traveled to the Benito Juarez Orphanage in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico to do painting and roof repairs. Here is a photo journal of the trip. Click on the thumbnails to view each picture enlarged. Use your browser's "Back" button to come back to this page.

This is the room on the front of the main dorm of the orphanage that we replaced the roof on. The pitch was too shallow and water leaked into the dorm each time it rained.

This is the cafeteria where the children take their meals. We ate most of our meals with the children and had a great time fellowshipping with them.

Before each meal all the children have to recite a memory verse. Then they line up neatly and get their food.

Breakfast was often something like french toast, pancakes, cereal, etc. Lunch and supper were things like bean soup with tortillas, etc.

Chris Herndon and Josh Magaña (also known as "Mouth") made friends easily, especially of the feminine persuasion!

Every morning we joined the children for prayer and devotions in the small chapel between the dorm and the schoolhouse.

The children would all pray loudly and fervently. While it sounded like chatter at first, it became a sweet sound as we realized how precious it must seem to the Lord. These guys are prayer warriors!

Morning devotion - One of the orphanage leaders would read through the scriptures, one chapter a day, and discuss the chapter with the children. A neat way to work through the Bible.

The ladies' sleeping quarters inside the main room of the schoolhouse. The ladies were all champs as they put up with difficult conditions without a complaint.

A view of the play area with the new dorm being built in the background. The new dorm will be two stories tall with sleeping areas upstairs and downstairs, bathrooms, kitchen and an enclosed play area for when it rains. They hope to eventually have 5 of these buildings.

Morning devotion in the chapel. The boys sit on the left and the girls on the right. (The first day we were there we didn't realize that so we sat wherever but the rest of the week we honored their way of doing things.)

Another view of morning devotion from outside. (Jade and Hope Martin)

Playtime! Chris Herndon playing volleyball with one of the children.

Look ma! (Kyle O'Neale)

Volleyball is fun!

We left this net at the orphanage along with a lot of other toys and games.

Some prefered to watch and visit.

Patty cake, Patty cake .... language is no barrier. (Hope Martin)

A group from Tennessee came each morning and did a VBS for the orphanage children. Thursday they brought pizza for everyone so we all ate outside.

Pizza is yummy. This photo was taken on the patio of the cafeteria. The house in the background is where the guys slept.

Mmmmmm! This picture is taken from the other side of the patio towards the dorm. You can see the nearly finished roof with untrimmed shingles in the upper left of the picture.

Getting one of the school rooms ready to paint. Lori Martin (left) gets the white board ready to pull down while Courtney Bordelon (right) takes other items off the wall above the window. Faith Martin (center) begins scraping the old paint.

More prep work. Lori Spurgeon (left) and Joi Martin (right) watch as Jade Martin and Megan Winters move some shelves of supplies.

The desks on the wall fold down for school work and fold up for storage. Our girls painted them inside and out.

Lori Spurgeon painted this whole building by herself! (Well, almost!)

OK, so she had some help.(From left) Courtney Bordelon, Adam Wilson, Faith Martin and Hope Martin.

On the second floor (from left to right) Jade Martin, Lori Spurgeon, Faith Martin, Justin Martin, Nick Spurgeon, Joi Martin, Hope Martin, Megan Winters

(From left to right) Jade Martin, Lori Spurgeon, Faith Martin, Justin Martin, Nick Spurgeon, Hope Martin, Joi Martin and Megan Winters paint while Jason McManus works below.

Warren Spurgeon was a one man wrecking crew! We had to tear the roof down to the lower wall and rebuild it to give enough angle for the water to run off.

André draws a crowd of children wherever he goes. These little guys didn't speak much English but they enjoyed working with André.

David is bringing out some of the electrical fixtures as André takes down the stripping over the screen. At the top you can see the plastic they had put up to try to keep the water out of the dorms.

Here you can see the original height of the building. Later you'll see that the new roof is about as tall as David, so it came down about 18 inches, giving enough slope to run the water off when it rains.

David and André begin the process of taking off the old shingles and roll roofing that was not keeping the water out.

Can't think of anything to say about this picture. :)

Here the old roof is just about off, leaving only the roof joists.

Sometimes you have to make a mess to make things better.

André discusses the work with Mark Russell, the orphanage director. Mark's dad, Don, started the orphanage back in the 1960's. Mark has been director for over 10 years.

This photo shows the new wall studs and roof joists. There is much more of an angle now and the end of the room (to the right) is about 18 inches lower than before.

This photo shows how we used old and new materials to rebuild the roof. The reused wood has paint on it while the new wood does not.

You'll notice the ground is much cleaner. The children of the orphanage also helped us clean the area. Every morning they would come out with brooms in hand to clean the patio area.

This was our main construction crew, David McBride, André Martin and Warren Spurgeon (left to right). They worked from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM each day.

We reused almost everything, including some nails. Our nail pulling crew consisted of (left to right) Justin Martin (yellow shirt), Jason McManus (back to camera), Chris Herndon, Josh Magaña, Nick Spurgeon and Adam Wilson (hamming it up for the camera).

Josh Magaña and Chris Herndon pass plywood up to Warren and David as André cuts the next sheet while Jason McManus (left) waits for the next sheet. John, the orphanage maintenance man, checks on the work at the right.

Josh and Chris pass another sheet of plywood up to David and Warren. You can kind of tell about how tall the end of the roof is, aproximately 6 feet.

This is a neat photo of David and Warren working on the roof of the old dorm while the new dorm is being constructed in the background.

We were blessed to get to use an air compressor and nail gun to help with the work. Warren holds the joist in place while David nails it.

Here the decking is just about half way done. You can also see the row of screen going around the wall. Mark Russell requested that we not replace the whole wall with screen, only the bottom portion. This would help keep out some of the driving rain.

André's experience really shined through. He could work a nail gun 4 times faster than anyone else.

When it came time to tack down the felt (tar paper) the guys were joined but a couple of "fresh hands", Nick Spurgeon and Justin Martin.

Beautiful sky.

Justin Martin (left) and Nick Spurgeon helped tack the felt down.

Warren shares a laugh with his son Nick as they work together on the roof.

Justin is a picture of concentration, getting it just right.

These little guys were a big help.

Warren rolls out the felt as David, Nick, Justin and Andre rush to secure it.

Adam and Chris work together to transport a bundle of shingles from the trailer to the roof. The trailer was loaned to us by Ray Setliff AC & Heating. The shingles were donated by C. Rodney McNeal and Sons Lumber company.

Chris Herndon powerlifts a bundle of shingles while David moves another bundle out of the way. (Remember, lift with your knees, not your back!!!)

Each bundle of shingles weighs about 70-80 pounds a piece.

André could nail with a hammer faster than anyone else too. (Just ask Chris Herndon!)

Those knee pads aren't just for laying tile! Warren's used to working with a trowel but he did pretty good with a hammer.

David, Warren and André pound nails while Chris and Josh wait for instructions on where to tote the next bundle of shingles.

Chris looks like he's telling Warren to straighten up that crooked shingle. (This was right around the time André nailed Chris' shoe to the roof! <G>)

After the shingles were installed André put the finishing touches on the flashing by applying tar to any place that might leak.

At this point the roof is essentially finished. Because of a power outage we were not able to put the siding up around the walls above the screen. (No electricity means no saw to cut the siding with.) But it would only take a couple of hours for John, the maintenance man, to finish up.

On Thursday we traveled to an area on the edge of the city dump where thousands of people eak out a living. Someone was already having a service so we joined in with them.

Kyle O'Neale, Jason McManus, Adam Wilson and Megan Winters gather around a lady who asked for prayer.

Jade Martin joins others in praying for a man who asked for prayer.

The children were very hungry for affection and were very friendly. Here Jade Martin (back to camera), Megan Winters (center) and Joi Martin (right) each hold a new friend.

Lori Martin found a new friend, Marta.

Joi Martin with some of her new friends.

This young fellow asked me to take several pictures of him.

Hope Martin has a new buddy.

Ring around the rosey, pockets full of posies ....

Lori Spurgeon holding a newborn infant as the mother holds her one-year old. In the background are kilns for firing bricks. The brick factory has closed down but the community uses th the big tin roof to escape the heat.

It's easy to fall in love with these children. Just ask Lori.

André and Warren learned a new skill - making balloon animals. Our guide for the day was Hector (back to camera) who used balloons to attrack children. He has a passion for winning souls for Christ. "He who has been forgiven much, loves much."

Almost all the children wanted to be held. Megan and Joi carried children much of the time we were there.

Megan Winters and friend.

This baby really enjoyed the balloons.

Courtney Bordelon spins a child around as they both laugh.

Joi Martin and Courtney Bordelon spin like tops. In the background behind Courtney you can see a horse drawn wagon. Many of the poeple in this community make their living by going around town collecting garbage and trash.

"Patty-cake" seems to be an international language.

Love in any language ....

Marta captured our hearts, especially Lori Martin's.

In the background you can see some of the houses of this neighborhood. Most are made of scraps from whatever people can find.

One of the silent brick kilns can be seen at the right.

You wonder what the future holds for this little one.

André quickly mastered the art of making balloon animals and flowers. Lori assists and translates.

After visiting the dump area we went to the church that Hector works with. They're building an innovative facility that features a pond in the middle! The church is in a square around the pond and the pulpit area is over to the right. The roof has not been put on yet but they hold services just about every night.

This is a better view of the pulpit area. The level above the pulpit is for the future orchestra and choir.

Our youth joined in the service, clapping along even though they didn't understand the words. Later each youth had the opportunity to give a greeting through a translator.

At the top of the picture you can see a couple of people kneeling at a prayer rail. Many who came into the service would stop and pray before coming on in to the church. At the end of the service this is where they pray for people.

This is a view from the very top floor toward the pulpit area. We got a tour of the facility, including their dorm area and food closet. The ministry feeds everyone who wants a free meal 5 days a week. They average over 200 people per meal. They also have a clothes closet and beds to sleep almost 100 people for when mission groups come down from the states. They have a vision to impact their community.

Our last morning at the orphanage the children gathered at the front, extended their hands towards us and prayed a prayer of blessing for us. Several of them shared things with us and some of our group shared with them, all through translators. There were many tears cried as all of our hearts have been knit together. We have been changed.

The children of the orphanage helped us carry our luggage to the trailer.

Some last minute photos to remember people. The schoolhouse that the ladies stayed in and painted.

Enrique and Leticia are the Mexican directors of the orphanage. They live at the orphanage and provide leadership and oversight.

After leaving the orphanage we went to Progresso to do som souveneir shopping. Here Kyle O'Neale stands in Mexico while Joi Martin and Megan Winters stand in the US and Hope Martin splits the difference. This picture was taken on the bridge over the Rio Grande River.

Our last night on the trip ended with a birthday party for three people who had birthdays while in Mexico - Faith Martin (adjusting her hair at left), Courtney Bordelon (next to Faith) and Lori Spurgeon (next to Courtney).