As they arrive home today, their bodies will be tired and worn, their hearts full and their minds already thinking ahead to next year.
The 38-member mission group from Issaquah Christian Church have spent the past week building a needy family a new home in Mexico. Almost immediately they will switch over to selling fireworks to help pay for next year’s trip.
“It’s shocking,” said Hunter Knox, 18, of Issaquah, said before leaving. “When you go down there, it’s a whole new world. (On the U.S. side) it’s all green and lush, and as soon as you drive across it’s grey.”
This year’s trip is Knox’s fourth.
The group spends the week-long trip camped in an old grape vineyard, in a small, nameless town near Tijuana. The first day is spent setting up their camp, made up of old Army tents.
After two days of getting settled and introducing themselves to the community, the group begins construction of the house they build in just a few short days.
The small 22-by-11 foot house — which is the average size of a house there — is constructed in about four days, including a concrete floor, framing and stucco.
The church has a model the size of one of the houses on its property on Issaquah-Hobart Road.
Many in the group, like Knox, don’t speak Spanish, but that doesn’t stop them from communicating.
“The simple act of compassion, of love, is all it takes to show that you care,” Knox said.
The group will live in poverty while there, like the families they help. The camp doesn’t have electricity, just a generator to cook their meals.
The lack of modern day conveniences didn’t worry the group, since the trip is all about serving.
“I am really excited to meet the family,” said first-timer Jeremiah Matters, 15. “Everyone says that the families are really cool and that they get attached to the kids.”
But now that the week is over, the group has next year to look forward to, and to pay for.
Starting at noon on June 28, the church will open its fireworks stand, on the church lawn at 10328 Issaquah-Hobart Road, and will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. through the Fourth of July.
The sales will culminate on the Fourth, when the church will host its Freedom Celebration Day beginning at 10 a.m. The event will feature a Classic Car Show and Shine, with dozens of cars on display. The special car of the event is a roadster that can go 230 miles per hour. At 3 p.m., they’ll have a special “nitro fire-up.” The event will also feature live music by the church band “Seventh Angel.” The event is free to the public.
In addition to raising money with the fireworks stand, the mission group also sells christmas trees in the holiday season.
No matter what it takes to raise the money, it’s a good bet that Knox will be there again, helping raise money for another trip down to Mexico.
“I am not opposed to going for the rest of my life,” Knox said. “It’s like a drug. You get addicted to that feeling.”