Where to even begin! One year ago at this time, I had just moved to San Diego from the Pacific Northwest. I was getting acquainted with my new surroundings and gearing up to start my year-long internship. Now, as my internship comes to a close, I’d love to share a few of the highlights!
In my past involvement as a volunteer with Amor (10 facts about Amor), I had only been here during the busy spring and summer seasons, working in Mexico every week. Starting my internship in the fall, when not as many groups come to build, I was introduced to the day to day work that goes on at the office in San Diego. We had fundraisers and events to plan, meetings to go to, specialty trips to organize and lead, etc. It was different than what I had done before, but I could see that everything we were doing here at the office was directly benefiting our work in Mexico.
Christmas time came around and I didn’t quite know what to think! Living in sunny San Diego still hadn’t sunk in for me yet and I was missing the cold, rain, and snow of Washington. I guess I should be careful what I wish for though, because on New Year’s Eve we experienced below freezing temperatures and snow on the hills in Tijuana. A very tangible reminder that it’s not always the assumed sunny and 75 degrees in this part of the world and the houses we build can help alleviate the inevitable cold weather effects.
Fast forward to the spring season and our annual Spring Dedication ceremony. This year, we dedicated our new Tijuana camp and commemorated Amor’s 35th Anniversary. Pastors on our Baja Ministry Planning Board joined the Amor staff for a morning of worship and prayer. I’m going to be honest with you - my Spanish is not that great. But in that moment, when the pastors prayed over the new camp and the upcoming spring season, I understood that prayer needs no translation.
Spring is one of our busiest times of the year and I had the opportunity to spend it working with our La Cocina meal program in three of our camps: Hacienda, Tecate, and Puerto Penasco. I had never been to our Penasco location before; it was a great experience - meeting all of our awesome groups that come to serve in Penasco and getting to work with Pastor Eladio, his wife Maria, and the rest of their family was such a blessing. Working in Tecate is always fun for me as it brings back memories of previous springs when I did volunteer work. The first week we served 200 people (five groups) through our La Cocina program. Waking up every day at 4am is not my favorite thing in the world, but the people I got to work with and the groups we served made it worth it!
Being an intern, I got to try my hand at a lot of different things over the course of my year. The summer season arrived and I switched gears again; I spent the past two months in Mexico working with our Field Team out on the worksites in both Rosarito and Tijuana. Being in Rosarito again took me straight back to my first trip in high school and my summer as a Project Nexus volunteer. It felt familiar to me, a safe place.
I experienced God at work in so many ways over the summer; both in the serious moments when a key gets handed over to a family who, just a week before was living in a shack made of scrap wood, and in the not-so-serious moments when groups find laughter and fun in the midst of hard work. I could go on and on about the families I got to meet, the groups I had the privilege to work with, the many awesome moments we all shared; but I will just leave you with these final pictures, because sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words.
It’s been a great year! The end of my internship is bittersweet - I’m excited to head back to Washington, but it’s going to be hard to leave all the great people I have met here. I probably shouldn’t be too worried though - I couldn’t shake coming to Mexico in some capacity (whether it be as a trip participant or a volunteer) for the past nine years. So I guess I won’t say goodbye. I’ll just say...see you later!