I am typing with hands completely covered in blisters and scrapes. Brian, a student from Denver, and I are vying for the "stigmata" award, as both of us suffer a large red blister in the center of our hands.

Today was gratifying but hard. We poured cement, formed a line and passed sand up stairs to create a foundation, and created the first part of the roof. By 3:30 we were ready to stop.

We came back for a quick shower and then went to a tawdry tourist town called Rosarito. I didn't find much to interest me, but the kids seemed to find kitsch value in the place. The girls came back with braids in their hair and shot glasses that had a kid peeing into a cup. Then Justin came down the street with the most enormous sombrero I have ever seen. I spent all my authority chips demanding that he not wear the hat to dinner.

The reflection this evening was led by Heather and Brian. Heather has a wide smile, which she uses a lot, as she is incredibly funny, and an honest, open stare. Her nickname in the group is "the rottweiler": she will attack if provoked. She passed around a picture of her mother and herself taken when Heather was 4 or 5. Heather understands the sacred in her life through her relationship with her mother, who Heather says is always there for her and supports her 100 percent. Her mother is from China and has been the major force not only in Heather's life but in her extended family.

Heather's story of being a first-generation American, pushed to excellence by her mother and father, reminded me that every person in the world has an amazing story; sometimes you just have to ask.

Brian also reflected on a person in his life. He has a friend and mentor who embodies the forces of inspiration, risk, childhood, and connection. Brian painted a beautiful picture using those words as colors to describe the influence of this friend, who, Brian told us, urged him to go on this mission trip.

Both of these young people have reminded me of who God is: God supports me 100 percent, and at the same time pushes me into uncertain and therefor highly creative and inspirational journeys.

And I feel God with us on this trip.

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