(Author’s note: I fully intended to post on our first day of work Monday evening, but, dang, if I didn’t fall asleep on my keyboard.)
Folks began slowly to stir starting at 6:00 Monday morning; strong coffee waking us for the day ahead. We began with our annual Monday morning visit to the students’ weekly Mexican flag ceremony. A color guard of some of the older students smartly presented the flag to the student body. We were all impressed with the precision of the guard and the attentiveness of the students to the ceremony.
After the ceremony, Rod, who with his wife Tina, runs the Rancho, gave us a tour of the grounds. For some of us, this was a trip down memory lane. We pointed to slabs of concrete poured, buildings sided, and, at least once, noted things inadvertently destroy: “Oh, I remember when our team stepped through that skylight!”
The most moving moment was when we toured the “Victor House,” the group home built for the adult with special needs, who will most likely live there the rest of their lives. (It is named after Victor, who came to Rancho Santa Marta with significant disabilities at age 11.)
There, randomly flipping through a book, was Ruben, a youngster with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Rod explained that he had been rejected by his family and would stay here at the Rancho, loved and cared for. For a time Ruben seemed oblivious to our presence, but eventually he got up and gave Rod a big hug. As we left Ruben came to us and with a broad smile shook our hands as we left. Brad got a big hug. It was a reminder of the love of Christ made known to “the least of these, my brothers and sisters” that makes RSM a special place. (Our encounter with Ruben became the source of our reflections at Chapel that evening.)
So with the tour over we started out to our job sites for the morning. Josh, Sam, Peter, and Tad were off with Rod’s sons to bale hay, while a bunch of us went to the orchard to pick peaches. The ripening peaches were to be taken to market in San Vicente to provide revenue for the Rancho. It was hot work in the sun, but we picked many peaches. (For reasons not completely clear, fourteen boxes of them showed up on our doorstep at the end of the day. Cora has eaten quite a few, but I don’t thing she is up to the challenge of dispatching 14 boxes.)
Rick, Tim, Marcus, and Linn went to the new high school wing to install windows and prep it for the whole team to begin work on it today.
All in all, it was a solid day of work on the hottest RSM day we have experienced over the years. But we are of good spirits and solid laughter as we have gone through the day.
And many of us had the best night’s sleep we have had in ages.
Oremos por nosotros.