Hands and hearts experience Mexico

By SAMANTHA HALL / Staff Writer

ALABASTER – For a week in Rio Bravo, Mexico, a group of adults and teens from First Presbyterian Cumberland Church put their hands together to build a computer lab for a local school. What the members didn’t realize was how much they personally would be affected.

When the group began its trek to Rio Bravo, it got lost in a small town with dirt roads and makeshift houses.

“Everyone would just smile and wave,” said group member Tracy Cleveland. “Some in our group seemed to be frustrated over being lost, but we felt we weren’t lost at all. God sent us on that detour on purpose.”

Cleveland said without the diversion, the teens and adults may not have seen a true picture of life in that area of Mexico.

“We kept hearing them say how much they realized they took for granted,” Cleveland said. “They got to see these kids who were so happy even without everything we have.”

Kaitlyn Davenport, 17, said visiting Rio Bravo was a culture shock.

“I knew they didn’t have exactly what we have but didn’t realize how different it would be,” Davenport said. “The kids are so appreciative of anything you bring them, especially stuffed animals.”

Pastor Mark Davenport worked in Rio Bravo before and wanted members of his church to have the experience as well.

“You know that you have done work that would have been difficult for the school to accomplish,” Davenport said. “To receive humbly the thankfulness of a school and a community, to see teenagers realize that their faith and their work makes a difference … well, that’s the best day.”

The mission trip group spent almost a week building the computer lab from the foundation up and spending time with locals.

Miles Buvvett, who is a junior at Thompson High School, said interacting with children at the school had the most profound impact on him and that he also knew what they were doing went beyond building a room.

“The job is to build a school building, but your mission is to show them what Christians are about,” Buvvett said