An interdenominational registered student organization at Ferris State University will travel south, during spring break, as His House Christian Fellowship members continue their tradition of building homes in Juarez, Mexico.
Students from Central Michigan University and Michigan Technological University are also part of the excursion, according to Cassie Mulder, a College of Health Professions senior from Wayland, Mich.
Ferris' spring break begins Saturday, March 5 and ends as classes resume on Monday, March 14.
“We’ll travel down in 15-passenger vans, and we’ve raised enough money to build four houses this year,” Mulder said. “We are collaborating again with Casas por Christo, a nonprofit based in El Paso, Texas. The poverty level in Juarez, Mexico is huge and, thankfully, it has been taken off the ‘violent cities’ list.”
Mulder said that offering these services in Mexico allows them to work without facing regulatory obstacles, so their groups can complete the construction project in three days. That work begins with a concrete slab being placed, and at completion, the group has erected a structure with doors, windows, electrical service and drywall.
“I don’t think anybody understands, when they prepare for their first project, how we get all of that done,” Mulder said. “A lot of families will set up unusual design elements in their project, so they can accommodate future expansion.”
Build leaders from Casas por Christo direct the efforts, and those who receive the construction support are bonafide members of partner churches in Juarez. Mulder is making her fifth trip to Juarez as part of the His House group, and said that their teams will gather with the recipient families for devotions and a ceremony, once construction is complete.
Chris Price, a senior in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education from Reed City, Mich., will be on his third alternative Spring Break with the RSO. He said that their first-year participants may return home from Juarez with a new appreciation for their own possessions and lodging.
“It will be a shock to some people, who may not know what the conditions will be,” Price said. “They will likely see some homes with cardboard walls, or sections of the building constructed from pallets.”
Price said that he expects their project will be a rewarding experience, because the recipients are grateful, and thankful for the support.
“In one neighborhood where we worked, there was a boy around 11 years old, and another,
around 16, who were joining us to help out,” Price said. “We found out they were trying
to ‘pay it forward,’ as they live in a Casas por Christo house. They wanted to return
PHOTO CAPTION: A group of Ferris State University students with His House Christian Fellowship will help construct four homes in the Juarez, Mexico area as part of an alternative spring break project.