For several years now, I have been travelling to Guayaquil, Ecuador in the Summer, to participate in a short-term mission trip with a group of men from our church (Peachtree Presbyterian in Atlanta, GA). Over the last five years, we have built somewhere in the neighborhood of forty two homes for some of the poorest people in the world. Yes, you read that correctly: 42. Read previus blogs from June of 2010 and June of 2011 to track our work.

  These are simple, relatively small, split-bamboo walled homes that are roughly the sixe of a large bedroom. We put them together from a kit that is manufactured in Guayaquil, at a ministry called Hogar de Cristo (Homes of Christ; as they say, “More than a house–A Home.”) The kit has nine posts to be put intot he ground, floor joists, floor boards, eight large wall sections, an inside dividing wall, and roofing materials. Many of the homes have a stair kit, as the home is built off the ground. No water, no electricity; but if you and your family, and me and my family, and another family have all been living in a one-bedroom apartment, and now you have come up with the money to buy a small piece of land, and we show up and buy a house kit and put it together for you, you feel like a King or Queen at the end of the day.

  This year, for the first time, we had more men apply for the trip than we had room for–a nice problem to have. So the team is now complete for the year, and planning is underway. Each of the home kits costs about $1100; and guys have stepped up and offered to buy one or more. It’s amazing. Now I am about to contact some people to see if they want to provide one of the food baskets that we give to each homeowner-a paltry $50 each (that will not be a problem.)

  The problem? Airfare, in a word. Delta, which used to fly Atlanta to Guayaquil direct, has cut the connection out. American is our only option, and the cost as of today is easily twice what it cost us last year to fly. Yes, I know the cost of fuel has gone up, but really-THAT much?! So we are looking at options, trying to see what wobbling travel dates a day or so on either end would do (save several hundred dollars, it turns out), but what it boils down to is that this darn-well-planned trip is turning out to cost a good bit more this year. And that frustrates the dickens out of me.