How we do things is as important as the things that we do.


Early Advice: We were bessed with advice from missionaries with decades of experience, and advice from hundreds of Americans that joined us on mission trips.

It is good to distribute food and basic necessities, but do not return to the dame neighborhood each month or the people will become dependent on help, like in parts of the United States. Give people the little help and encouragement they need to find their own way. Many problems are Mexican problems that require Mexican solutions. Help cannot be a replacement for self-initiative.

There is great dignity in work. It is better to help a local entrepreneur to hire local people. See the problem. Ask families how they think that they can solve their problems. In the end, the problems and challenges belong to them.

Admit mistakes. Learn from mistakes.

You have a responsibility to the people you help and the people who trust you with their donations.

Giving donated clothing to the poor can be a blessing, however consider how this is done and the total impact. Many ladies in the colonias gather and repair used clothes which they sell to earn money for groceries. If you bring donated clothing from America and give it to the people, those ladies have no customers. Consider buying used clothes from those Mexican ladies to distribute to the poor. It will cost Paper Houses more money, but will do much more good.

When possible, buy items in the colonias for the poor, the schools, and projects so that the local economy is strengthened.

Ask families what they are doing to solve their challenge so that you can support their work and not replace it.