Talk to Grant, Emmett and Ike Huff about their recent trip to Mexico and you will get words like “fun” or “great” or “awesome.” All are typical words to describe an ordinary family vacation.
But this was no ordinary trip, according to their father, John, who took his sons on a hard-working and life-changing journey filled with giving and growing.
The Honeyville father and sons were in Mexico in February with a charitable organization called Spark of Hope Foundation. Founded by Brad Christensen of Utah County, it brings together volunteers who cross the border to build homes for families in need.
John said Christensen was once his boss at familysearch.org When he left that job about seven years ago, Christensen formed the foundation to continue a program he had started with the priest quorum in his LDS ward.
It began as a simple idea for a service project about 15 years ago. But, John said, the priests didn’t want an average project, they wanted “to do something that mattered.” Christensen arranged for them to go to Mexico and help construct a home. The experience was so rewarding the boys asked to go again – and they did.
Now Christensen averages about a trip a month, sometimes taking families, sometimes corporations or sometimes, as in this case, fathers and sons. John said he had tried before to be part of a group headed to Mexico, but they were always booked.
When he heard there was space on this trip, John said he jumped at the chance to go. Bringing along his sons was an added bonus. Grant, who is in the eighth grade at Box Elder Middle School, was old enough to pass the12-year-old age requirement, and Emmett, at 11, could squeak by, but Ike was only nine.
“They made an exception,” John said. “They told me I could take him and we would just see how it went.” Ike became the unofficial public relations officer, making friends with all the neighborhood children, in spite of the language barrier.
The Huffs joined a “38-man construction crew” in Tijuana, staying in a group facility Christensen had constructed during an earlier trip. Fifteen adults and 23 young men and boys filled the five bedrooms, sharing bunkbeds or sleeping on the floor for three days and eating in a communal kitchen.
Read the rest on the story in this week’s edition of the Leader.