Oaxaca, Mexico

Brody International

Oaxaca, Mexico

Josh and Emily Merchant are educators who run a small school in Oaxaca, Mexico. Emily serves as Principal of the school, and Josh teaches Physical Education in addition to maintaining the school property.

Brody International was given the opportunity to build a home for the Merchant family. By relieving the financial and logistical burden, the Merchant’s are able to focus more of their time, energy, and finances on bettering the lives of the people in their community through their school. 

Visit https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/24DEEB to read more about Josh and Emily!

RECAP: Oaxaca 2023 w/Brody International

When the opportunity came up to go with the Brody Team to Oaxaca, I was excited but had no idea what to expect. I didn’t even know where Oaxaca was except that it was in Mexico…somewhere. I love Brody’s mission to serve and support those on the front lines of ministry and could not be more excited to see it in action. God has been putting on my heart to be intentional about looking outside of myself and my to-do list and choosing to serve and invest in people more. Little did I know He was sending me to a culture where people come first. A place where being on time is secondary to the quality of the time you spend with those in your community. A church where it didn’t matter that we were strangers they’d never met before, they welcome us with hugs and called us family. And the crazy part is that, in a way, it felt like I’d never left home. As I come home to California, the thing that is sticking with me is that the family of God is just that—Family. No matter the language barrier, the distance, or the cultural differences, to be with God’s people is to be home. The Merchant Family and the people of Oaxaca demonstrated that truth this week in a way that will not soon be forgotten.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you, the Team was amazing! From day one, everyone stepped up to help and support each other in whatever way needed. No one complained, no one argued. We worked hard and laughed harder. Tyson, Gabe, Elliot, Julia, Grace – I am grateful to each one of you for your example of patience, joy, and servanthood.

Here is a quick recap of our time in Oaxaca:

Friday, November 3rd:

  • Left in the early hours of the morning and arrived in Oaxaca about 5:30pm
  • Got settled in the apartment we were staying at
  • Met the Merchant Family (Josh and Emily and their 3 kids-Caleb, Ryan and Alison) and walked to a restaurant in the village for tacos—obviously.


Saturday, November 4th:

  • Headed to the house to figure out what needed to be done and make a game plan
  • Biggest priority for the week was to install doors so the house could be secured and the family could start the process of moving in
  • While the guys started on the door frames and finishes, the girls along with rest of the family worked on cleaning out bedrooms, staining the doors, and painting the closet pieces. Gabe and the boys also worked on breaking up and removing a section of concrete patio in the backyard.


Sunday, November 5th:

  • We attended church with the Merchants in the morning. The pastor and the congregation all welcomed us with open arms and it was so fun to experience a church service in a new culture
  • After church we went to lunch in small town called Tule and did some exploring downtown in the Zócalo and surrounding markets


Monday, November 6th:

  • Back to work we go. More work on the doors and closet in the morning along with repainting and staining the bench in the living room.
  • A couple of the doors were too tall for the doorways, so Ty and Elliot had to cut them down and also build the door frames for some as well.
  • We broke for lunch and got to visit the school where Josh and Emily work
  • In the afternoon, we continued work on the finishes and started painting the bathroom
  • After dinner, hosted at the church by a family from the church who cooked authentic Oaxacan posole for us, Tyson, Elliot, and Josh headed back to the house for a couple of hours to finish building some bathroom shelf boxes as well as put the final coat of stain on the doors.


Tuesday, November 7th:

  • We took a break from working and spent the morning at the ruins of Monte Albán. What an amazing place! (See pictures below, because words just won’t come close)
  • This afternoon was about whatever we could finish. Hanging doors, painting the bathroom, finishing the closet, installing door hardware, staining the shelf boxes, and cleaning up.
  • Success! When we left that evening, the house was locked up for the first time since the remodel had started. The closet was finished, doors were installed, rooms were cleaned, kitchen cabinet hardware was installed, the upstairs wall cap was done, and everyone was exhausted in the best way possible.
  • Bittersweet goodbyes were said after a 2nd delicious meal hosted at the church. The pastor of the church, Ciro, came and shared how grateful he was for our work and how this investment will help provide more stability for the Merchant family as well as will be a blessing for the whole community as they are able to open their home to others. Another great reminder and so cool to see the vision of Brody reflected in his words.


Wednesday, November 8th:

  • Our return trip went smoothly. We were even able to make an earlier connecting flight (after a breathless walk/jog through the airport) from LAX to Sacramento and arrived home in the early afternoon


There are many more stories to share and details I’m sure I missed. Here are some pictures to help fill in the gaps. Also, I’m sure that, if you ask anyone of the team, we’d be happy to tell you all about it


Hannah DeYoung

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Brody International is a non-profit organization that uses their gift of construction to serve communities in need. Founded by Tyson Steward and Andrew Klein of Dynamic Trades Inc. Brody International combines an expertise in construction and project management with a love for serving others.