Homes of Hope
It's not every day that you meet a new friend & build a home for them within 48 hours yet this is what I got to do this past week! Thankfully, I work for a company that sees value in "giving back". A group of coworkers & I were sent to Mexico to build homes for some desperately in need families. I wish I could take each of you with me! Since I can't, here are some photos to better explain the experience.
First off: Meet our family! This is Javier & Lilia, Darey, Leonel & Natalia. Their weekly salary is less than $100. If you look at the photo of just the children, you'll see them standing in front of their "house". It's a very small, one room shack, built of borrowed wood (yes, they actually have to return the wood since they will no longer need it) & other makeshift materials.
The first morning, as the team assembled the tools and materials, the family quickly jumped in to participate. One very special thing (of many special things) about Homes of Hope is that there is a process for each family to walk through prior to us arriving. The family must first purchase the land and go through an application process. So once we get there, we aren't just giving them something for free, we are investing, with them, in a life change. The families who receive homes are eager to join in the work. In fact, they have already been working very hard for months (if not more) in preparation for this day.
Here are some photos from both Day 1 and Day 2. Watch how the build progresses to completion. One thing I'd like to point out is that although it is hard work, you'll see many smiles! These pictures will show a glimpse of happiness found in blessing others.
During the second day of the build, as the finishing touches were put on the home, I was able to go with the family to Walmart. As a team, we raised an amount of money for the family to go on a shopping spree for items they needed and wanted for the home. This was a special time on the bus ride as Lilia shared food she had cooked for us. She and Javier also shared pieces of their story through a translator. They shared their faith. They shared their love story. They shared their hopes. When asked what Lilia was most excited for in her new home, she answered "I'm most excited that I'll no longer have to worry about wild animals coming in our home at night". Their previous home didn't have a door that latched.
As we drove closer to our destination Javier pointed out a few mansions up on a hill. He is a bricklayer & helped build those homes. It was eye opening to me that even though he labors on these elaborate homes, he would still be so thrilled and excited for the small, modest home we were building for him. What an example of not living in comparison but rather gratitude!
At the close of Day 2, the shopping had been done & the home was finished. Javier, Lilia and the children were waiting outside, to walk in the front door for the first time. We gathered and each of took turns, holding the keys & speaking blessings over the family. We then presented them with a family Bible, a photo of our entire group in front of the finished home and finally, the keys. They walked in as a family. I could hear the shrieks of joy from the kids. Javier & Lilia were crying. They took a few moments alone and then opened their door to welcome us back in as their "first guests".
I'm sharing all of this to encourage you. Maybe you can't leave tomorrow for a missions trip. So what can you do, right where you're at? What attitude of gratefulness can overwhelm your life? What example can you set for your kids today? What can you do for those around you? Find out! If you'd like to learn more about Homes of Hope, click here. Thanks for reading along and sharing this experience. Be blessed and live well.