Thursday, December 5, 2013

Strong and Brave

Two years ago we built in an area where we had the privilege of meeting some amazing families. Today was so emotional as we returned to see how those families are doing today.

Theresa is a single mom with 3 children. She is meticulous and even apologized that her house could not be more tidy and was so thankful for our visit. Her house was spotless and and her pride of ownership was so evident. We had the chance to hear how her life has changed since having a new home. Despite her husband leaving her, she said that she was " strong and brave" and was working hard to pay for the electricity on her own. Her house provided her with a means to protect and care for her family. She spoke through tears how she wishes she could help others to build houses so that they could feel blessed the way she has, but must stay home to care for her children. She still has the strong sense of community she displayed the first time we were here when she cooked for all the workers with the resources that were pooled from neighbours.

Reyna is another life worthy of the title "strong and brave". Returning to visit her answered so many of the questions I have had each time I come and go from ElSalvador. Two years ago we saw briefly that she was an amazing seamstress, I mean truly talented. However, she had nowhere to work without a house to sew in. Her dream was to be able to sew as a means to support her family. Today we visited her in the house we built long ago.  Inside was a table with material and a measuring tape. Against the wall there stood a sewing machine that she had worked hard to buy! Best of all, she showed us the things she had made, beautiful dresses to sell within her community. God gave her a house so she could live out her dream!

It was clear that the dresses were far more valuable than the amount she was getting for them in her own village and she was asked why she doesn't sell them for more. Her answer was clear and simple. Leaving her home to sell her dresses although for more money would mean sacrificing the time she knew was important in raising her children.

I really feel that God used Reynas story to speak to our team and to me personally. He showed us just how big He is and how important we are to Him. He knows our hearts desires. He had a plan for Reynas life and as a team we were only a small part of it. God was there before we arrived two years ago and he was still there when we returned. I can only imagine what he has planned for these women because they are strong and brave and trusting in Him.

We were asked where we saw Jesus this week and how has it changed us. There is no question that I saw Jesus at work here today in the lives of these women and in this moment I really feel that God was affirming my life through Reynas. I'm forever questioning our decision to stay home to raise our children. Through Reynas story God has again reminded me that I am right where He wants me to be, not to be tempted by what the world has to offer, but to be patient in seeing His plan for our lives to unfold.



Hi everyone in good ole Sarnia--and elsewhere!

This is my first blog ever, so forgive me if I break any blogging etiquette.

It's hard to believe that we have only been here a few days-with all that we have done, all the great people that we have met and more importantly, all that God has been accomplishing in the local peoples' lives, as well as in our own.  --It's equally hard to believe that in a few days we will be back to the frigid north and plugging into preparations for Christmas.

But back to the present.  Today we visited some of the families who had received houses from 2-5 years ago.  It was great to see how the families were getting along--and in a case or two, that the structures were still standing and functional  (apparently due to special circumstances, there was some doubt).  Not only was all well. but the families were delighted to see the returning team members and happy to met the rest of us.  There are some great stories about how well they are doing etc, that we will tell you about when we get home. 

Then this aft, we went to a nursing home, where visitors are rare and shared a few hours with them.  Again, it was neat to attempt to follow Jesus' command to be His hands and feet.

Well, apparently, I'm hogging the computer, so I'll close for now.  Thanks to everyone who is praying and who supported and are supporting us in so many ways.  --God bless, Heathr  

Unexpected Surprises

Isn't it just like God to give us a big surprise when we least expect it? I knew we were going to tour around and see a few of the families we had built homes for in previous years. I was a little sceptical  of what our reception might be like at our very first house, from our very first trip here five years ago. Boy did we mess that house up. We were such rookies! But today, we were welcomed back by the now 15 year old daughter of the family with open arms and a fond rememberance.

And then we travelled to a spot we built in during the crazy rains of two years ago.  Again, we were welcomed with huge smiles, hugs and tears.  One dear lady saw us pulling up and recognized us (yes, little ol' us) right away. These friends had many stories of how our little houses and the church that sent the people to build them have been transformational in their families' lives.

I guess I had always thought that the families might remember that some people came from Canada and built them a house. I would never have imagined that they would remember us as people, as their friends. What a sweet surprise!


Not about the Houses or the Gloves

When I first arrived in San Vacinte. I was all about building houses. However, as the week went on I started to realize that God had a bigger purpose for me being here then just the houses. This became evident each day we built and hung out with the villagers we were building for and the community we were in.

Yesterday as we finished the last 2 houses I gave my Gloves to a young man named Gordo. I had to use or translator Gustavo to explain to him that I was very proud of his work ethic. I told him that God had a plan for his life. When I was talking to him I realized that it this was very much a God moment.

 Its not to often that I get a God moment. However, That wasn't the only God Moment I had. Yesterday as I stood up to  give my testimony I thought I was prepared to speak. I mean everything was written down even Deve read it. Turns out that was written down didn't come out of my mouth. Truly a God thing.

 At church after Deve, Albert, and I spoke Pastor Oscar got up and sang. It didn't matter that our team couldn't understand what they were singing. However, God was moving. The singing went on for a few minutes then we started to pray. Pastor Oscars church came over to us and each team member had someone from the church praying beside us with their hands on us. I could feel that God was moving. I can't speak for our team but WOW. 

This brings me to my title It's Not About the Houses or The Gloves. It's about the relationship we have created and way God has used each one of us as a tool for his works and Glory.