Today we built the last five homes of the season, bringing our total to an even 300. As we do with every build site, we take time to sit with the family and hear a little bit more of their story. Some inspire us and fill us with hope; others shake us and tempt us to considering it's hopeless. At least that's what the surface of people's lives can do to you.
Let me tell you quickly about two 15 year old boys:
- the first has been so delinquent that his parents feared that he would be killed; so they scraped together enough money to hire a "coyote" (someone who smuggles people across the US border) and sent him on the perilous journey up through Central America, Mexico and perhaps into the US. The father indicates a hopelessness in the boy; but he also shares his own hopelessness and his own plans to leave once he can raise some more money. He is hopeless about his family and himself. Listening to their story can leave one feeling hopeless.
- the second boy, is one of the most grateful, tender hearted young men we have met in El Salvador. He worked hard, took instruction and showed tremendous care as he participated in building his new home. When we asked about how we could be praying for him, his response was "Thank God for me and my friends. Two years ago they received houses and now my family has one!" His eyes filled with tears as he told us that the rainy season would soon be here and that he was thankful that he wouldn't have to be awakened at night by the rain coming through the roof or through the plastic sheeted walls. A young voice of hope! His parents, are committed to each other, faithful to each other, they pray every day and give thanks to God for his blessings (this was before finding out they were receiving a house). They are a sign of hope. Listening to their story can leave one filled with hope.
The truth is, our emotions get tossed back and forth as we enter into the lives of these people for a day or a week. However, deeper than our emotions and beyond our capacity to see, there is a Greater truth at work: that God in the midst of many consider a hopeless situation, is bringing deep abiding hope through the love of Jesus Christ. Our circumstances do not define our level of hope. Our hope comes from God, is centred in Christ, and flows through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks for praying with us.