Thursday, December 7, 2017

It's Never Been About the Houses

Yes we build houses, but it's never been about the houses. It's always about the people that we get to meet, sit across from and share stories with. Their stories often challenge and inspire us in the circumstances of our own lives. Their stories are also shared so that we would continue to talk to God about their needs - knowing that He is aware and is providing for them. Here's a small glimpse into the lives of the people that have been impacted by our most recent visit. They will continue to be visited by our friends in the local church. Thanks for your part in the journey, we are always humbled by what takes place in these communities. May God continue to work in their lives: 

Gladys Antonia – Shelter #2483
Gladys is 41 and is a single mother.  She has 6 children ranging in age from 1 to 22.  Only two children live with her currently, Bryan Omar, age 7 and Walter Samuel, age 1.  She has three grandchildren.
Her greatest joys are that are children are healthy and have enough food.
She works as a cook in a restaurant in San Salvador.  She leaves on Sunday and travels an hour and a half to work and returns on Saturday.  She starts work at 3am each day.  During the week, she sleeps at the restaurant.  Either her sister, Melissa, or her 18 year old daughter care for her two boys while she is away working.  She did not have a home.  When she wasn’t at the restaurant, she stayed with her sister or daughter. 
She likes her community.  She is happy there and all of her family is nearby. She feels that her children are safe in that area.  She has good relationships with her neighbours.  They help one another.
Her desire is to have more time with her children.  Only God can give her the strength she needs.  It is not easy.
Gladys has been waiting for a house for 17 years.  She is so thankful!  It is like a dream come true.

Esmaria de Jesus Rivas Ruiz, Hugo Antonio and Laura Michelle – Shelter #2484
Esmaria is a single mother at 37; Hugo, her son is 17 in grade 9; daughter Michelle is 15 in grade 6. There is an older daughter, 19, who is now married and no longer lives with Esmaria.
Hugo wants to finish high school and dreams about going to university, but realizes that he will probably end up working in the fields as a farmer.
It took 7 days to prepare the land for the new house. Hugo worked 18 hours a day, by himself, chipping the hard ground and then moving all the dirt to other families. He did this so that the families wouldn’t have to buy dirt in order to level the ground for their homes. He rented a cart and oxen to move the dirt over 2 days to 4 different homes. It would have cost each family $30. He said he has no money and these 4 homes are his friends and this was something he could give them.

Sayda Palacios, Argenis Alexis Rivas, Nazly Andrea Rivas – Shelter #2485
Argenis is a farmer (beans, corn, sorghum). He is 25 years old. He does most of the cooking of the meals, which is very rare.
Sayda is 24 years old. She did one year of nursing. She cares for other children from 6pm to 6am each day.
They met at a soccer game in the village and got caught in a thunderstorm. Lightning hit the ground nearby and both of them ended up in the hospital, where they reconnected. The rest, as they say…is history…
Nazly has been sharing a room with her parents since she was born and is excited for her own room in the new house.
The new house represents a new beginning for this family, as they were renting a room for $40/month. They will now have the safety and shelter from the heavy rains.  The new house is being built beside her parents house. Her parents made their cooking area in order to fit the new house.

Maria Julia – Shelter #2486
Julia is 47 and has three children.  She says that her children are strong. Alexandra is 26 and works at a grocery store and comes home every 8 days. Frananda is 24 and works at a store in the school so was currently enjoying vacation.  She has a big, beautiful smile and was helping on the work site and was one of the community leaders. Frank is 13 and is going into grade 8.  He likes sports, particularly soccer, and hopes to be a mechanic.  Frank is the only man.  Julia called him “the boss”. 
Julia’s children see their mother as brave, an example, a good mother, a big heart.
The children’s father died last year.  He was a heavy drinker.
Julia has had six surgeries, one just recently, for a hernia. She was not able to help with any of the physical labour.
They have waited 3 years for a house.  Their previous home was made of wood and laminate and was ready to fall.  Frananda and Frank did most of the work clearing the land.  They are all staying with Julia’s sister, Blanca, next door.

They like their community.  It is safe and they can talk to everyone.
They attend church.  Julia is Christian and the children are Catholic.
A new house means safety. It is a huge blessing!

Miguel Ruiz and Crystal Lopez – Shelter #2487
Miguel and Crystal have been married for 14 years and have one son, Gustavo, age 11.  Gustavo is entering grade 6.  He was helpful on the worksite.  He likes to help his father.  He enjoys math and has always wanted to be a pilot. 
Miguel is 40 and is a farmer.  He farms corn and beans and works 6am to 12pm.  Crystal is 42 and is a stay at home mom. 
They did not have a home of their own.  They have been staying in Miguel’s brother’s house.  The brother is currently in Boston but plans to return to the house. 
They like the community.  It is quiet and Miguel has lived there his whole life.  A house is one of the things that they have desired the most.  They wanted Gustavo to have his own room.  They are thankful to the Lord.

Kelvin Orlando Cruz Hernandez, Celis Orquidea Ayala Umania, Diego Orlando Cruz Ayala – Shelter #2488
Kelvin works 2 jobs. One as a farmer and one doing construction. Before receiving this house, they were living in Kelvin’s brother’s house (he currently lives in the USA). Now they will be able to grow their family in their own home.

Rulbert Oseos and Veronica Marino – Shelter #2489
Rulbert and Veronica met when Rulbert was walking to work and Veronica was working cleaning homes.  They started as friends.  They have been partners for two years.
Rulbert and Veronica have a one year old daughter, Ashlin.  Their dreams for her are that she would grow and that she would keep God first.
Rulbert is 19 and is a famer.  He began taking care of his Grandpa’s cows at age 9.  When his Grandpa died, his land was divided among the children.  He farms his mother’s and uncle’s land.  It is a 45 minute walk to the land.  He farms corn, beans, and surgum.  He works 6am to 12pm. 
Veronica stays home but also walks to take food to Rulbert each day. She is 17 years old.
They like their community, it is quiet and safe.  They did not have a home of their own.  They were living with Rulbert’s mom and sister.  They have waited for a home for their family.  It is a gift from God.
Their dreams for the future are to wait on God and maybe have more children.

Miguel and Villma – Shelter #2490

Miguel is  32 years old. He is a farmer (corn, beans, sorghum)
Villma is 27 years old. She is a housewife and occasionally sells beauty supplies.
Villma can’t have children due to kidney disease, for which she did receive a transplant.
Miguel met Villma, when he would come to the community to visit his cousins. His care for her is evident and honourable. He is thankful for the new home as it will be beneficial for Villma’s health, protecting her from the dust and the rain.

Giovanni and Anna Ruth – Shelter #2491
Giovanni is 33 years old and works 30 minutes away by car as a security guard at a plantain farm.  He stays there and comes home once a week so was not available for the interview.
Anna Ruth is 33 years old.  She has five children, four with her first husband and one with Giovanni, a 7 year old son also named Giovanni.   In 2010, when her daughter, Karla, was 9, her husband left with the other three children (currently aged 18, 17 and 15).  They live nearby.  Her ex-husband is remarried. 
The couple were married 5 months ago.  They share the same faith and in the past year have grown in their faith, are communicating more with God and were married as a result.
Karla, now age 16, has special needs.  She is on medication (2 pills, 2 times a day) to keep her happy and stable.  Anna Ruth is Karla’s caregiver.  She assists with bathing and toileting her.  Anna Ruth has inquired about education options for her daughter but the local school will not take her.  There is a school further away but she cannot afford the transportation costs.  Giovanni has a soft heart and loves Karla.
 Anna Ruth wants her children to be healthy, happy and that she would live a long life in order to care for them.
They have many family nearby, including a brother and nephew of Anna Ruth that are mute.  Her cousin and nephew helped clear the land.  Her sister received a Shelter house two years ago. 
Their house needed to be replaced.  There were holes in the roof.  Anna Ruth dreamed of a new home.  It was difficult to wait.  She didn’t understand why others were getting a house first.  She recognized that this was God’s time for her to receive a house.
In her new house, she will feel more secure with locks on the door.  It will be clean.  The old house was made of wood and mud.  She will be able to keep snakes out.  Karla likes to play on the floor and she will be able to mop the floors. 

Juan Francisco, Villma, Clara (11), Estraia (8), Lydia (5), one on the way – Shelter #2492

Juan Francisco is a farmer. He wakes up at 3am every morning and rides his horse to his uncle’s farm where he milks 56 cows.  Sensing that he needed to provide more for his growing family, he has started working in the fields, harvesting beans, corn and sorghum.
His parents were murdered by the gangs when he was 2 years old. He is one of 6 children.
He has a hobby, horses. He loves to ride them and care for them. He owns 5 horses which he rides equally through week. He is committed to learning, challenging himself to learn something new everyday. He asked our team what our hobbies were…a first.
On the day their house getting built the girls woke up early and asked to have their very best dresses and shoes in order to meet the team that was coming to help them.
This home will help his family be secure.