I promise-no whining in this post. Sometimes raw emotion just gets all out of control. Things haven’t really changed much, but I’m not whining, so that’s good, right?
We’re enjoying our summer here at home. Dan is with a team from For His Children this week. That might just be the perfect way to do a missions trip. Fly to a foreign country and then spend the week rocking babies and playing with mischievous toddlers whose eyes light up just because you’ve walked into the room. Heather and Kristina are teaching English this month at the Alliance Academy summer school program. It has been interesting to see their personalities come out with this. Kristina wants to be a teacher, so this is her dream job. She has a class of fifth graders, she makes lesson plans and grades papers-it’s perfect. It’s even her dream grade-she loves this age. Heather was a little hesitant at first. She wasn’t sure if teaching was really her thing (but since spending money is definitely her thing, her dad and I decided she would be taking this job!) but she has really thrown herself into it. She’s teaching 7th graders, and is loving the age, and the classroom, and lesson plans, and teaching…I think both girls are going to be a bit disappointed when school starts in August and they go back to being the student instead of the teacher!
Patrick is attending the sports camp at the school. He is enjoying being with his friends, and the socialization and activities are good for him. His speech has improved considerably this year, but our beloved speech therapist returned to the US permanently, so we aren’t sure what next year holds. Pray for someone to come and take this vital job at the school-Patrick is by no means the only child who needs speech therapy. Watching Patrick grow and change has been fascinating. All of our other children were either right on the mark or advanced for their age. Patrick’s delays and learning issues have reminded us again and again that this is a long journey, not a short trip. Sometimes our prayer is “Please. Now.” And God’s answer is “I will. But not yet.” His memory is amazing. What goes in definitely stays there. It’s the getting in part that seems to have a little hitch in it’s giddy-up. We are praying that another year of first grade will jump-start his reading abilities and give him what he needs to move on.
Last week I rode out to our latest house project with Dan, to see for myself what it was all about. Working full time means that most of what I know about our ministries here I get when Dan and I talk at night and he tells me what his day was like. I cherish that time of the day, because it gives me a connection to this job that makes my husbands face light up when he talks about it. This particular project was for a family of five. Mom, Dad and three children were living with Grandma, along with seven or eight other people. The house they were living in was actually the first house project that ER did, about five years ago. It’s a nice little house, but it’s LITTLE. Especially for that many people. This year’s project was to get the family their own dwelling. It’s in the “backyard” of Grandma’s house, but it’s all theirs. I’m posting some pictures here, because they say far more than my words can.
Three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and a bathroom. By our standards, it seems small…but it’s a castle to this family.
The community where we built the house is located in the far south part of the city. It’s a different world from the northern part, where we live. It’s kind of like stepping into a National Geographic article. Below are more pictures of the barrio (neighborhood).
There are more than five people in this picture. Getting a new home is very exciting…for the whole neighborhood!
Owning a home here is beyond the reality of most people. The poor don’t have bank accounts, credit ratings…They earn enough to buy what they need to eat for the day. The concept of “saving” doesn’t really exist here. The thinking is “I need $5 to buy food for today. That’s how long I’ll work”. Once they have enough money for their immediate needs, they are done working for the day, or week, or whatever. The idea of “tomorrow” isn’t really there either. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so why plan for it? When this family is presented with a home of their own, they are presented with a legacy. Something tangible to leave their children, that gives them a bit of hope for their future.
Extreme Response exists to change lives. Offer hope. Help. Homes.
35” For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25: 35-36)