Building homes with love
By Steve Whitlock; courtesy photos
Making a noticeable difference in the world is something people talk about. In March, Lynnette Baylor of Castle Pines and Andrea Corrales of Highlands Ranch were part of a team that did just that in Colonias de Juarez, Mexico. The trip included a number of components like home building, education, a medical clinic, food distribution and diaper/formula distribution. That makes for a great impact on a number of lives.
When asked how they became interested in helping with building homes in Mexico, Baylor stated, “Some friends shared with us a ‘before and after’ picture after they had finished building a home. The incredible gratitude the family expressed when walking through the door of their new home was overwhelming. It wasn’t very big, but it kept the rain, dust, and drafts out. We were amazed at how a small group of people could come together and make a difference like this in a matter of days.”
This wasn’t an arms-length trip, but one where relationships were built as well as homes. “Even though there was a language barrier, we formed instant friendships with the family we built for,” stated Baylor. We talked and gestured and acted and laughed as we got to know each other. As we handed over the keys to the home, the 16-year-old who would live there shared with us through many tears how having a home was something she had wanted her whole life. She told us that this was not just her family’s home, but our home too, and that we would always be welcome. Her tears moved us all and reminded us how blessed we are.”
The emotional connections didn’t stop there. Corrales stated, “One of the most rewarding parts of the trip was when, after a long day of building, I walked into the partially-built structure to grab a tool. I found Martin, the man we were building for, standing with his hand on the wall sobbing. He told me that he had prayed for a home for 20 years and he never thought it could happen.”
Another touching moment was when one of the past home recipients visited the build site. We had asked her if her family needed anything and she said, “You’ve already given me so much. Just keep being my friend.” We knew, though, that she and her husband had been out of work for months. Then she brought out a stack of homemade tortillas she had made for our group. This generosity was absolutely overwhelming.”
When asked how people could get involved, Baylor explained, “One of the great things about these trips is that it’s so easy! The drive down takes about 10 hours and crossing the border is very simple. The crossing point we use is small and it never takes long. We always feel 100% safe there.”
Working in a rural area, the people know the organization. There are no social services to speak of. If people need help, they go to organizations like Missions Ministries or the local churches. Though these organizations are religious in nature, they serve as “feet on the street” to help the people who need it. People do not need to be religious or church members to receive help.
They also declare the reward from all the effort, “It’s hard to describe the joy you feel when you hand the family keys to their new home. At that moment, those tears of joy are proof that there’s no better place to be and nothing you’d rather be doing. Such a small investment on your part changes someone’s life forever. That’s incredible. And there are so many easy ways to get involved: You can donate to a build, sponsor a student, or organize a group of your own.”
For more information or to participate in this effort, visit missionsministries.org.