As was indicated in my last post, I am far from done when it comes to talking about Guatemala.
As I also indicated in my last post, we are sensing a draw to a general area and people. Although it does not appear for our family at this time that it is Guatemala, I did leave a big piece of my heart there!
I told the family that we built for that very same thing the day we were leaving them. They were assured, with tears in my eyes, that a piece of my heart was remaining there with them.
Our team had the privilege of building for 2 families. My part of the team built for a very young couple in the church there. Miguel was 27 and Maria was 21. They had a 4 year old boy, little Miguel.
This is what had been their home...
The corn stalks, their home, had been cleared away because that same site was where we would be building their new home.
This is where they were living when we arrived as they were waiting for their new home.
A tarp around a mattress that was barely lifted off the ground with trash, wood, or anything else that they could find. There was no walking room around that mattress. The path that you see is all that was in that little room.
This was their home.
I didn't quite understand exactly why the mattress was lifted off of the ground with whatever could be found... until it started to rain.
I was sitting on that little stool (to the right) for a time while it rained. As it continued to rain, the effort in keeping the mattress lifted became very clear to me.
You can't see it very well in this picture, but the water came pouring in under their mattress. That single dirt path in their house became mud. In fact, the water was flowing through so steadily that it was rushing up and over the children's feet who came to stand inside.
And notice their little fire area for cooking and warmth to the right in the picture above.
And so we went to work. It wasn't work like building a house in America would have been.
There was no equipment, cement trucks, or even bags of cement brought in. It was all done by hand. The bricks, bags of rock and dirt, and anything else that was needed were all carried in to the job site.
One of the tasks I was given for quite some time one afternoon was to sift dirt. I didn't see the purpose immediately, but I went to work without asking any questions.
I had the opportunity to work alongside Maria, the lady of the house. Our interpreter had to leave earlier in the day so we were left with my limited Spanish. Even so, she and I had such a lovely time together.
I will forever cherish that afternoon deeply in my heart. We didn't have many words to communicate, but somehow our hearts communicated something so much greater...
It didn't take long for it to become clear what this sifting was for. The fine dirt was sifted onto a clean tarp like material while the rocks were put into another pile. Both would be used for the variety of different cements and mortars that were needed for various places on building the home.
And even that cement and mortar was all mixed by hand right on the job site, using the different materials that had already been sifted... also done right on the job site.
Cinder block was formed and cut with a machete.
We put that house together one brick and one dollop of cement at a time.
The process of putting the roof on came to a screeching halt when Maria began chattering a mile a minute as she went running off into the trees surrounding her home.
Next thing we knew she was dragging an extension cord from who knows where over to her house. She had the men put it in through the roof so that she could hang this... her light.
She was so proud of that light and wanted to be sure it became a part of her house.
Miguel, bless him, took her light and immediately found a piece of wire to hang her light... even before the final pieces of the roof went up.
When it was all finished, there was still a dirt floor. Imagine my delight when I learned we would be able to also give them... a cement floor!!
Our family and new friends, standing in their completed house.
On the day we left, we had a prayer of dedication for the home.
We then gave them 2 beds that can fold up during the day. We also gave them a suitcase of housewarming gifts such as sheets, towels, shoes, toys, plates, cups, and whatever else we could fit into that suitcase. (Which we learned they will probably also use for some daily need.)
As we left I gave each of these dear new friends a teary hug and said, "Te amo mi hermano/a en Cristo." (I love you my brother/sister in Christ.") And they extended the same parting words.
For me, it was not a good-bye. But rather... an until later. For I have every confidence that if we don't get to meet again on this earth, we will meet once again in heaven.
And our homes won't be so far away there...