"I thank my God every time I remember you."
Many times I have read this scripture and wondered just what was Paul remembering them for. Last week as we were building a home in Mexico, it dawned on me what he was so thankful for. They loved and believed in Paul and his ministry. The group From Faith Baptist is one of the many groups we remember and thank God for. This particular group have been helping us since the very first year we began. In fact they are the very first group who took a leap of faith and came to help us with the very first home build. Thank you very much for coming every year to support us and encourage us. This year we had some new people who came for the first time. One of the men who came sent us some pictures and a nice testimony of his week. Below you will enjoy his testimony.
James Valders testimony:
From my perspective, the cycle of poverty for this family, and others like them, can be positively affected by:
1) Improving their self-respect and self image by improving their housing situation. It must be depressing to live where they lived. Not even a window to allow light into their home.
2) Improving various aspects of their health. One of the daughters in the family has bad teeth. When she spoke, she covered her mouth with her hand. Curt and Kelly's (our hosts) foundation Casa de la Esperanza (Houses of Hope) has arranged for a dental appointment for her this coming Tues. so that she can get her teeth fixed and thus have a much improved self image.
3) Improving their chances for advanced education. In Mexico, they get a free education through 8th grade. After that, they have to pay for it themselves. It costs about $800/year to go to high school and college. Approximately 25 kids are being supported by Esperanza now.
4) Improving their chances of supporting themselves. The mother (Elizabeth) of the family we built the house for, has a talent for making bread. If she had a large oven, she could make enough bread to help support her family, but the family didn't have the money to build the oven. In one of the pics, you will see the brick foundation we started to build for her. It cost about $80 for the oven. Esperanza is paying for that for her. Once she starts producing bread loaves, she'll need to figure out a way to get them the 3 miles to the market. I suspect she'll have to walk.
The family was so grateful to us for what we were doing for them, they made us a lunch of chicken, macaroni salad and a few potatoes. On Friday, after the house was built, they had their electricity shut off. We fear they used what money the had to make our lunch. :-(
Below please find a link to the Casa de la Esperanza website. The houses they build cost about $5000. They've built 30 of them over the past 8 years. Things like the dentist, education, and ovens come with a cost as well.
I was so impressed with the foundation that I have previously made a cash contribution. Whatever donations they receive go to good causes, as described above. If you find a place in your heart and your bank account, please consider making a donation. You can do so on their website. Every little bit helps.
Thank you James for sharing your heart with everyone. Next week we will be hosting another group from First Reformed Church, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Please keep us in your prayers as we look forward to working in the hearts and lives of everyone involved with the build. We thank God for all who take the time to read this newsletter and also for all who support us. Your prayers, love, and financial support are so appreciated.
Thank you so much,
Love Curt and Kelly VanEkeren