It has been a long time since we have sat down and updated you on what has been happening here. We started the year strong and as you know we were all halted by Covid-19. We had two houses left to build that could not be fulfilled by groups who planned on traveling to help. So we did a 6 week quarantine and then the men we have worked with in the past in Mexico came up with an idea. Since it would not be wise for me to be on the build, they asked if they could proceed and build the last two homes. After some planning, it was decided that they would build and I could stop by once a day and see what was needed. There were six local men who took the responsibility to build the last two homes. They did a fantastic job! We could not have done it without our supporters who donated funds so we could pay these men a good wage for their labor. The men were pleased to make some cash, but the smiles came when they showed us the finished product. It was incredible. The result is two very happy families who waited patiently for their homes to be built.
In March the students decided to have a patio sale at the ministry house. They raised around 7000 pesos in one day... close to 300 dollars. They had no idea what they would use the money for, but they took the funds and saved it for the right time. Then the virus hit San Luis and everyone was stuck at home with no work and no way to feed their families. One evening on a group chat, came a message…”Do we have money in the bank from the yard sale?"
"We have neighbors with red flags on their fences." (meaning they have quarantined and have not left the house to get food.)
" So let's do what we did at Christmas and fill baskets and deliver food to them."
Casa decided to match their funds and they went to work. They shopped and gathered names of people in need. They filled 30 baskets with food and necessities, went out in groups of 2 and delivered to 30 households. The word got out about their efforts and the donations started to roll in from people on both sides of the border .They were given a 10,000 peso match challenge. All donations totalled close to 40.000 pesos! They again gathered names, went shopping and set a plan to deliver the baskets with two people in each car, following the guidelines of the city government. They set out on a Sunday morning and delivered 100 baskets of food and supplies to families all over the community. We are EXTREMELY proud of the hearts of these young adults.
This past week we heard of a family that had to decide between paying their electric bill or buying food. They decided since they needed to stay cool during the extreme temps, they would pay the electric bill. This left no money for food in the household. I sent the students a text and asked if they had any money left in the pantry funds and yes, they had saved some money. They delivered food to the family the very same night. Needless to say, a new ministry has been born out of a small neighborhood yard sale. We are planning on setting up a pantry fund for the students to manage.
Our summer plans are to get the students registered for school for the upcoming year. We have added 2 new students and a possible 3rd, if we can find a sponsor. Many of the students have graduated from high school and are heading to the university. We know it adds a huge expense to the sponsors, but we are so happy with the commitments the sponsors have made to see these kids through to the end.
At the end of July, Kelly and I will be in the Midwest fundraising for 11 days. We hope to see all of you in our travels.
Thank you for your continued support, words of encouragement, and prayers.
Keep us in your prayers as we navigate what is going on. Pray for the student ministry and all the families that they have touched, and for continued financial support.
Love you all, and thanks for all you do and have done for Casa.
Curt and Kelly VanEkeren