Day #7

New Homes • Home Plate • Homecoming

What a day!  That’s all I can say to sum up the day.  We had 55 eager missionaries all over the place doing all sorts of things.  The day began with some cultural immersion.  The group toured the Basilica, visited the crazy market, and the Mont Santa Maria.  After a scrumptious lunch of PB&J we divided and conquered.

Over the course of the afternoon we moved two additional families into the new community.  They were thrilled beyond words as a caravan of pick-ups pulled up before their old homes/shacks to load up with their items.  They were packed in garbage bags and pots.  We loaded the items of a family of six in 2.5 pick up trucks.  We welcomed them into the new community.  Joy beyond words is an understatement.  New homes…a real home…space for some privacy in sleeping…a bathroom with a door…dignity…respect….pride…pride…pride…joy…pride.  Tears of joy!!  At the end of the night I was talking with an 8 year old member of the family.  She sat on her new porch marveling at her new home…her new space…her new friends.  As part of the conversation I introduced her (by picture and phone) to my own 9 year old niece Becca. They are going to become pen pals.  Thrilled beyond words.

While the families were moving in…the Cleveland Indians Farm Team rolled into town.  Thanks to the wonderful invitation of Mrs. Dolan, the brought five players and two managers for a two hour mini-camp.  The 100+ children were captivated and at attention during the time together.  They love baseball in this town.  They love the Tribe.  I walked in other day to the Mayor’s home and on the TV – our very own Tribe.  It was truly an amazing day for these young people.  After the baseball camp on the field we are installing (slow and steady…have all the land leveled now we wait for the rainy season to surface all the rocks and debris before planting)…the players came and moved one of the new families into their home.  It was a blessing.

The day ended with the entire team coming together for Mass at the new Church.   The Church had just emptied from the weekly 5 pm Mass (that had about 80 people in attendance) so that our mission team could gather in this beautiful place to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi – Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo.  We are the body of Christ following the example of the master servant Jesus Christ.  We are the hands and heart of the Lord in our world.  The team did this so powerfully over the past week.  Tomorrow team one heads home for their homecoming to be united with family and friends and to share stories, pictures and experiences of what I am guessing will be a life-shaping experience.

Group 2 continues on until this Friday. They have much to do. 

  • A number of families in the first community have been asked to move on.  They were not following community rules so painfully we asked them to leave.  This leaves five houses that need to be cleaned, painted and prepared for five very eager families who are ready to move in by Thursday.
  • We are continuing construction of six new homes in the new community.  Sewer and water lines need to be dug and installed.
  • We are working hard to finish a number of smaller projects – restoring some areas that were used for construction back to ‘green space’ and creating some front yard space for the families.  We are also hopeful to do some fix up and clean up in Community Number one.

All in all…a great day…a blessed day….a day that many families and children will never forgot.  All this happens by God’s grace.  All this happens because of the generous hearts of the mission team…all this happens because of your prayer and support….you make the mission possible!

Safe travels to home to group one….more tomorrow.