Grateful Builds for Special Needs Families

June 27, 2012

            Sometimes the reality of human need is simply almost overwhelming.

            IRONMEN began the day with a 7:00 breakfast, and headed to the parking lot to meet our van and truck at 7:45. As they made their way out, they were greeted with the music of Les Miserables, “One Day More.” There was one day more to build, and after a week of hard, hot, physical labor, we were dragging. The sky was clear, not a good sign when one is working two degrees south of the equator.

            We slathered on the sunscreen and bug spray (neither melanoma nor malaria are desired), and headed out.

            Team Ivan was the first out of the truck, and it was no simple task. The build required the removal of several large (subterranean) rocks, but at the end of the day, it was a task well served. The new homeowner, Consuela, has three children-the eldest, Emma, has severe Down’s Syndrome; she spends her time on a foam rubber mat. The family has only a lean-to, and no roof; when it rains, they hand plastic to seek shelter.

            Today, they have a home—a roof, walls, doors, windows, and a floor. Grace was shown in majestic ways as these men accepted a task with the grace and love of Jesus Christ,

            In similar fashion, Team Gato faced a daunting build, with a limestone shelf forming one entire side of the build. The gas powered augers we have brought dow2n in years past-and which were serviced this year-simply can not cut through rock, and we pretty well managed to wreck them this year trying to help people.

            Team Gato was building for Juanna, a smiling women with three sons; Osbaldo, the middle son, is severely physically and mentally retarded. Like Emma, Osbaldo spends his time lying on a bed. When the build was finished, his brother picked him up and carried him out for a picture.

            It is easy for we who live in the lap of luxury-with safe, well-equipped homes, every need provided, and most wants as well, to be blind to the deep human need in the majority part of the world. In reality, if you are reading this, you are likely in the top three percent of the world’s economy. Maybe you have times when there is more month than there is money, but odds are, you wrestle with losing weight more than you do with where your next meal will come from. Water flows from pipes; it is not transported from trucks to a 55 gallon barrel a hundred yards from your home. You have a spacious bathroom when others bathe from a bucket, and have an outhouse.

            In the name of Jesus, these thirteen men have done what they could to help nine families, to smile and serve in the name of Jesus, to stretch themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.

            Oh, yes-we have laughed. We have become friends; we are now a part of a growing fraternity that shares Hogar, Guayaquil, Schoenstaat, and 2 degrees south as common experiences. We have enjoyed one another, but we have been deeply moved by what we have seen, smelled, heard, and done.

            We will return home tomorrow evening. And we will want very much to come back and do this again. It hurts, it is hard, there is sacrifice involved, but believe me, it is darn well worth it.

            “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these brothers of mine, you have done it for me.” (MT 25.40).

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