Bad news, Good work

June 6, 2013

Boli giving Ascension window to JackiJacki's home coming togetherTeam with Luis and AnitaThe team arrived in Ecuador last night, and the greatest news is that both augers arrived with them! We never doubted God, but we had significant concerns about American Airlines!

After an early breakfast today, we met with Luis Tavares, the Director of Social Ministries for Hogar de Cristo. This grace-filled man, a former Jesuit Priest, was unusually subdued and seemingly bothered. Instead of his usual upbeat presentation about the work of Hogar, he shared with us the news that the Ecuadorian government has begun a process of pushing some of these poor people from their homes, grabbing the land, in order to plan for the construction of government owned and managed housing. The “progrom” (my word) was carried out with no advance notice, and families were displaced and their homes destroyed. The news that was learned yesterday, which has the Hogar leadership in a quandary, is that more of this land grabbing and displacement is yet to come.
We visited and did what we could to encourage Luis, then prayed for him and Anita, his “right-hand woman,” who has been involved with Hogar for years and been a friend to us on previous trips.
We then toured the facilities around the Hogar offices, and saw where they teach people about agriculture, aquaculture, and trades, we saw some new model homes (new designs), before we headed out to build.

We built the first home today, for a woman named Jacki, who has two adult sons out of the house, and a daughter and a son who are early 20s to teens who still live at home. There is also an infant in diapers which she never fully explained, and I suspect is her daughter’s illegitimate child, but she cares for her as well. Jacki works–when she is called, which is with no frequency–as a housecleaner, and the best she is able to do is about $45 a week, which she supplements with a government stipend, and the money she receives from time to time from her sons, or from the last “significant other.” Hers is no doubt a precarious situation, and the labors of so many of these IRONMEN has given this woman a sense of hope.
As Boli Alfaro spoke to her, and gave her a replica of the Ascension Window in the Peachtree Presbyterian Sanctuary, she sobbed with joy.

We arrived back at Schoenstaat Retreat enter around 4:30—we’ll meet to debrief at 5:30, then it’s “dinner and a movie,” before getting ready to split into two teams to build two homes tomorrow.


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