The Journey–and the Work–Ends

June 12, 2013

Team Gato with OliviaLibia and Geovanny familyWe have come to the conclusion that it is time to come home. Today wore us all out. I’m about 35-40 pounds lighter this year than I was last year, and in much better shape thanks to Randy Nicholson working me out three days a week. But this week of building homes finally caught up with me. About halfway through the build, as we finished bringing the walls up on our home site, I felt fatigue wash over me like an old shirt. Raw nerve and the presence of brothers feeling the same, yet all committed to build the home, kept me going.
When the day was over, the feeling of exhaustion I felt was pretty well pervasive. The sun was out for a part of the day, which contributed to the difficulty, but it was also the cumulative effect of building for five days. The homes, with the stair kits that have been added this year, take about five hours to complete—and that is five hours of solid, hard, heavy, sweaty, hammer-swinging, post-hole digging, wall lifting, work.
Boli separated from us today, as his family from the US is flying to meet him in Quito, and they will all enjoy about ten days in Ecuador. We headed out to the Hogar facility and proceeded to move to work.
Team Ivan had yet another tough build, but also for a very grateful family. Libia Nunez and her husband Geovanny Empuno have five children ranging in ages from 22 (who does not live with them any longer) to 8. Geovanny works for Hogar de Cristo in maintenance, and is also an AC repairman. And trust us, AC is important down here! This family was replacing a Hogar home that they had lived in for ten years.
Team Gato built for Olivia Saltofajardo, a single mother with five children between 14 years and 11 months—and no husband, no man in the picture, and no job. She lives on the government stipend that she receives monthly, which I believe is $50 a month. Olivia, with her older daughters’ help (12 & 14) and the help of a cousin and some neighbors, took her old house apart very early this morning, so that we could build the new home for her family when we arrived. Her older daughters were both in school, were very polite and attentive to their younger siblings, and were quite appreciative of our compliments and work.
But now it is time to return. We are at the airport even now, waiting for our flight home. We leave Guayaquil a little after midnight Atlanta time, arrive in Miami about 5 AM, process through customs, and will finally make it to Atlanta a bit after 9 AM Wednesday.
Those of you with husbands, children, or siblings—or simply good friends—on this trip need to know that these men have been remarkable servants of Jesus Christ, representatives of Peachtree Presbyterian, and indefatigable workers who deserve every accolade you can give them.
They are IRONMEN, true, but more than that, they are friends of Jesus who have made a deep impact—and many friends through their work and their smiles—here in the outlying areas of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Lavish them with love and plenty of rest on their return. They have earned it!


One Response to “The Journey–and the Work–Ends”

  1. Hello Chuck! We’re glad that your experience was a good one 🙂 We want to publish extracts from your latest post in Hogar de Cristo’s Blog:
    Please let us know if we can do it
    Have a good return home!

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