A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a home build. It topped any DIY project I have ever done (and probably ever will do)!
Through YWAM San Pedro and Homes of Hope, my family was able to build a home for a family in the Dominican Republic.
Late last spring, my husband’s parents asked if we (along with his sisters and their families) would be interested in building a home as a family for a family in need. We decided to forgo our normal Christmas gifts for each other and put the money we would have spent on each other towards this home build and trip.
The day after Christmas, all 15 of us (which included 7 kids) traveled to San Pedro in The Dominican Republic. The next day, we were picked up from our hotel and taken to the neighborhood where we were building the house.
The neighborhood streets were extremely narrow (so narrow that the bus had to drop us off, and we had to walk much of the way). The homes had dirt floors and were built right next to each other.
The home we were building was for a single dad with three teenage daughters and grandpa and grandma. In the photo above, you can see the entrance to their home. The green door opened to a small room with beds covered in mosquito nets. The space was SO small I had trouble taking a photo:
Thanks so YWAM, our home build was well organized. When we arrived to the site on the first day, a concrete slab had been poured and all the supplies were waiting for us.
I attempted to stand in the same spot and take a photo as the house went up. In just three days, it was complete!
The build itself was hot, dirty and exhausting.
However, seeing the family’s current living conditions and working side by side with them and YWAM staff was so motivating.
The photo above is a painting project I did on the kitchen bar with my painting buddy, 15-year-old Darling. He is related to the family (who we were building the home for), and we share a love for paint.
We wrote “Dios Bendigo esta Hogar” which means God Bless this Home.
This is one of those experiences that is just so hard to put into words and my perspective has been forever changed.
Not only were we transforming the lives of a family with a safe new home with a roof without holes and a cement (!) floor, but my life (and my family’s) life was forever changed.
I felt like my heart could explode as I watched my husband and kids participate in the build.
And I loved how despite language barriers, my children became instant friends with the neighborhood kids.
Since the homes were built so close together, there was a major shortage on space. We built, painted and played in narrow alleys.
The YYAM staff kept us fed and hydrated,
What started on day one with a slab and a group of people…
…ended on day three as a new home for a family.
These people stole my heart, and in many ways, reshaped it. I’m still processing this experience and am forever thankful for the opportunity.
They were so joyful and giving despite having so little and knew the meaning of community. I learned so much observing them as they shared with each other and spent time together.
I am forever grateful for what they gave us.