On Monday a small group from our team headed to Ahuachapan to start on the construction of the kitchen and bathroom for the Hernandez house. I was so excited for our reunion with the family. We were greeted with smiling faces and warm hugs from Oswaldo, Irma, Enrique, Wilfredo, and Freddie. We immediately got to work and began clearing some of the land to dig a deep hole for the septic tank and mix concrete for the walls of the kitchen and bathroom. To read about our first house building project with the Hernandez family and his battle with cancer click here.
The Hernandez family was able to get electricity for their home since we had last visited and Oswaldo was very proud of his working television. He insisted that we come inside their home for a break to watch some of the world cup… so of course we followed orders.
At the end of the work day we asked Oswaldo and Irma if they would like to see the videos that we had of Eric from our last trip. They immediately shouted excitedly, “sí, sí, sí!” We took out our iPad and sat with them to watch the footage of Eric celebrating his cancer-free condition. This was one of the most difficult moments for me to be part of. I was heartbroken as I held the iPad with tears streaming down my face for the parents who had lost their precious son… for them this was an extremely joyful moment in which they were able to see their son again on video laughing, smiling, and completely healthy. It was a way for them to be reminded of their son in a joyful state for a few moments. I was deeply encouraged, moved, and challenged by the family’s joy in watching the videos.
The next day our entire team came back to the Hernandez home. We worked hard to make as much progress as possible. We had the privilege of taking the family to lunch and it was so sweet to watch them enjoy lunch at a restaurant in town that they probably would never experience as a family. Oswaldo came up to us at lunch and told us that he was very full and that he could not believe how much food was served on each plate.
We returned to their house to continue working. I was excited to serve Irma in any way that I could for the rest of our time there. She was going to be making tortillas for their family for dinner so she taught me how to form the dough and cook them on her griddle. That time with Irma is something I will never forget. She is an incredible woman who serves her family with more joy than anyone I have ever known.
The entire Hernandez family has challenged me and inspired me in ways that I will never be able to repay. I am so grateful that the Lord allowed me to play a small part in their lives and to have been able to return the following year to serve them again. At the end of our second day working on the house we presented the family with four large framed high quality photos of Eric and their family from the previous year as well as a photo album of about 50 photos from the construction of their concrete house the year before. Our team ended the day laying hands on the family and praying over them and their home and sharing tear-filled “See you laters”.