I have felt God's presence in every place we've visited so far during the first half of our trip. Today our team saw the house that we're completing for the first time. It is a duplex, which will be shared by two single moms and their teenage daughters. The house was started by another His Hands His Feet team from Texas in June and we have the honor of completing the home this week. My teammates were assigned jobs such as leveling out dirt, filtering sand, playing with the kids, or jumping on the loose dirt to make it compact. I had to level out the dirt on the side of the house, which was hard work. Usually these kinds of tasks are tedious and become boring very quickly, but today was different. The "boring" tasks became fun and enjoyable. I could feel the Holy Spirit working through my hands as well as my team member's hands.
After working for a while, I decided to take a break and play basketball with my new friends, Michael and Pedro. These two boys were full of energy, even after a half hour of running around the basketball court. I was drained after the first five minutes! God's love was prevalent in these young boys. I left and returned twice and each time they were still joyful, messing around on the courts. In California, specifically Orange County, kids would rather play video games than play outside, especially if it was eighty-five degrees and humid, but these boys didn't complain once about the heat and had the time of their lives. If the whole world had the mentality of these boys, the world would be a better place.
For lunch our team ate sandwiches at the school and out of the blue, rain started to pour. The streets were made of dirt, which turned to mud very quickly. When we got back to the house we continued painting the outside walls, even in the midst of a torrential downpour. We were so excited to be working on the house and the rain didn't bother us. As I began to paint, I had to squeeze between the freshly painted house and a barbed wire fence. The distance from the barbed wire and the house was about two or three feet, so needless to say, it was a tight fit. Once again on a normal day I would have been anxious or annoyed but here I was happy. One of my teammates reminded me that we were painting a house where a family that has been homeless will sleep for many years to come. It is the answer to their prayers. It hit me then how lucky all of us on the team are. Our houses may be larger and fancier than the ones that we were painting but the families that will live in the houses were so thankful. They even wanted to get their hands dirty and help.
I felt God's overwhelming presence in that community and I'm so thankful that He created such a safe neighborhood for families who do not have homes. This community of about thirty homes is crime free and has a Christian school in the middle of the neighborhood. The church is just down the road. These safe havens do not happen by chance but because of God's plans. He called a missionary family to purchase the land five years ago, where families have been able to move into wood homes. It is an honor for our team to build the first concrete house in the community.
Our team was exhausted after a hard day of work. We were also wet and filthy from working in the rain and mud. But that didn't stop us from a fun filled shopping spree at Walmart, where we purchased household items like cups, plates, bowls, rugs, bedding, mirrors and non-perishables for the "forever homes." Many of my family members and friends donated funds for these costs so it was especially moving for me to be able to shop for these gifts. Our team will put the furniture into the homes tomorrow and decorate the homes before presenting the keys. I look forward to decorating and presenting the house to the families and seeing their faces in the end.