Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Extreme Home Makeover...Honduran Style
Even if you have never watched an episode we have all heard of the show Extreme Home Makeover. You know the show I'm talking about. Where they put together one very run-down house, a deserving family, and several opinionated designers and in a seven days span change the lives of that family forever. They are on a race against time to complete work that should take months. I have watched hundreds of episodes of the show and was equally touched each time by the story, the beauty of the house, and the gratitude of the family. However, no matter how many times I had watched it be done on t.v. it could never have compared to playing a part in the process. No I didn't miraculously get the chance to join with Ty and his team on a work site...what I did was 10 times better. I spent all day yesterday on a work site that was much like those we watch on television. Except the house we started with would have brought Ty to his knees. We were on our own race for time...a race that came with the fact that we didn't just take a house and refurbish, redecorate, and redo it. We tore it down piece by piece, brought in completely new material, and built a brand new house were the old one used to stand. Our completed project was no where near as grand as the ones the team on Extreme Home Makeover would have done but to us and the family the house resembled the grandest palace ever! I have lived here for almost 3 months now and had yet to have the privilege of building a home for someone. Well now I have! I spent all day yesterday with the guys on the side of a mountain doing one of the greatest acts of kindness I've ever had the privilege of playing a part in. We woke up before dawn, climbed into a truck, and headed for our work site. It wasn't until I got into the car that the story of what the day would hold started to spill out. The family was living in a home made of sheets, some wire, a few boards, and scrap pieces of tin. It was 8 foot by 10 foot. Which I might add is smaller than my bedroom at home. They then mentioned that the father of the home wasn't even going to be home and to top it off had no idea we were building him a new home! So we make the climb up the mountain and when we come to a stop I find that I can barely even speak as I look at the home we are about to transform. We could only drive the car so far and then had to carry our supplies up a slope to get to the house. I kid you not their home was built ON THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN! When I say side of the mountain I mean just that. You are hiking up the side of the mountain (a decent sized climb) when you come to this relatively flat part. (still was on a slant just not as bad) Well they had taken advantage of that flat spot and built themselves a home with what little materials they could find to use. The mother and her two children were home when we got there and we simply explained what we were there to do. The lady started to tear up and thanking us over and over. After that we quickly got to work. Due to the amount of people we had with us to work I was able to spend a lot of time playing with the children and speaking with their mother. She asked why we were doing what we were doing. She thanked me yet again. I was able to tell her that no thanks was needed...I mean it was the least we could do. I told her all thanks went to God. Later that day after talking with one of the pastors she decided to be baptised and from what I heard gave her life to Christ. Well we worked hard for hours carrying the materials in, contructing the home, then putting on the finishing touches. Just as we were about done with the house they brought the father of the home back. They hadn't told him anything about what we were doing they simply gave him a ride up the mountain. He rounded the corner to his home and about went to his knees as he realized what was going on. He gripped the car nearest to him and put his head in his hands as he sobbed. No exaggerations the man cried for at least an hour. I've seen lots of happy families on Extreme Home Makeover but nothing compares to the reaction I witnessed yesterday. It was a beautiful sight...a beautiful experience...and a beautiful example of service. As we were putting the last few touches on the home the man disappeared for a bit. When he returned he brought with him chips and juice that he had went and bought with what little money he had simply so he could give back to those of us that had been working on his home for the day. We were not expecting or wanting any kind of payment. However, even though I wasn't a bit hungry I wouldn't have turned down this man's attempt to repay us for what we had done. It was a wonderful day filled with laughter, tears, and a whole lot of love. I know that I've been rambling on in this blog but I just wish I could find the words to truly express the experience. I don't think I will ever be able to tell you how great it was! God is so good!