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May 24, 2016

Our Towns Habitat Team Carries our Mission across an Ocean

On April 9, a team of 17 people from our local Habitat of Humanity, including four staff members and I, boarded a plane to spend 10 days working to build homes, community and hope in Guatemala. This is our story.

The trip wasn’t easy. Hauling sand and rock up a four-story hill, one bucket at time, tested our muscles and squeezed our lungs. But more painful was the sight of so much poverty. According to one guide, more than two-thirds of the nation’s 17 million people live in poverty.

Six-year-old Natalie and her family, with whom we had the opportunity to work, are just one example of the widespread poverty. Initially, Natalie stayed close to her mother, but during the week, she bravely stood closer to us. She played games and taught us how to say words like “circle” and “sunshine” in Spanish. By the last day, Natalie had made us part of her family.

We came back as family too. Working together to build walls for someone else broke down any walls that stood between us. We laughed together, comforted each other when we hurt and shared a week full of memories that none of us will ever forget.

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity of Guatemala have a deep, long-standing relationship. In 1987, Our Towns Habitat sent a tithe check for $1,139 to build one home in the war-torn country. Now, nearly 30 years later, Our Towns has given a total of $2,217,041 to provide over 623 housing solutions in Guatemala.

On the day we boarded the plane for our return trip to the U.S., I overheard a stranger in the airport ask a member of our team, “How long will you keep going to Guatemala?” The team member replied, “Until everyone in this beautiful country has a decent place to live.”

I pray that others will join us next year as we plan to continue building in Guatemala.

Yours in Christ,
Jeff Porter
Executive Director

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