Common Hope – Antigua Day #2

Day #2:  Common Hope – Antigua

Today was a wonderful day.  We started work on our house, building the panels that we will erect on Thursday with their new roof.  The houses Common Hope builds have to be mobile because landowners can (and do!) terminate leases and kick families off of their properties.  Very few Guatemalans own the land they live on, and are used to having to move a lot, consequently.  Michelle, an architect from Switzerland, who volunteers here at Common Hope, has been busy building prototypes of murphy beds and folding table sets that they are looking at integrating in the small 12 X 16 foot house designs Common Hope builds here.  Space efficiency is a MUST when you have families of 6, 8, or 10 living in 12 X 16 or 12 X 24 foot homes. 

Several of us had powerful emotional experiences today when we got to meet our sponsored children and go on social work visits into the outlying villages.  We were struck by the incredible hospitality of the people, who showered us with kisses, hugs, and food as they welcomed us into their humble one or two-room homes.  How many families would be happy to see and host a surprise visit from THEIR social worker here in the United States?   Not many!  You can see how deeply the families adore the Common Hope social workers and appreciate the work they do in their midst.  One of our Waconia team members visited an extremely poor family today, living in a ramshackle shack, like many of the families do.  The young daughter in this family instantly attached to him, wrapping her arms around him like a barnacle and refusing to let go.  Our Waconia team member realized that this little girl had chosen HIM to be her sponsor, and after leaving the social work visit, he had to submit:  “Sign me up to sponsor that one.  I am undone.”   The warmth and kindness of the people here cannot be described.  They have so little and yet treat you like royalty.

Our night finished well – getting to see plenty of bursts of hot lava spewed into the night sky from the volcano nearby.  It’s really hard to get enough of it.  The theme for today, as we all went around the room sharing our experiences and “God-sightings” was gratitude.  We are grateful to be here and to feel woven together with the families and new friendships here in Guatemala.  Thanks for your support and prayers.

Pastor Christine

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