Maria had never slept on what we would call a bed, bathed in what we would call a shower, or owned a cell phone. By the grace of God, she has been raising four kids in the midst of a challenging life that got exceedingly harder a year ago when her husband died of colon cancer. Her house was about 6 feet tall—three walls and a roof, each made of a single sheet of tin. Her home totaled about 35 square feet.
Maria’s world was completely flipped upside down recently. Casas Por Cristo is an organization that builds houses as a way of intentionally sharing the love of Christ for families in poverty throughout Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, as well as Juarez/Acuna, Mexico.
One Sunday morning, it was time for Pastor Heyson Edmundo Bhor to decide which family he had picked as the recipient of a new home. Usually, there are many families already on the waiting list. However, this time, Pastor Heyson did not have one in mind. So, he got on his knees and began to cry out to God to be clear which family the Lord wanted. A knock at the door interrupted his conversation with God. At the door was a woman who had heard he was involved with an organization that built houses and said her daughter-in-law, Maria, was in great need of this necessity.
The pastor went off to go see the family’s living area the next day. Here in this part of Guatemala, there are no addresses, and most families do not have a phone number to contact. Yet, this did not stop him. He got on his motorcycle and rode off. He felt the Spirit leading and continued along the road to a town called Los Ajuixes. He began asking the locals if they knew Maria. Everyone’s response was “no.” As he began to leave the town, he was beginning to lose hope, but individuals told the pastor to continue down the hill until it ended. Finally, he arrived and there was indeed a need for a home. It was beyond belief to see where Maria and her family were living.
Behind the scenes, God had sent a mission team from Fayetteville, Ga. The building process was a bit tough due to some rain. Nonetheless, after three days, a house complete with electricity and a porch was built. In addition, the team provided two beds, a water filter and other amenities to make the home as comfortable as possible.
At the house dedication, someone mentioned the oldest son had told his mom he had a dream his father who was in heaven was going to build them a house. And there he stood, on the porch of his new three-bedroom home. How beautiful the thought that both fathers—the deceased parent and the heavenly Father—were watching down to provide for the family.
We do not know where Maria is with her walk with God. The pastor connected with each family follows up to make sure the gospel continues to be conveyed. Please pray for Maria’s family and all the others who receive homes this summer to understand just how grand God’s provision is but more importantly, how grand God’s invitation is to be his daughter or son.
Estefania Soto, president of the Baptist Student Ministry at the University of Texas-El Paso, is serving in Guatemala with Casas Por Cristo.