Hearts Make a Home

“It takes body’s to make a house, but it takes your generous hearts to make a home!” 

The director of our house build for Corazon, Julissa, said that quote through the day when building the home for the young family, Roberto, Cynthia, and their son, Jose. I (Michele) went to build help build a home with my friend, Christina, our program director’s assistant, Aimee, yesterday. This program day will be next to my heart, as it was a beautiful experience from start to finish.

We arrived in San Diego on Friday evening to enjoy the evening together and get some much needed rest for our journey in Tijuana, Mexico. On Saturday morning, we woke up before the sun to head to meet the church we were joining for the day. The church we joined was Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Santa Barbara, California. This church has been involved with Corazon for over twenty years. Each year, they send a group of an amazing volunteers with Sister Kathleen, CSJ, to change the life of a blessed family. A Priest, from another parish, helping build a separate home for another family said a beautiful to prepare us for the day. After that, we gathered on the bus and headed to Mexico.

{Be mindful that this all took place on the same day.}

After an hour trip, (including the time we had to get off the bus at the border) we arrived at the site where we were going to build a house. It was a bit overwhelming to look at the area where we were going to build a house. This area was the bad area of town, in other words, the dump. You know what, the house owners were ecstatic about being able to actually own a home and did not look at the area. The property that they own was next to the young dad’s mothers house. When the home is finished, they won’t have to live under the same roof as their parent’s, they could grow their family in a home of their own. We started with a slab and plenty of hands to transform their property. Before we started the construction of the house, we needed to move all of the materials from one house to the other. As a team, as one huge heart working together, we moved the materials. Oh, and a part of the team was the family’s cousins, friends, and other people in the community.

{We started to create a home!}

 

We broke into teams, carpentry, building, and painting, each part essential to build a great home. After barely meeting the ones we were working along side, it felt as if we were family. Which we were a family and will always be a family because of the work we did together. We worked as a team, making sure everything was getting done, people were taking breaks, and of course, if people needed help. Little by little, walls were created. Wow- who would of thought in less than 3 hours that we could have built walls for the home? IT WAS AWESOME TO WATCH!!!! After the walls went up, the roof was created. A ROOF!!! People working together to put the roof securely on the house. SO WONDERFUL!!! Then the home started to come together, piece by piece. SO AMAZING!!! The amount of hard work everyone put into the home was paying off in a fantastic way. The goal from the beginning of the day was to build this family a home, and a home we built.

Through out the day, I worked on the painting team, I also helped create the kitchen counter. I was able to converse with many people and learn about them. One thing, I have been learning is to listen to the stories of other’s with all of your heart. By that you learn so much. Even, if I wasn’t able to fully understand the women who were a part of the community in Mexico, I learned a lot from them. I learned that even if you have little and live in terrible situations, you can be the happiest person alive. The family and community in Mexico, who were so hospitable to us, had so much joy to them and were happy to serve us as we were serving them. They blessed us with their presence. I will always remember when I spoke with the young mom, who owned their house, and her huge smile on her face. I asked her, ” Te gusta tu casa?” She replied, “Si, Mi gusta mi casa. Muchas Gracias para todo!!” She earned her house, and I was so blessed to be a part of making her dream come true. Her family will grow up in that house, and I will have been a part of making that possible.

{A dream come true.}

Near the end of the day, the closer and close we were to finishing the home, the family was more and more ecstatic. All of our hard work was worth it and so much more. We finished their home. We gave them a place to sleep of their own. The church we came with had donated a lot of house supplies and food for them to have in their very own home. When everything was finished, we gathered in front of the house to listen to Julissa, thank all of us for giving our time and recapping the day. Remember, this was in a day. After a few words, Christina told the story of the family. She was asked by Julissa earlier in the day to interview the family in order for the entire group to understand their story. What an incredible blessing for not just Christina but for all of us. We were able to hear from the hearts of Cynthia and Roberto about their life together, their plans, their future, and their family. They were so thankful for what we did for them.

As Roberto and Cynthia were thankful for us, we were thankful for them. They are an inspiration to all. They inspire me to keep going against the wind, never give up on my dreams, and to always thank God along the way. Also, to do everything with love, put your heart into something and it will be more than you ever expected. I was a part of something, something huge, something that will change Roberto’s and Cynthia’s lives forever. I am so blessed that I able to do that for a deserving family like them.

{God Bless you Roberto, Cynthia, and little Jose, may your dreams always come true!}

Welcome HOME Roberto, Cynthia and Jose!!!

May our hearts be with you in your beautiful home!

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There’s Freedom in being myself! <3

1Getting_practical

I have always been a very logical and practical person, because well… I had to be. It’s human nature to survive and be self sufficient. Some people are thinkers while others are feelers, and I have been a thinker. Dreaming wasn’t something I had time for; I needed to figure out how I was going to support myself financially and ensure that I wouldn’t let people down if I didn’t become successful, because ultimately, I have so much potential, right? I have always taken pride in being a very organized and disciplined person and in always knowing where my next steps in life were- whether that be school or doing a year of service. As my year of service is coming to a close in June, I have found myself in a bit of a tizzy trying to figure out what my next steps are, after all, our society tells us that if we don’t have a plan then we are lazy, have no sense of direction, etc. I have applied to Azusa Pacific University’s Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate program (that is a mouth full, luckily you’re reading it!) because one of my passions is mental health… yet another passion of mine is to lead worship and to travel… while another is eating healthy and working out and just leading an all around healthy life style. So, I was faced with the decision of “which one do I choose?” Should I go to grad school and put worship on hold? Or should I try and find a full time worship position somewhere and hopefully I’d make enough money to support myself… but that’s not likely. Or maybe I could just teach Zumba classes and hopefully that would sustain me..

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Leading worship with my best friends, Troi’elle Green, Ashley Smith and new friend, Abraham Arce!

 

But then, a light bulb came on and the Lord revealed to me that He is the God of impossibilities. Why does it have to be just one? Why can’t I do all of them? Why does it have to be one or the other? The Lord has given me a peace about pursuing my dreams and ensuring me that He has great plans for my future and that He has indeed placed those passions in my heart. I don’t see myself sitting in an office everyday from 9-5, I see myself traveling, speaking at seminars, leading worship and teaching at seminars on mental health. So, why limit myself (or limit God rather) to just one? If I can dream it, He can make it a reality if I allow Him to. I believe that this generation has amazing opportunities and has the potential to change the world! We are a generation that WILL go after our dreams, we are a creative generation that is continually coming up with new ways to bring in income and better yet new ways to exalt our Lord.

After realizing all of this, I felt a sense of peace knowing that I don’t have to conform to the world’s standards and choose one profession, that my life isn’t summed up based on what I “do”. I am free to be me and to go after what I am passionate about, and now I know that the dreams I have are only impossible if I don’t try.

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My face after realizing that I serve an AMAZING God who is capable of all things!