by Britt Hester, Minister of Youth and Christian Education
Prior to our trip to San Raymundo, Guatemala, I told people that we were “gifting a home to a family in need.” After our trip, I see how I was wrong. Let me explain. Prior to our trip, I thought we were indeed going to Guatemala to build a home for a family who desperately needed it. We had seen their current living situation and heard the stories of their desire to live in a safer and more sustainable home. It made sense why I, and I’m sure my fellow teammates, felt we were providing a home to the Xuya family.
But the truth is a home already existed. No, there wasn’t a concrete foundation, a solid roof, or well-constructed walls, but there was a home. You see, the Xuya family, despite having limited electricity, no plumbing, plywood & tin scraps for walls, and blankets as doors, had each other. I don’t say that to be trite or cheesy. This family, despite living in extreme poverty and desolation, lived with such joy and peace. And they shared that joy and peace with everyone. Each day they would bring our team fresh fruit from a friend’s nearby garden. On the last day, they cooked us a traditional Guatemalan meal with their own food and supplies. And they helped us complete the build by filling in for team members who were sick during the week.
While it may have seemed that we were providing a home for this sweet family, the truth is we were building them a house. The home already existed, for home is a place where love and grace permeate, and regardless of the circumstances, you feel safe. The Head and the Heart, one of my favorite bands, write in their song “Lost in My Mind” that, “You’re already home where you feel loved.” This family was already home before we arrived. Now they have a house to shelter and accommodate the depth of that love for one another.