Recently a gentleman from New Zealand was in to share during our weekly staff development time. He asked us "What is your meaningful purpose?". Being in YWAM we get asked questions like this quite often but as we process it, we wanted to be able to communicate that with you as well. So, we're going to take a few blog posts to help you understand a bit better why we do what we do.
As I write this, YWAM Mazatlan has been a part of building over 150+ Homes of Hope homes in Mazatlan. We've been a part of Homes of Hope in many different ways, from helping build some of the homes and filming home builds to planning the logistics, etc. We have had lots of discussion over the years about the benefits of Homes of Hope, but what is it about Homes of Hope that keeps us excited year after year?
1) It meets an immediate need
Sometimes we get caught up on models and discussions can take place about what is true community development, like is giving a family a hope paternalism. I get it, I've had those conversations and been on both sides of the argument, but at the end of the day what we see with the Homes of Hope ministry is people who have an undeniable need can have their world turned upside down in just three days.
2) It gives hope to the hopeless
One thing we have seen so many times over the last eight years is a renewed hope. A family could live for years in a shack made of old metal panels, wood or even cardboard in some cases. They have nothing to be proud of, so they do nothing in their current situation. Yet, once they receive a new home it's like a spark of hope for their future. Families will sweep the dirt in front of their house, plant gardens and all of a sudden there is enough money to begin slowly purchasing bricks to add on to what they have. A new home is like a starting point for these families and because they are no longer worried about scorpions falling into their beds, leaky roofs or muddy floors.
3) It partners with the local church
A critical piece to the Homes of Hope process is the partnership that we (YWAM) have with the local church in the areas where we build. Local pastors give us a constant presence and avenue for discipleship as well as insight to the real needs of each community. We have a great example of this in our friends Chuy & Tere who are pastors in one of the communities where we build homes. The quick story with them is that they were pastors that we partnered with, then something happened. A couple years ago they did their DTS with us, have joined us on staff and we are now looking at how we can continue planting churches in Mazatlan with them.
4) It allows people to get involved in missions
On the other side of this equation are the teams who come down to build. It's easy to look at their contribution as financial and sweat equity, but one thing that we here over and over from teams is that they received more than they felt like they gave. It is at the end of the day a mission trip, they give their time and money to come and bless a family in need. While they are here they are exposed to the YWAM community, the family they are building for and being a part of giving of themselves and God always seems to do a number on them.
Homes of Hope isn't necessarily our "meaningful purpose", but the families who receive homes, the local pastors and the teams who come to build are a part of it. Homes of Hope is just as much about seeing transformation in local communities as it is seeing the local church grow and for people to get involved with short and long term missions.
Have you ever built a home with Homes of Hope or are you interested in doing so? We'd love to get your thoughts in the comments below.