Queridos servants sent by God,
Hola. My name is Maria.
I wanted to send you this gift.
This is the only existing picture of me.
I was born in the early 90’s in Tijuana, Mexico to a beautiful mama and wonderful older brother.
The first six months of my life were so exciting.
Eating. Sleeping. Looking out into the world with wonder. Smiling. Crying. Laughing. Yawning.
Everything was so new to me.
During that December, a bad winter storm came and my families home was very small and unable to really protect us from the rain and cold.
Every night, my mom, brother and I would sleep under a tarp, keeping each other warm as the rain came into our casita through the roof and underneath the walls.
One night, it was too cold for me and when we woke up in the morning, I had a very hard time breathing. My mom and brother rushed around, frantically looking for a car to get me to the hospital. I spent the last three hours of my life in the hospital that day.
My first task was to be my mama and brothers guardian angel.
Just a few months into the job I had the chance to witness something unbelievable.
A pastor from our community and a man from somewhere up north came to where my family lived. He met with my mama and told her that a group of people would soon come to build a house for her and my brother.
Within a few weeks, the group arrived and in just a few days, built a beautiful casita with two rooms, a solid foundation, and a strong roof.
Unfortunately, my mama was not there when the group finished because she had to work. When she saw the home, she broke out into tears of joy for this amazing gift from God and tears of sadness knowing that if we had this home when I was born, perhaps I would still be with her that day.
In the midst of her tears, the white man came back to talk with my mama and check in with her. My mama could not tell this man “Gracias!” enough and her mix of joy and sadness led her to tell this man our story and to give him this picture of me, the only one my mama had. She knew that this house had changed the future for our family forever.
As I think of all of you amazing people, committed to serving alongside families here in Mexico, I thank you for all you have done for my familia and the Mexican people, the people of my heart. I want to leave you with the words of my mama to that man on that day,
“Never, never stop building homes.”
Con todo mi amor,