When you Came to Build a House...

March 14, 2015 by Montse Laborin

wallsAfter a few months after Luis started working at Amor, my mom called me and told me that she had a dream. She told me that Luis and I were both working for Amor. I thought my mom was crazy. I was a preschool teacher. I did not know anything about Amor, how was I going to work for Amor? It sounded crazy in my head. But then God disrupted my life.

I started working at Amor in September of 2014.  I went to a worksite for the first time in February with Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, La Mesa. Luis had been telling me that it is a great experience and as a married couple it will be awesome to experience it together. I told Luis that I was going with him and he couldn’t believe it. That whole week I was very nervous. I remember on Friday I was sitting at my desk very nervous reading all the blogs from the staff and participants. I am the First Impressionist; I answer the phone, transfer calls, maintain the donor database, and input all incoming donations, but never on the field. I did not know what to expect.

We woke up on Saturday and got ready to cross the border at 6:00am (since we live in Tijuana). We were at the border, and Luis was surprised how quiet I was. We got to the office and we waited for the group to come. Suddenly the group arrived with big smiles on their faces. Luis was introducing me,and everyone welcomed me with excitement. We were on our way to the worksite in La Presa, and it was about the third time I had been over there. I do not think we are ever going to get used to seeing so much poverty even though we live in Tijuana.


We got to the worksite and the first thing I saw was a woman washing the dishes outside of her small trailer. I won’t forget her reaction when she saw us - she welcomed us with a smile and a hug. I approached her and started talking. She told me how thankful she was to get the house because they did not fit anymore where they were living. They had the small trailer where she was living and another small room made of used lumber where her son and wife were living with their two sons and their daughter-in-law. The room barely fit two mattresses, and it was falling apart.  I went with the group to help them. There were five words that came to my mind at the end of the day that can describe them perfectly.

First of all, how organized they were. As soon as they got at the worksite they started organizing themselves. They put all the tools on one side and in the other side their personal stuff. They split into groups to work more efficient. Some participants were organizing the tools, while others were already cutting some wood and the rest were reading the single house manual to prepare themselves.

The second thing that surprised me was how much effort they put into the house. A couple of days before they came to their mission trip, it rained. Even though they covered all the materials the wood still got wet. It is harder to cut the wood when it’s wet, but when they realized it instead of complaining, they started cheering one another, from the youngest to the oldest that they can do it!

The third thing I witnessed was how happy they were. From the first moment they got to the office until they left I saw them with big smiles on their faces. Some of them took their children and it was amazing how they were encouraging each other.

The fourth thing would be how focused they were. I heard some voices saying, “The family is going to be so happy when the house gets done” They were focused on the family instead of focusing on their needs, and the last one but not least,  I saw while working with the team that came to build a home was AMOR (love).  

They were building the house like they were the ones that were suffering from the cold wind, the rain, and the dust. It was like they were the ones having respiratory illnesses. Like they were the ones that were going to call that place “home”.  Working with them is an experience that I will never forget. Thank you.


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