By Kelly Grotendiek
Hello Lotes Builders!
Meet brothers and sisters Maynor, Hugo, Ronaldo, Gladis, Luci, and Tribey, who received their new home during Team #3. As the building continues- there have been 5 teams now- I wanted to share a wonderful example of how the Lord is working amongst the Los Lotes people.
For this build session, I helped Hermano Jesús with his house. The four youngest of these kids received us as our team descended upon them early in the morning on Day One. Hermano Jesús gathered us all up together to pray first, and then the building began!
Throughout the day, the kids became more and more involved with the work. Hermano Jesús often interacted with them and told jokes (at least I think they were jokes because he made them smile and laugh). They were all very interested in the building process and were willing to do everything. They had great attitudes, were kind, helpful, and overall a joy to work with.
When it came to the awesome job of sanding the drywall mud, even Luci, 14 years old, dove right in and consumed her share of the white dust. (She is in the photo here with David, one of the team members.) As we took turns entering and emerging from these clouds, Luci later stood ready with a bowl of water to help us clean up- revealing her thoughtful and compassionate heart.
Over the course of the day when Anya came around to do her thing, she asked the kids where their parents were. We then learned that the dad had passed away recently and the mom had left for the City to get work. Of course, the kids had no communication with her or expectation of how long she would be away. Assumedly, Maynor, the oldest at 25, was left in charge of his brothers and sisters as they fended for themselves. (By the way, PBM will keep tabs on these kids and “adopt” them if necessary to make sure their needs are met.)
According to one of the team members, the ‘futbol’ game after Day Two was a particularly meaningful bonding experience between the group and the villagers. He said that in addition to the actual players, the game attracted many local families whose young children participated just as much by chasing all the balls that the El Norte folks kicked down the hill. “Laughter, comedy, skill, and joy filled the void between Spanish and English and set the stage for the next day’s home dedications.”
I was not there for Dedication Day, but Hermano Jesús’ house was intentionally saved for last. Extra time was spent with the family, in spite of the oppressive heat and cramped quarters. I heard that all the kids responded to the Gospel message, with Luci even crying out before it was her turn. In every detail around how events unfolded and the people whom the Lord selected, it was obvious to me that something supernatural was happening here within this family.
The Lord is at work and we have been privileged to take part!
To all the teams that have been to Los Lotes: know that the experience each of your families have had and that the overall village has had because of your efforts to show love to them, has all played a part in the people’s willingness to let us in- to share themselves and engage with us so freely and openly as many of them do. To all you guys who dug deep to play soccer after an exhausting and dirty day in the heat- well done!
On the last night before we left, one particular lady who often came during the evening hours mentioned that she would miss us and hoped for our soon return. It made me wonder how strange it must be for the Lotes people when our large and noisy groups invade their little village. How bittersweet to get to know us only to have us leave after a few days. If we indeed bless these people and bring them hope, may it not rise and fall with us. May we be instruments that point the way to the Lord, who alone can be their ultimate blessing and fulfill all their hopes.
After March, PBM will not return in “large format” until January 2019- however, shown at the right is the new Lotes International Airport that the Oetman Excavating team constructed in February. Via airplane or truck, PBM pastors will continue discipleship to the village throughout the year.
Keep praying guys! Put yourselves back in your Lotes home with your Lotes family and remember them. Pray as fervently as you did on Dedication Day and continue to be used by the Lord to change their lives!