This week, I have two stories in one. They’re about the faith of two extraordinary women who are not only neighbors, but also had their new houses built the exact same day. And both possess the most abundant faith.
When asked how she came to follow God, Alma smiles a small smile, and says, “Oh, that story will make me cry.”
Years ago, Alma’s husband was an alcoholic, also addicted to drugs. She decided to leave him because she thought it would be better for their sons. She started working in a factory, and one of her friends began sharing the gospel with her at work. Her friend’s husband also began sharing the gospel with Alma’s husband.
One day, Estefan, her eldest son, came back from a church service, pleading with his mother: “Mom, you need to come! You need to come to the place where people sing to God!”
Eventually, she went, and God changed her heart.
It’s been over 10 years since their entire family accepted Christ, and over 10 years since their father touched any kind of drug or alcohol. Their marriage and family is healthy again.
When they chose to follow Jesus? “That’s when our lives really changed,” Alma said. “God is the one who restores families.”
Because of the cost of paying for one son’s asthma, they had to stop renting a house, so they lived in a tiny shack on their own land. Alma desperately wanted a house, but had started to lose hope, because, “no one can afford a house like this,” she said, gesturing to the walls around her.
One day, her youngest son, Emmanuel, saw a Homes of Hope crew working on a house across the valley from them, and exclaimed, “Mom, I, want to ask those workers for a house!”
She replied, “Don’t ask them, son: ask God first.”
Emmanuel’s response: “I already did!”
When Alma talks about receiving her new house, her eyes well with tears. She clearly cares deeply for this house, and takes incredibly good care of it: the walls have been repainted a peachy pink color and are covered with framed Bible verses. A plaque with a photo of the Homes of Home team that built the house is displayed prominently in the main room.
“I’m very grateful for this house," she told us, “It’s a huge blessing. It’s what I prayed for.”
One of Alma's final comments to us showcases the quiet strength of her faith: “We always go through struggles, but there is never a time when God doesn’t surprise us.”
Please pray: Alma trusts God with her sons’s futures. She wants them to go to college and live a different life from what she and her husband live. Please pray that God provides a way for both boys to be able to get an education. Estefan, the eldest, wants to be a doctor when he grows up.
Margarita used to live in Chiapas, in Southern Mexico. One night, she had a dream where she was told: “Give everything away and leave your house.”
She wasn’t sure what to do with that dream. But she had a feeling that, eventually, she was going to move from the South.
One day, it started raining. Just little drops. But it kept raining. And raining. Eventually, they were told to evacuate, so she gave away what she could, and then had to leave the house. The house was swept away in flooding caused by a hurricane.
When asked if she was bitter at God after losing her house, she responded with an answer that reminded me a lot of Job, “When I went back to see if my house was still there, I told myself, ‘God, if it’s your will, I surrender to you. Whether my house is there or not, I surrender.’”
After that loss, she and her family (husband and adopted children) moved up to Tijuana. They bought land, but couldn’t afford to build anything on it, so they lived with Margarita’s brother.
“The most important thing is that I didn’t lose my faith. I never lost my faith.”
Through a neighbor, Margarita eventually got in contact with Homes of Hope. After their initial interview with the organization, she thought it would take 2 years to get a call about a house. It only took 2 months.
Sitting inside her new house, Margarita told us, “We are poor, but we are rich. Rich in spirit. If we believe in God, we are rich.”
She continued, “I’m really grateful for all that God has given us. I’m very happy and content with this house.”
Please pray for Margarita’s health, and for God to keep leading and providing for her and her family.