They were a community under attack. Every year the waters would rise, and when they descended they took with them the well-being of the people. Families lost their homes, their livestock, and their security. Until, finally, a gift was given and a partnership was formed.
Such was the beginning of Mt. Sinai.
In 2009, after years of annual flooding had ravaged their land, the community of Vieja Soledad was given new land by the government. With this new land came the hope for a future set on surer ground. However, it also brought a difficult decision for the members of this broken community: Stay and repair, or leave and begin anew. For a poor community struggling even to survive, the prospect of letting go of whatever semblance of security they had left and going somewhere new to build homes they couldn’t possibly afford seemed as a dream unattainable. This new land given by the government was a space without structure, an empty hope. That is until the government called on El Ayudante to provide structure to that empty space, to provide homes for the homeless, and hope to the hopeless—And that call was answered.
Construction began in 2012 when three teams were sent by El Ayudante to build and dedicate a schoolhouse on the new land. The following year, construction continued and a church was built and dedicated. Structure was given to the space. A once empty hope made full. As the landscape changed with added structures and homes, as brokenness was replaced with wholeness, a new identity was forming. And so, as Saul became Paul by the redemptive transformation of God, so too Vieja Soledad became Mt. Sinai. Since then, teams from all over the United States have been partnering with El Ayudante in an effort to build homes with each of the 33 families set to move to this new community. Moreover, this partnership extended to the families themselves such that every family participated in the construction of their new home. Indeed, the new identity of this community was acknowledged and affirmed as what could very easily have been done for, was instead done with. Recipients of new land became working partners for new homes.
And finally, after just three years of prayer, fundraising, and work, that partnering effort was fully realized. As of February 26, 2015, there is a home ready for every one of those 33 families. But more than just a home, each one of these families has a future. Here at El Ayudante we boldly proclaim our mission statement: One child. One Family. One Community. We believe that in order to make an impact we must focus on one child at a time, one family at a time, and one community at a time. El Ayudante, with the invaluable work of teams from the United States and community members alike, has been focusing on this one community. And this is the fruit of that focus. Homes constructed, hope restored, and a future secured.
Nicholas H. Dean
Mission Team Liaison ’14-’15