A home built on faith
Luis Conde and Brenda Hernandez moved to Peñitas, Texas, for one reason: to protect their children.
About five years ago, Luis and Brenda were living in Mexico. Brenda was about to give birth to a second daughter, but the baby died. Luis and Brenda were heartbroken and vowed to do everything they could to protect their family. When Brenda became pregnant again, they moved to Peñitas for better medical care.
But life was not easy when they moved. In Mexico, Luis was a systems engineer, but in Peñitas there weren’t any jobs available in that field. To provide for his family, he painted houses. Even still, the only home they could afford was a small trailer with one tiny bed for their whole family.
“We had everything we needed [to live],” Brenda said. “But space was very limited.”
Though Brenda and Luis trusted God’s provision, Brenda struggled with depression over their living situation. That’s when she discovered the local Buckner Family Hope Center. Some friends were attending classes and she went with them.
Soon after, a friend at church noticed Brenda and Luis struggling and asked if he could pray for them. That night Brenda dreamt someone would build them a house. For Brenda, the dream helped solidify what she already knew in her heart: God would provide for their family.
“We relate very much to the story of Job,” Brenda said. “Job never left faith. He was with God and never rejected the faith. I believe God was preparing us for all of this. Stuff was taken from us, but he was going to rebuild our lives. If God is in our home, everything will be alright.”
The couple attended parenting classes at the Family Hope Center, teaching them how to be involved parents and help nurture their children. Now, Luis and his daughters regularly cook pancakes together and spend time bonding. They took financial courses that taught them how to budget and save, which allowed them to buy a new car for their growing family.
While working with a family coach, they discovered that Buckner Missions worked with the Family Hope Center to build homes for families who earned points by attending classes at the center and volunteering.
They hung on to the hope that someone would build them a house. One day, Luis told Brenda: “Let’s build the foundation of our house. God will supply the rest.” They knew whether it was Buckner or someone else, God would meet their needs.
A few months later, they learned they qualified for a home build through Buckner. When Buckner staff came to inspect the lot and draw up plans for the home build, they discovered the foundation Luis laid down in faith was the exact size they needed.
“Looking back at what our life was, the new home and seeing God bless us has really built our faith,” Brenda said. “We’re stronger as Christians. And now we have the opportunity to bless others. Recently, a church friend needed a place to stay for a few weeks and we were able to allow him to stay with us in his own room.
“We feel secure in our new home. We are a tight-knit family and we feel safe here. And our children love it when we read stories to them in their room. We consistently have story time and prayer time as a family.”
Settling in their new home and expecting a third daughter did not slow Brenda and Luis’ resolve to continue improving their lives. They saw a need in their community for a Christian party entertainment business and started developing their new business as entertainers.
Brenda started taking classes at the Family Hope Center to help develop their business. She learned about a $1,000 scholarship the center was offering to help build their business. The application needed to have a detailed business plan attached. Brenda learned about the scholarship a day before the applications were due. She rushed home to work on their business development plan.
While working on the plan Brenda realized she was going into labor, but she was resolved to finish. She completed their business plan, drove to the Family Hope Center to drop off their application then continued to the hospital where she delivered their third daughter.
Brenda went to the scholarship announcement but didn’t think they would win. After they announced the third and second place finishers, Brenda accepted the fact they lost. Then they announced she and Luis had won first place. Brenda was shocked.
“I was very excited, but I didn’t have a clue,” Brenda said. “The other participants had been in the business classes much longer than me so I didn’t think I could win. First the house, now this. God has been very good to us, and [because of the scholarship], I know it was God that wants to further our business.”
Now, their business is flourishing and they continue to help others in their community with needs.
“Brenda and Luis are such a bright family,” said Gabriel Flores, a family coach with the Family Hope Center. “All they need is that little push that Buckner was able to give them.”
“My husband’s and my favorite verse is Psalm 37:4: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.’ This is the verse we hold on to and it has been life-changing,” Brenda said. “God is faithful. Whatever the struggle, God is bigger than everything and he is there for you. If God is in your home, then everything will be OK.”