This week, teams from across the state are striving to build more homes simultaneously than Buckner International has ever attempted during Spring Break in Peñitas, Texas.
“We have never seen an effort come together like this,” said Javier Perez, director of Buckner Domestic Missions. “This week, the lives of seven families will be forever changed. This is a significant step forward for each of these families; it’s a week of transformation that will resonate throughout the community for years to come.”
Eleven teams are scattered across the colonia, working from sun up to sun down constructing homes for vulnerable families who have earned enough points to qualify them for a house build through the local Buckner Family Hope Center. Families earn points by volunteering and attending Hope Center classes on job skills, parenting, managing finances and developing strong family relationships.
In addition to building homes, some volunteers are also hosting a sports camp and teaching classes at the Hope Center, including financial planning and a tutorial on how to can food.
“It’s not just about the work, it’s about the people,” said David Henry from University Baptist Church in Houston. “That’s so important to me to realize that we didn’t come just to serve them, we came here to be served by God. God gives each of us those gifts and talents and it’s up to us to make sure we find the spots to use them.”
The construction of a new home is part of helping each family attain its goal of economic self-sufficiency.
“We seek to transform the lives of vulnerable families in all we do,” said Rebecca Estevanes, director of the Hope Center. “Little is more transformational than ownership of a safe, secure, stable home. These families have worked hard to strengthen themselves by learning new skills, becoming better parents and developing strong relationships. Volunteer teams will help catapult families even further forward by building homes that reflect the families’ newfound strength.”
For the first time, a group of Peñitas fathers served by the Hope Center is building a home for their own neighbors. They were so excited by the project, they started a week early.
“Giving back is one of the key components we teach at the Hope Center,” said Gabriel Flores, who leads the center’s fatherhood classes. “When they saw the need for a new house in their community and the opportunity to make that happen, they jumped at the chance. Many of these guys have the skills needed to build a house. They use them all the time. Now they’re using them to strengthen their community. It’s truly beautiful.”
Francisco Gutierrez, who attends the fatherhood class at the Hope Center, was particularly anxious to help one group of volunteers as they were the same group that built his new house during spring break last year.
“They made an impact in my life,” he said. “I feel the need to lend them a hand because they have invested in me. I realized the amount of effort a mission team takes to come here, and I’m grateful that they come. It brings me joy to help the mission teams and my own community in this way.”