For the past nine years, teams from the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas (WMU) have traveled to the Rio Grande Valley to build a home for a family participating in Buckner Family Hope Center programs.
For nine years, WMU has:
- Traveled long distances to spend a week away from their home blessing another family.
- Spent hours in the South Texas heat with hammers, nails and power tools to build a new house piece by piece.
- Encouraged, hugged and laughed with the receiving family.
- Shared meals and fellowship with the local families.
- Prayed diligently for the family and asked for blessings for their new home.
They weren’t about to let COVID-19 prevent them from building a home on their 10th anniversary.
With help from the Family Hope Center in Peñitas, Texas, WMU arranged a “virtual” build and celebration with the Santiago family.
Family, friends and local residents pitch in to build
Anjali and her husband, Adan, were living in a small home that wasn’t even big enough to fit a bed for their 1.5-year-old daughter, Anya Natalia.
The Santiago family qualified for a home build because they are active participants of the Family Hope Center. Anjali also teaches woodworking virtually to other women at the center, including how to fix things around the house.
“We’re really excited about this home build,” Anjali shared. “The home build is very exciting, but bittersweet.”
Because WMU couldn’t travel this year to build the Santiago home, they creatively used allocated funds to employ the community to finish the task. Making it even more special, Sergio Granados, a previous recipient of a new home, helped add the roof.
Family virtually shared the building process through videos
Anjali shared frequent videos featuring the building process and documented how she and her family were feeling throughout the journey.
As she watched the building materials arrive for their new home, she felt overwhelmed and expressed both anxiety and gratitude. When the frame and siding were installed, it became more real to her that this was their new home.
At the end of every day’s work, Anjali walked through the house cleaning and planning for each room.
“Before, we didn’t have space for a bed for Anya, so she sleeps with us,” she said. “So, I’m going to get to train her to sleep in her own room now.”
WMU provides support through virtual encouragement
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the build went a little slower than in years past, but throughout the whole process, WMU was by their side virtually. The WMU team added words of encouragement for the family on a virtual board from all across Texas.
When a local church learned Anjali’s mother was in a wheelchair, they donated extra materials so they could have a porch with a wheelchair ramp.
“We don’t get to see our friends or family often because of the pandemic but seeing how Anjali is opening her home to her family is inspiring,” said Xylina Rotramel, Buckner missions and case coordinator. “Anjali said her mother hasn’t been able to visit for seven years, but now with this wheelchair ramp, she has been able to.”
Virtual celebration marks joy and new beginnings
On January 21, the Buckner and WMU teams gathered virtually for their traditional end-of-build blessing, to pray over the home and celebrate the new journey for the Santiagos with encouragement and joy.
With technology and creativity, WMU and the Buckner Family Hope Center were able to continue helping families in need, proving we can still be together even when we’re apart.