Don Carlos & family (front row right) pose with team after presented with keys to their new home
If we were to choose one word that represents the work Everett First Presbyterian (EFPC) did in Mani in July, it would be: Edify. Interestingly, the Greek word for edify, “oikodome,” means to build a house. But EFPC did more than just build a house. They built comrade and unison with a community more than 3,000 miles away. It began when EFPC expressed interest in returning to Yucatan for the 3rd time to build a new home for another family. When we approached the local church leaders of Divino Pastor in Maní for a family in need, they answered right away.
Pastor Gonzalo (l) and church leaders introduce us to Don Carlos & family in Mani, Yucatan
Through the church's purified water plant ministry, Divino Pastor had been ministering to a family who lived in a make shift hut on the outskirts of the community. Thanks to EFPC and Alfredo, a church leader who works for the pueblo municipal, Don Carlos, his wife Adolfa and their 2 children now have access to running water and a new cement home.
Yet this mission did not happen overnight. In fact, communication and planning began over a year ago. We are so thankful to EFPC, the enthusiastic team, and awesome group leader Darcie Cooper who we admire for thinking outside the box and being ever so flexible in missions. Examples? Holding fundraising events in the Seattle and Everett communities to make this possible. Ice cream socials in Mani to get to know the local church youth. And no objections to doing church "outside the church" when asked by a local leader for her team to lead VBS in the pueblo's municipal center.
During construction, under the scorching heat, it was a definite sacrifice of labor for the EFPC team who persevered each day. Much like the other teams that come to work alongside us, the edifying had much more to do than just construction. It was uplifting Don Carlos and his family by displaying the gospel in action.
Every afternoon, the EFPC team supported the local church by working alongside its VBS team, “Mi Verano,” serving close to 200 children every day, sometimes in down-pouring rain.
(Photo above: Kawika leads EFPC and children in "Chuchuwawa" dance during VBS)
Avelina, the Divino Pastor church’s VBS leader, had this to say about team leader Darcie Cooper & the EFPC team: “They impacted not only the church but also the pueblo of Mani by their example of service. Not only did we make a great team serving together, but we also did this as brothers and sisters and as friends, despite the language difference. It’s admirable that people leave their comforts to come to a place where they will work under the sun, get sick, not sleep well, finish tired every day & despite knowing this, take a step of faith to come to Yucatan to serve their fellow man. It was Yucatan Helping Hands extending God’s kingdom.”
EFPC leading VBS games infront of the famous Maní convent San Miguel Arángel built in 1549