From Plano to El Paso, in the humidity and heat, one extended family lends a hand to another.
It all started when Ms. Ramos had a family move in with her; her daughter and two children needed a place to say, and Ms. Ramos was not going to turn them away.
She opened her doors to them and found a way to make it work for all of them.
The mobile home that Ms. Ramos has is fairly small and in bad repair. Two small rooms at either end of the place, no air conditioning, and the floors are nothing but plywood. The restroom leaves much to be desired.
Much in the same way that Ms. Ramos gathered her family, a group of dedicated teens, brought to the worksite by the Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care (YLM) project worked to make sure her house became a home.
So how did it start, this group of teenagers coming from Messiah Lutheran Church in Plano, Texas, to work on this one home?
YLM has been working with groups who want to serve our community since the mid-1980’s. One of the things Rev. Dr. Karl Heimer did when he came to Ysleta was to conduct a survey of the area to see what was needed.
Over time, the services YLM offers has grown, but hosting servant events, groups of people that want to build, or meet the medical needs of others, has been a staple of the Mission shortly after it was founded.
There are many things that go into determining who they will serve, what home they will either work on or build from the ground up. The family must be in genuine need, without resources to do the work themselves.
Once they have individuals identified who could benefit from the program, Alonso Gonzalez, the servant event director, then goes out and makes home visits. He looks at the state of the home, assesses the need, and will determine if the groups that are coming are then able to make the additions or build a home if they don’t already have one.
It’s hard work, building homes in our summer weather. The last group I followed, a group of adults that built a home in Juarez, had better weather. These kids, they worked hard in the heat and humidity we’ve had the past week.
Watching these guys give up part of their summer to work on the home of a total stranger is inspiring. Not many people would go this far for a friend, but for a stranger? I am in awe of them. We could all learn a lot from these kids.
The Ramos family is fortunate; they have a roof over their heads. Though numbers vary between sources, El Paso County has anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 homeless individuals. That number does also include whole families that find themselves without a home of their own.
If you would like to help YLM in their mission of Changing Lives Through Simple Acts of Kindness, you can reach them at 915-858- 2588, and speak to either Elvira or Pastor Heimer.
Photos by the Author