The 2011 Lent Build ended on a high note! From April 18th-22nd, 140 national and international volunteers came together to build eight houses during the last week of the event. A total of 16 houses were constructed during Lent Build, surpassing the original goal of 15.
Aside from helping to build the homes, many of the volunteers also participated or took a leadership role in the myriad of community service activities we hosted. These included quilting classes, a medical clinic, a workshop on dental health, a soccer tournament, parties for the local children, guided visits to other Habitat El Salvador projects, and an intercultural activity. The volunteers also helped lead devotions every morning, which provided a space for us to connect spiritually during Easter week.
On Friday morning we celebrated the dedication of the new houses with an estimated 220 guests. We were blessed to have three pastors participate in this special ceremony. Pastor Martín Quiñonez, from the Ahuachapán Pastoral Association, led the opening prayer. Retired Lutheran Pastor William Bengston blessed the new home, and Pastor Jeff Pinkston of Steele Creek Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, North Carolina gave the closing prayer. Another highlight of the event was the speech given by Enrique
Sánchez, a representative of Myers Park Presbyterian Church (MPPC). He thanked God for the second year of the Strengthening the Getsemaní Community project and described how content his church is to see the project grow and incorporate new partners. Enrique gave a special welcome to Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, our newest partner, and spoke passionately about how MPPC, Thrivent and Habitat El Salvador have been able to work together to promote the holistic development of Getsemaní.
For me, the dedication was a very satisfying moment. Our work in Getsemaní, where the level of need is so evident, helps us remember what Habitat El Salvador is truly about: helping low-income families. Lent Build has highlighted that decent housing is a common cause that people from different countries, churches and social groups can come together and support. I feel happy to have been a part of this effort to holistically impact a community in need of a hand up.
—Carlos Avalos, Church Relations Coordinator