In a house that was once barely standing, supported only by empty window frames and a single lightbulb that lit the entire house, lived a family of eight.
The mother, Laura Chavez, her Uncle David, and six out of nine of Laura’s children spent many years in a house that had been passed on through generations of the Chavez family. However, as the years passed, the house began to fall apart. The roof had been leaking for some time. When it rained outside, the family would have to congregate into one room to avoid getting wet while they slept. All of the windows in the house were broken and covered with thin pieces of cardboard, and many of the appliances could no longer be used.
Serving Our Real Family
When a community group at Sandals Church met Laura and her family and saw the condition of the house, the group came back to the church staff and asked how the church could help. With the resources and time of many volunteers, Sandals Church was able to completely rebuild the house and make it into a home just in time for Mother’s Day. As the Chavez family walked through the front door of their new home, tears welled in their eyes as they touched freshly painted walls and fell into new and soft bedding in each bedroom.
Today, Laura and her family regularly attend Sandals Church. Her youngest children were able to attend summer camp, where they got to experience the love of camp counselors and make new friendships. All of the children are now able to have friends from school over to their home to play and hang out - something that was impossible to do before. One of Laura’s older sons, Jonathan, attends college in Monterey Bay, California and now has a comfortable place to stay when he comes home during the holidays.
During their first Thanksgiving in the newly remodeled home, the Chavez family was finally able to have a traditional holiday meal with friends and church family. One of Laura’s wishes after her home was fixed up was to have candles. Though candles seem like such a common household item, Laura never had one. Now, if you walk into her home, you can find at least one candle in every room, filling the house with scents of cinnamon and vanilla.
All six of the children are now responsible for household chores, such as taking out the trash, washing the dishes and doing laundry. Uncle David, Laura, Jonathan, Brittany, Alyssa, Xavier, Savanna and Zachary are so thankful to Sandals Church for giving them a new home and renewing their spirits. The family is so humbled by the generosity of their church family and find such joy in now serving others and finding new relationships.
A home now stands in the place of where a house once was. A house is only four walls, but a home is filled with the warmth of family, love and Christ at the center.