Smell Like the Sheep – Extreme Home Makeover – Mexico Edition

I apologize for the delay in my blogging about our special “Smell Like the Sheep Project”.  Things have been a bit crazier than usual and after moving our friends into their home, we frantically had to get the mission house ready for a group to arrive 3 days later and my family had to pack up to come back to the States to have this baby!  So I am now writing from Louisiana, fully in nesting mode to prepare for our new arrival, but still with the lessons and experiences of last week fresh in my heart and mind.

For those of you who have ever come to General Cepeda on mission, you might have already guessed that our special friend and her family that we have been helping is none other than Francisca.  Everyone who has come for a week long mission has met their family because most nights they are at the table sharing coffee milk and peanut butter and jelly with us.  I asked her if she was ok with me sharing her story and pictures with all the people who had been praying for their family and who financially helped to make this project a reality, and she happily said yes.

There’s so much to share, but I’ll try to give you the abbreviated version of what all happened over the last few days of our time with Francisca, Chemo and the kids. Our hope was to have the house done and the family ready to move back in by Tuesday morning, but as with everything with this project, nothing happened as we planned!

floorMonday the Schumanns arrived home from their time at language school, and immediately entered in to helping with laundry, de-licing and home makeover plans.  Laundry washing continued, and the guys went to Saltillo to buy new beds, bedding, shelves, tables and chairs.  They couldn’t find the kind of beds that they wanted so decided to make it instead.  They got home around 11pm that night, exhausted and Ben feeling extremely sick.liceTuesday morning we got Benda and Yajaira off to school and then the ladies took Francisca and her 2 youngest to Saltillo to buy more clothes.  By this point we had washed almost all of the clothes that they had and organized them into piles for each person, only to find out that Francisca had about 5 pieces of clothing for herself and hardly anything for the baby since he was their first boy.

Francisca shying accepted the clothes that we offered, and we were happy to see that she was actually excited about bright colors.  All we have ever seen her wear is dark baggy sweat shirts and jeans that are too big on her.  We picked up some more clothes for the youngest two kiddos as well and then bought some big bins, a couple pans for the stove, and Francisca picked out a pink table cloth to go with the “Princess Pink” paint that she had chosen for the walls of their house.  We had a great morning and made it back in time for the girls getting out of school.  We then had to start bath time and lice picking again to get as many of the remaining eggs as we could before they moved back into their lice free home.  By this point Ben was sick in bed and unable to move, but still managed to draw out the plans for the bed that they planned to build.  John-Paul and Erik took all the lumber over to their house and started the task of building a bunk bed from scratch.  At this point we realized that we weren’t going to have the house ready for them to move into until Wednesday.

Wednesday morning the guys went over to the house to put all the final touches on the bed and set up the house while the ladies finished sorting through and organizing all the clothes into personal bins and picked back through hair for the last time. When the girls got home from school and had eaten, we loaded up the last few things they had with them and headed over to their house for the big reveal.

F&CChemo and Francisco right before the big reveal

I wish so much that we had a picture of the house before we started all of this project.  For those of you who have ever done a home visit to their house, I’m sure you haven’t forgotten how dark, dirt, stinky, crowded and cluttered it was.  There was barely a path to walk from the front door to the back of the house.  And while I keep saying house, it really is just one room.  There was no table to sit down at, and only a rickety old table for her to cook over a fire in the wall.  There were bags and bags of clothes and blankets piled everywhere along the walls and the mattresses never had sheets on them.  It was hard to imagine anyone living in such conditions, let alone an entire family with 4 small children.

old stuffAll of their belongings from before the project – the mattresses and pillows they used to sleep on

f&C houseBefore

whole houseAfterF-cryingFrancisca’s reaction

the revealTheresa’s excited

blocksThe girls finding their new blocks

clothesStorage bins for each person’s clothes

house-cross&kitchenSo off to their house we went.  Chemo was waiting outside for us to get there.  They were shocked and Francisca cried.  The girls excitedly climbed up on their new bunk (wide enough for two).  We showed them where everything was and asked Francisca what she thought.  She was a bit in shock I think…who wouldn’t be?  She said she liked it and that she felt like she was dreaming. She also said that she knew that this was what Andrea had wanted for her.  We decided to give them some time to let it all soak in, and told them we’d be back after a while to bless the house and pray with them.

house blessingWe brought back some groceries to stock her new little kitchen and burritos and banana muffins for dinner.  Sheila and I had a moment to just talk with Francisca and we were so blessed by her gratitude and determination to make this be a lasting change for her family.  We thanked her for humbly enduring us telling her and her family what they could and couldn’t do for the past week, for being willing to accept getting rid of a lot of their things that were no longer good or sanitary, and for letting us correct her children in our home.  She then said to us, that she had wanted to thank us for putting up with them and especially not giving up because her children weren’t well behaved.  This woman has taught me so much through this whole experience, and God has used her to chip away at my stoney heart a little bit more…but that will have to be another blog

TO BE CONTINUED…

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~ by martinsonmission on March 12, 2015.

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