"I was born in the dirt, I have lived in the dirt my whole life, and I thought I would die in the dirt," said one elderly woman upon receiving a concrete floor in her small home. Others are less fortunate, they have no home, just a shanty made of plastic and cardboard.
Mercy International began building homes for the homeless shortly after Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras in October of 1998. The challenge then was to get the more than 250,000 refugees out of temporary housing. Eighty homes were built by short-term outreach teams in the following two years.
After a strategic move to the Indian village of Yamaranguila in 2001, Mercy began building homes for Lenca Indians living in thatch and mud huts in remote villages of the Opalaca Mountains. More recently homes have been built for refugees in other areas as the need has become known.
Prefering programs that develop independence rather than dependence, Mercy finds value in giving dignity to the helpless, and hope to the hopeless. A home to the homeless offers more than shelter. Poverty is not the absence of sufficiency, but the lack of hope. A home is hope, an anchor for a lost life, a certainty for the future when before there was no certainty.
One woman rejected God because she thought he didn't care about her. She thought he didn't even know her name. After receiving a home through Mercy International, sleeping in her bed, she began to hear voices in the night. It was one voice. The voice said loud and clear, "I do know you, and I know your name, I have not forgotten you." Without further instruction, without guidance or a missionary to tell her what to do, she gave her heart to God.
A home is a new beginning, the beginning of hope, and the beginning of the end of poverty.