Xenacoj – A Family Transformed – Zuli’s House

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Last year, you may recall my leap of faith decision and the big ask associated with this decision.  To refresh your memory, I decided to go to Guatemala with our high school youth group.  Then I asked The Stretched Community to join together to build something big – a house.  The Stretched Community put their heads, hearts, and wallets together to pay for the materials used to build a house in Guatemala.


Our team of 25 teenagers and 6 adult leaders arrived in Xenacoj to a piece of property with a small dirt floored hut and a dirt yard.  Two and a half days later, we had finish a brand new house for a little girl (Zuli) and her family.  It was an amazing experience for our team and for The Stretched Community.

When we returned to the States, I often wondered how this family and their new home was doing.  Did they use the paint that are team had purchased and given the family right before we left the village?  Did the house help the family?  Did they keep up with it?

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Many of my questions were answered when we returned to Xenacoj last week.  We were able to visit the house and Zuli’s family multiple times.  It was clear that our efforts last summer had made a big difference for this family.  Not only did they use the paint for the house but they also extended the front porch overhang, and they installed a concrete front porch.  They cleaned up their yard, and they built two other buildings and a kitchen on the property.  They were proud of their house, and they were taking care of their property.

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Our family was welcomed back with open arms by Zuli’s family.  We talked together about our families and about God’s love.  We encouraged Zuli to keep learning.  And we prayed together.  Before we left, the family came and saw us at the Center where we were staying.  They wanted to make sure we knew that we were always welcome at their home, and they expressed hope that we would return again next year.  It was a very touching moment.

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It was great for me to see how our help was a real springboard for this family.  Sometimes a little boost is all that is needed to help someone stand on their own.  Sometimes a little help is just what will get someone moving forward.  Seeing Zuli’s house and her family last week was also a great reminder to me that there is tremendous power when a few people get together to do something good for someone.  Thank you Stretched Community for being part of something good in Guatemala!

How have you seen a little help change the course of your life or someone else’s life?  How could you change someone’s life today by a simple act of generosity or by a basic word of encouragement?  What questions to you have about Zuli, her family, or the house we built?