Solving the long-term housing crisis: Ambassadors to the Nations

My husband remembers a toddler boy running in and out of a tin make-shift shelter in Belize in 1996. He thought it was a tool shed, and asked another missionary if they should keep the boy out of the shed for fear of him getting hurt. The missionary replied that the shed was the boy's family home, pieces of corrugated metal tacked together with a tarp roof. The "house" was the size of a bathroom, about 6'x5', and 10 people slept there every night, on the bare ground.

I remember seeing these shacks - often with a chicken run attached to the side and a cow tied on a stake in the grassless front yard. Animal filth littered the yard in which children were playing happily on the hard packed dirt. The houses built by Samaritan's Purse were definitely an upgrade, with their solid foundation, rain-proof roof, and oven and stove in the kitchen. However, they were still approximately the same size. It was hard to imagine an entire family sleeping in this small space.

I recently learned of an organization that picks up where Samaritan's Purse leaves off, building sturdy, earthquake resistant homes measuring a relatively spacious 20'x20'. The houses have windows, doors, floors, electricity, running water, kitchen appliances, and furnishings, including beds that allow people to sleep in comfort and cleanliness. The houses cost just $4500 to build and $300 to furnish, with all donations going directly to the cost of building. Ambassadors to the Nations covers administrative costs through a separate donation process. They also run medical clinics, host short-term missionaries, and build and run schools and child sponsorship programs in Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, and Jamaica.

A fellow CCU nurse has taken on the work of raising money for a home in Nicaragua for a family of 12. To donate specifically to her house project, click on the link above, make your donation through Paypal, and type "Stabenow House" in the comments section.

Mission work orchestrated to solve both short-term and long-term needs is what the third world needs. By solving physical needs, missionaries are in a unique position to share the story of the greatest Giver our world has ever known.

When we dream, it's of the wind
Blowing cold and hard
When we wake up, we still live
in our house of cards
~House of Cards, Mary Chapin Carpenter~