Thursday, October 29, 2015

Post by Jim Hack
28 October 2015 -

Ten years ago this coming February, Barbara and I moved to Champaign.  The first thing on our agenda was to locate a Lutheran church to attend.  Good Shepherd was close to our home, so we would start there.  That first Sunday we were greeted by Carol Manley and Jeretta Hecht, and then Pastor Donna after the service.  We never went to visit another church and found Good Shepherd to be our church family.

After three trips to Biloxi, Mississippi, following Hurricane Katrina, and a trip to El Salvador with Don Block, I knew that this was a project for Good Shepherd.  Leading members and friends from Good Shepherd on Habitat trips the last four years, I have had the honor to see a number of my church family members come home with a stamp on their heart in the shape of El Salvador.

We all go to El Salvador to give people there the love and help needed in building homes, but to our surprise we come home with more than we have given.  It was also the greatest feeling to worship in Cristo Rey Lutheran Church.  We worked very hard last year in hauling and tamping dirt to lay the first phase of the foundation of the church.  In earlier years, Good Shepherd also helped in giving $15,000 to the Partners in Faith project to get the building of the church started.  In this sense, the members of Good Shepherd laid the foundation of Cristo Rey in two very important ways.

I wish all of you could have been there to see the ladies of Cristo Rey and the joy they expressed in receiving the altar linens that we took down there from our church.  They could not thank us enough.  Pastor Carlos was grateful, too.

I personally want to thank our Good Shepherd family for all the help and support you have shown for El Salvador building projects over the last five years.  I just wish I could take all of you down to El Salvador and witness all the love these folks have to give.


 Pastor Carlos enjoys seeing the Christ the King altar linen.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Building on Relationships
by Jodi Davis on
Sunday, 25 October 2015 -

Beti (co-op member) and Jodi

The Habitat translators help tremendously with many, many things.  They keep us safe.  Keep us fed. They keep us on schedule, and they keep us on task on the work site.  These amazing people become your lifelong friends and I came to realize this early on in the trip.  Jim, Dean, Pam and Luke had strong bonds already with many of the Habitat people in El Salvador, thanks to their previous trips here. By midweek, I knew that we all were feeling the friendship bonds with our fantastic translators. Words can not express these amazing, educated, loving, kind, spirited people that work for Habitat. What a privilege to know them and work with them! Thank you Karlita and Francis!!

 The entrance to the co-op in the Getsemani Community; it is built like a Habitat house.

However, what I didn't realize in the beginning of the week, was that we would have an opportunity to make relationships with the people in the neighborhood that our Habitat house was being constructed.  The rain that we have had this week resulted in a change to our work schedule. We were not able to go to the job site at all on Monday. Wednesday we were only able to work half of the day. This was a disappointment because we came here to help build a house.  But, the time off from working gave us an opportunity to spend time with the ladies from a co-op that was formed in Getsemani (the neighborhood in Ahauchuapan where our Habitat house is being built).  The ladies that are members of the co-op are Habitat home owners. Their co-op is actually housed in a Habitat house. They cook, sew, make jewelry, etc. We purchased jewelry from them and they told us about the beads they used (many are local seeds that they gather). These ladies showed us tremendous hospitality throughout the entire week!  They took turns making lunch for us, brought it to the worksite and served it to us. Some of their children stopped by the worksite in between school sessions. This gave us a chance to really get to know them!  Our translators helped facilitate conversations with the ladies. We were able to ask detailed questions about their interests and family lives.  We shared our own stories and pictures from our cell phones. We embraced at every encounter and farewell!

Francis, Karla, and Beti get lunch ready for us a the work site.

One afternoon, immediately after lunch, a rainstorm hit while the ladies were still there serving us lunch. Some of our group, a lady from the co-op and her children took shelter from the rain under the porch at the neighboring house. This really gave them a chance to get to know each other!!  Without a translator, they relied on their own limited Spanish speaking skills to communicate.  (And mainly it was our youth, Luke and Joe, communicating with the children of the co-op ladies). Before we knew it, we heard laughter and saw the smiles that resulted from this time together.  These experiences built as the week went on.  Kicking around the soccer ball, sharing ice cream and celebrating with a piƱata were highlights for the children at our farewell lunch which was held at the co-op.  (Little Melvin who Tim and Luke and Joe got to know at the job site even came to our farewell party!!) Goofing around and sharing good laughs definitely broke through our communication barrier, on and off the job!

It would have been difficult to go through the week without seeing the generosity, compassion and love the people of El Salvador have towards others.  We witnessed this firsthand from our partners in Habitat, friends at Cristo Rey Church and friends in Getsemani.  We could also see it in strangers on the street!  It is a gift.  Being on the receiving end of these gifts was something that caught me off guard.  I look forward to keeping in touch with the ladies from the co-op.  I learned so much from them about life: working together, supporting one another, appreciating what you have, working hard to reach your goals, giving of yourself, being welcoming to outsiders, etc.  I feel very honored to have been part of this team and to be associated with Habitat for Humanity El Salvador.  Habitat for Humanity builds homes for people worldwide that live in sub-standard housing.  We support their mission financially and through hard work when we go on these trips. Relationship building is essential for our partnership with Habitat El Salvador to grow, but it is obvious that God is working through the people of El Salvador in amazing ways to help this relationship continue to grow.  Habitat allows us to work alongside the family, and the entire community. That is what made this trip so amazing to me!  I invite anyone who is willing and able to come on a Habitat El Salvador trip.   I know I will be back!!

Goodbye and many thanks to Beti, Juana and all of the ladies from the co-op!!!  Goodbye, but only for now ...
We're in Atlanta - 
Sunday, 25 October 2015; Dean

We had a good flight from San Salvador and we are in Atlanta waiting for our trip to Bloomington, IL.  We had to say good-bye to Francis at the airport in El Salvador, and it seems odd to not have her traveling with us.  We keep counting heads to make sure our group of 8 is still together, and we are reminded often that Francis is no longer a part of our travels.  We're happy to be home, but sad to not have Francis with our group.  We'll miss all the very fine people we met in El Salvador, many with Habitat, and many not.  As with the trip down, it was easy to encounter other people who were returning from El Salvador doing relief work.

Atlanta does a great job with people coming in from other countries.  We zipped through customs and passport checking with ease.
The Sea Turtle and the Cattle Drive
Saturday, 24 October 2015; Dean

A while after dinner at the hotel beachside restaurant, a sea turtle (probably 2-and-a-half feet long) was seen making her way up the flat part of the beach to lay eggs.  A crowd gathered.  Unfortunately, she was headed exactly toward the base of the hotel stairs that go down to the sand.  Fortunately, 2 guys were watching her carefully.  Once it was quite clear the sea turtle was headed in an inappropriate direction, one of the guys stepped up and grabbed her by the shell, and ran down the beach with the turtle's legs flapping furiously.  You could immediately tell he knew exactly what he was doing.  He moved to an unoccupied section of the beach about 50 yards north, and deposited her in the sand, and she resumed her trek to find a place to lay her eggs.  She only crawled for about a minute, and she began digging in an existing depression.  It grew too dark to watch, and we all stayed away.  In the morning, the depression in the sand remained, and the sea turtle was gone.  It was really neat to see, and I don't think any of us had ever seen a turtle coming of of the sea before.

Zack reports that he earlier saw cattle being led down the same beach by a man on a horse.  I had also seen some cattle pass under a hotel footbridge that goes over a local road.  Those were being wrangled by a guy on bicycle.  Later, I saw a herd of 30 just being moved along by 2 men with sticks.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pacific Sunset
Saturday, 24 Oct 2015; Dean and Jim

Jim Hack and I are on the beach watching the sun set over the Pacific.  We have a poor Internet connection here at our beachside hotel not too far from the airport.  So, a photo is not likely, at least not today.  Jodi Davis and Luke Smith have just come down to the water as well.

Habitat has a rest day built in to the end of the work event.  It gives us a chance to ponder and reflect, and it's a good and welcome thing before the trek back.  We catch a van to the airport for about a 25 min ride tomorrow morning at 10.  Our flight leaves at 1 p.m.

Thursday, October 22

We worked till about 2:30 p.m. on chispa (the loose concrete that goes inside the blocks), plus sanding the finished block surfaces with a small piece of concrete block. This takes out the imperfections in the surface and makes it ready for finishing and painting.  Karla and I spent hours sifting sand into a finer sand for a skim coat used in the bathroom walls.  We finally filled an entire bucket with it.  The masons said they need 2 more.

Later that day we went to some natural hot springs and swam in the warm pools.  There was a mud party, but the photos will have to wait.

Friday, October 23

We worked till noon on mostly what we worked on the day before.  But, at noon, we took a significant hike to the women's co-op (started with Habitat's help), and they fixed us lunch!  We had chicken and vegetable kebobs with rice, and ice cream for dessert!  They are so nice to us.  Jim presented the ladies with a sizable donation, and they were just thrilled.  They will likely use it for micro-loans, and anything they need to do more.  Francis found a pinata at a Dollar Store (or equivalent), and Luke hung it from a tree branch and operated the rope.  We blindfolded most, but not all, of the kids, and let many of the take a swing.  They had a great time and once it broke, it spilled its candy and the kids scrambled after it.  The Mickey Mouse pinata made of newspaper was broken open by a little boy named Melvin.  Since he was blindfolded for a moment, he missed getting some candy, and got just 1 piece.  He immediately walked over and gave it to his little brother.  Francis saw that and gave him some candy she had on reserve.  Melvin is quite a fine little guy.

At the hotel that night, the hotel staff had prepared a candlelit dinner of pupusas!  It was a very nice.

Back to Saturday, October 24

Luke is off to catch a crab that is probably smarter at being an uncatchable crab than Luke is at catching crabs on the beach.  So far, no luck for Luke.

Tomorrow's a travel day.  Bye for now.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Collection of Quirky Things About El Salvador -
Dean; Friday, 23 Oct 2015 -

Jim saw some clothes on a line with no clothespins.  The clothes were held in place because the line was made of barbed wire.

Food vendors line highways where traffic zips by at 65 mph.

Money here is all USA currency.

We saw a 2 funerals.  Each consisted of the deceased in a wood casket, inside a glass case, mounted high on the back of a better-than-average pick-up truck that played festive music over loudspeakers.  People walked behind carrying umbrellas for the rain or sun.  Traffic whizzed by on both sides of the procession and in both directions.

We can't drink the water.  Bottled water is always supplied to us on the job site and in the hotel.

No one seems to smoke.  No one - anywhere at any time indoors or outdoors.  Also, smoking is not allowed on Habitat job sites.  I learned that the prevalence of smoking in El Salvador is just 8%, one-fourth of what is is in the United States.  I only saw cigarettes for sale at the airport.

Apparently every vehicle has a stick shift.

Most vehicles lock and unlock only with keys (not a button on a fob).

We'd guess about 1 in 10 rural people own a cell phone, but in the city, the number is higher, maybe 5 in 10.  By no means does everyone own a cell phone.

School for kids is in 2 shifts:  7 to 11:30 a.m. or 1 to 5:30 p.m.  Too many kids and schools too small to accommodate all at once.

All dogs are docile and deliberate in their rounds; these dogs have places to go and things to do.  They're everywhere, including the highways, and the only dog collar we saw was made of corn cobs.  Oddly, I have never seen any dog pooh anywhere.

Driving around, one almost never hears a vehicle honk at another, despite unabated mayhem in the streets which have no lanes and include cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, mototaxis, foot traffic, and, of course, paw traffic.

Last night, Francis wore a T-shirt that read "Minnesota Thunder Academy".  She bought it at a local thrift shop.

A ride in one of the mototaxis here (a 3-wheeled vehicle that seats the driver and 2 passengers) is 50 cents per person, negotiable.  Always black & red with a green & white checkerboard striping.

I bought bananas at the work site from a guy in a pickup truck.  They were 24 for $1.  They were great, and I gave some to the masons (the work site Habitat contractors).

Here, an empanada is a sweet pastry, but folded over into a half-moon shape and crimped at the edges, like in the states.  Ask Jason about the ones he got from Francis and her mother.

Here, a quesadilla is a sweet, spongecake dessert.

We met twin sisters this week.  One was named Claudia Yamy and the other Claudia Yasmin.  If you ask them their names, that's what they call themselves.  When you are already tired from working, and a non-native Spanish speaker, this can be confusing.  You think they are playing a joke on you.  They each had identical pants and identical shirts except that their unique middle name was on their right shoulder.  Here they both are wearing their shirts.

Below, from the left (at the work site), all 8 of us plus two of the masons:
Jose (crew chief), Dean Olson, Zack Meyer, Joe Davis, Felix, Luke Smith,
Jim Hack, Jodi Davis, Tim Smith, Pam Hack Smith, and Karla (or Karlita)

That's all for now, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

With the help of Francis during our neighborhood walk, we met this group of women.  The meeting was in one of their homes, and most of us would consider them to be living under deplorably "poor" conditions.  We might also presume that they are uneducated.  Totally wrong.  I am beginning to question the way we in the USA use the word "poor".  These women were having a meeting about their co-op bank!  Yes, they were going over the books, and discussing what projects the co-op might undertake, or what micro-loans they might make.  This is their own doing, and they are not a part of the co-op Beti is in which was started with the help of Habitat.  It looks like the co-op, bank, and micro-loan concept is spreading well beyond the reach of Habitat in El Salvador.  The woman in the yellow shirt is the Treasurer and other woman is the Secretary.

Beti, far left with her 2 daughters and Tim Smith.  Beti is in the co-op that Habitat helped found.  She is on site to bring us lunch, and her daughters were home from school because of the rain earlier.

One of Beti's daughters is wearing a Habitat shirt that reads, "A world where everyone has a decent place to live".

Zack Meyer and Jodi Davis sifting material to be used to make the soupy concrete that is poured into the cement blocks.  It's called chispa and pronounced "cheese-pa".  The rocks are set aside for possible use in concrete later.

Oswaldo and Zack Meyer.  Oswaldo knows Jim Hack from a previous trip.  His sign says that he offers computer lessons to anyone in the neighborhood as well as English, which he taught himself with the help of a continuous parade of Habitat volunteers that go right by his house - which is not a Habitat house.  His hours are posted, but he says they are really just a joke to attract attention.  Nonetheless, he really will help anyone with computers and English.  His English was quite good!

A young boys carries home firewood which will be used for cooking, and mostly to cook tortillas made from home-grown corn, and ground fresh in the neighborhood.

Bananas grow right behind the work site.  Francis and Karla say El Salvador has about 10 different kinds of bananas.  We bought bananas from a guy in a pick-up truck who passed the work site.  They were 24 for $1.

Evoer, the young man for whom we are building the house.  He will live in it with his mother, Teresa, pictured in Zack's earlier blog.  Evoer worked today on the house with us and is required to put in 500 hours of sweat equity on what will eventually be his own home.  Most Habitat homeowners also have to pay off a low-interest mortgage.

Felix demonstrates how the concrete blocks are put onto the rebar pieces, with them pointing so high in the air.  He is putting the block on a stick with a cross.  They call it the devil stick, presumably because of what could happen in the next photo.

Felix could drop the block as he lifts it over his head.  But, he never falters (not once all day).

He carefully lowers the block into place and onto the mortar.

The rebar goes down nearly every single cinder block, but how do they get the cinder blocks onto the tall segments of re-bar?  You cannot reach the top, and there is no scaffolding in sight.  Hm.

The finished house next door is a Habitat house as well, so this is what they look like done.  The design is unique to this country, and varies among countries due to weather, availability and cost of materials, and the ability of the homeowner to help pay for it and take care of it.

The road to the Habitat project called Getsemani (local spelling).  This is a village of dozens of homes made with the help of Habitat.

The walls at the home build site are about half done.  The home is about the size of a large, 2-car garage.

The pineapple and cream-filled sweet empanadas made at the bakery.

A tray of empanadas await us on a table in the bakery.  This is a bakery where you can come in, sit down, and have a drink and a pastry.

A view from the top patio in Francis's house.  A dormant volcano is in the background.

Francis explains something to Jim on the roof.

Francisca Padilla.

Francis and her mother and one of the 3 family poodles.

A scene in the bakery we visited owned by Francis's mom, Francisca Padilla.  She is making a cake for our Friday going-away party.

A look inside the home of Francisca, where Francis grew up.  The garden area is open air, and when it rains, the garden is watered.  The home is neither heated, nor cooled, and has plumbing that only intermittently provides water.  They usually save water, when it's running, for when they need it later.  The bakery and home are attached.  Francisca's dress shop is right next door.

Outside our hotel in Ahuachapan in the western part of El Salvador.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Stories and Experiences From EL Salvador: Zachary Meyer - The People of El Salvador

My journey to El Salvador has been new and unconventional, and not even at this time a year ago did I believe I would be serving families and communities in a foreign country. From friends close to me at college I learned of adventures they were taking abroad, and it was not long before I was convinced I wanted to go travel. But where, and why?

The option to do a mission trip sprang up, and to do it with the people I consider family at Good Shepherd was the opportunity of a lifetime. Leaving everything I knew back in Champaign and Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I go to college, plus missing a crucial week of schoolwork were sacrifices I had to make, and four days into the trip I have learned that I could not be any happier with the experience.

If there is one thing about El Salvador that strikes me it is the people here, and how they amaze me every day. They have been described as hard workers, and I can back up that claim, and beyond that they are the friendliest group of people I have ever met. They greet us on the streets - though we don't even speak the same language and we rarely know what they are saying, and have accepted us into their homes and even families as if we had always been - what an amazing group of people.

My highlight of this trip, though, has been the Salvadoran kids - what a joy, wonder and blessing they are. No experience can describe this better than the one that happened today, as me and Dean got a chance to slip away from our build site with our guide and translator Francis to explore the local neighborhood, and meet its inhabitants.

Along the way we ran into a large bunch of kids, laughing and screaming with joy as they ran around playing their own little game. As they ran to hug and greet Francis, me and Dean presented ourselves in our typical goofy manner, with sweeping off hats and traditional bows, which earned giggles from the kids. We made funny faces, tested our limited Spanish on them (Very limited in my place), and did goofy horse sounds with our mouths - I think I have never seen so many people laugh and smile at our actions.

What was truly fascinating though was how easily these kids simply accepted us, were willing to high five us, play along as we goofed around, and initiate conversation and action even when we were scared too. When Dean asked for a group picture I was scared to approach the kids - would they even feel comfortable with allowing a stranger to get close to them for a group picture? It was then that I had one of the most shocking and rewarding experiences of the trip - when we moved together to take the picture, one of the girls put her arm on my shoulder and pulled me in close for the picture - I was the reluctant one afraid of what they would think, and they pulled me close, and made me feel a part of their group. What an amazing feeling from such a simple experience. The kids of El Salvador have stolen a piece of my heart, and the way they are able to laugh, play, and have fun in areas and conditions I think so many of us believe couldn't always invite happy feelings, speaks to the energy, joy, and faith these kids have in their hearts - truly they have taught me the most in my short stay here.

The people of El Salvador have had a different upbringing than most of us in the United States. They have lived in what many of us would consider lower housing conditions, suffered through a terrible Civil War I recall learning about in one of my college courses, and have to deal with roads and rain that would drive all of us back in the states crazy. Yet they are happy, proud, and hardworking. They walk distances to get water and deliver food, greet random foreigners in the street, live in houses that would easily fit into an average U.S. garage, and can I just say how impressive it is over here that everyone can drive a stick shift? Seriously that's impressive.

While the scenery here is amazingly stunning, and all the new Spanish words are fun to learn, it is the people (especially the kids) of El Salvador who have made this trip truly stunning - they have been some of the most amazing people I have ever met, and their joy and attitude is something I hope to carry with me all my life. We are almost half way through our trip as I am writing this, and I know my time with these amazing people is limited. Yet I am convinced that when I leave this place my heart will be filled with the hope and love God had shown through them, and I will treasure what He has shown me in this country all the days of my life. What a blessing, what a blessing!

Tuesday, 20 Oct 2015

The rain stopped yesterday at about 4 p.m. and today, we worked at the job site, and very hard.  More on that a little later.

Yesterday, to pass the rainy day, we walked in our ponchos just a few blocks to visit Francis's mother, Francisca.  She owns a bakery and a dress shop next to it.  She's been divorced 20 years (Francis is 27).  She seems to have a very popular bakery, as customers come and go often, but her specialty is sweets.  She served us sweet empanadas - one cream-filled, the other pineapple.  She had made them just that morning.  She has several open-air gardens built right into her home, and two upstairs patios, one for laundry, and one for lounging.  She is clearly a dynamo and a very successful small business owner.

Around noon-time, some ladies from a local co-op came to serve us lunch.  The co-op was started with the help of Habitat.  The sell arts and crafts, and make microloans to co-op members.  They are very progressive thinkers, and seem to be following the Ten Thousand Villages model whether they know it or not.

Today, we had breakfast at 6:45 a.m., and departed to the work site by 7:30.  No rain!  Temps in the 70's but humid.  The worksite is probably only 20 min from the hotel here on the town square.  However, the road is pretty rocky, and needs to be navigated carefully.  It is lined with the homes of people who are obviously living in a subsistent manner.  They have goats, chickens, corn crops, and cook over wood.  We visited some homes, and they are generally brick with metal roofs, and dirt floors.  Everyone is totally approachable as if we are all in one big happy family.  Amazingly, kids (off from school due to poor roads from the rain) and adults both are neat, clean, and well-dressed.  You can see they bring a deliberate dignity to to their appearance.  Believe me, I see people on the campus of the University of Illinois every single day who do not measure up to the pride of appearance of the average El Salvadoran we saw today - living in severe poverty.

At the work site, we immediately got to work filling in a foundation for one of the bedrooms in the house we are working on.  Each house consists of 2 bedrooms, a living room, and outdoor, but covered kitchen, and a bathroom and shower.  Francis says about 65% of people have electricity, but only for lights.  The problem is plumbing and water.  Even in a Habitat house, you might flush the toilet with a bucket.  We did see a public faucet where people get drinking water.

After moving around a good deal of dirt, we got to putting a soupy concrete down into the cinder block walls.  Every single block gets a piece of rebar down it for earthquake protection.

We also sifted concrete using a screen.  The cement and concrete get mixed on the ground with a shovel.  The only power tool we had today was a block cutter used by one of the 4 masons hired by Habitat.  We took a break in the morning, had lunch, another break, and quit at 4 p.m.

We actually have taken some nice showers here - warm water!

Thanks for reading everyone.  Photos later.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ana Maria prepares stuffed chicken for us Sunday afternoon at the Santa Ana Habitat office.

Karla uses the new knives given to Ana Maria by Jim Hack and Don Block.

Joe and Jodi Davis on the steps of the Habitat office in Santa Ana, an office that is more productive than all the others in El Salvador combined.

The rainy view out our breakfast room window Monday morning.  A man waits patiently to do some sweeping after last night's street market.

Francis enjoys her new English books from Dean.  Nancy Olson made a very nice book bag for the books (bag pictured on Francis's lap).

Ricardo takes pride in his luggage-packing skills outside the hotel in San Salvador Sunday morning as we get ready to leave for the church service in Santa Ana.

Have dog, will bike.

A mom and her daughter, who may be baptized soon in the nearby Catholic Church.

The front of Cristo Rey Lutheran Church, Santa Ana, El Salvador.

Front doors.

The interior of Christ the King (Cristo Rey).

Pastor Carlos, Maria, and the new church.

Jim, ringing the bell in the tower.

The floor!  It's not much to look at, but what's standing on it is what's really important.

The well-used and tattered service and hymnal books were donated by Good Shepherd members, and dedicated by Gail and Don Block in memory of their daughter, Erin.  She is shown below in the dedication, in Spanish and English.

Luke Smith, Jim Hack, and Dean Olson in front of the altar at Cristo Rey (see below).

Pam Hack Scott, Jim Hack, and their little buddy Luis, who Jim has seen here at least 3 years in a row.

Dean and Emma, who walks half a mile to come to church every Sunday.

Pastor Carlos is in the back greeting people before the service.

There is a house with a family living in it in the churchyard.  They are hard to see, but a pile of sleeping puppies are lumped together in the corner on the far right.

The back of the church.

The old church which members used for about 10 years after earthquakes destroyed the former church.

The exit gate to the churchyard.

The entrance to Christ the King Lutheran Church.

Pastor Carlos gives a warm and heartfelt greeting to the Habitat crew.

Tim Smith reads the psalm in English just after a church member had read it in Spanish.

Zack reads the first lesson from the Old Testament.

Dean congratulating Pastor Carlos for his 41 years in the ordained Ministry as a Lutheran Pastor.  Though the church is not technically in the ELCA, they are a member of the El Salvadoran version of it here in Central America.

Pam and Tim chat with one of the little girls.

Jim Hack presents Pastor Carlos with some altar linens formerly used at Good Shepherd.  They include the entire liturgical season, plus some extras.  Jim brought the linens in some old suitcases he purchased at the Habitat Restore in Champaign.  Both the linens and the suitcases are an excellent example of "What goes around comes around."

Pastor Carlos holds the altar linen for Christ the King Sunday, the namesake of Cristo Rey.

Maria Teresa Martinez holds the altar linen for what appears to be the season of "ordinary time".  (I believe this season is the counted Sundays after Pentecost.)

The woman above is named Amelia Duarte.

This woman is named Ana Maria and she also recognizes the Christ the King theme.

Luke and Luis who remember each other from the 2014 worksite at the church.

Jim and Ana Maria Montoya, who runs the award-winning Santa Ana office of HPH (Habitat Para La Huminadad)

Ana Maria opens her new knife set and block from Don Block and Jim Hack.  It is just what she needs, and she and Karla and Francis immediately start using them in the kitchen.