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Building Hope in the Middle of a Pandemic

November 21, 2020

Many said that 2020 was going to be a year of breakthrough. Our ministry was going to expand and our missionary training programs were going to keep growing.

Homes of Hope was ramping up again so that more Mazatleco families would receive something that so many of us take for granted: a safe place to call home.

In short, big things were going to happen. And we were ready for it.

Then COVID-19 spread across the globe at rapid-fire speed. Borders shut down, fear tried to set in, and the mask debates began. Travel plans were canceled and people everywhere went into lockdown.

But you already know all this. You probably experienced it in a very personal way.

We won’t be stopped by COVID-19

Something you might not know is how Homes of Hope has continued to carry out our mission to serve the poor and marginalized neighborhoods of our beautiful city.

During the first lockdown back in the spring, we built two homes that had been donated by teams that were no longer able to come. What a beautiful picture of Christ’s love! Showing these families that they were not forgotten, even in the midst of a pandemic.

YWAM Homes of Hope volunteers standing in front of newly built home with recipient woman in Mazatlan

Unfortunately, the rest of our visiting Homes of Hope teams had to cancel, and it looked like we wouldn’t be building any more houses in 2020. However, one team decided to bravely travel to Mazatlan later in the year to bless a family with a home.

We understand that you might have a lot of questions as to how Homes of Hope is able to continue building hope in the middle of a pandemic. To answer those questions we traveled to our most recent build site and sat down with Grace Mihalyov, our Visiting Teams Coordinator, for a special interview.

How has COVID-19 affected the running of Homes of Hope?

Grace: We aren’t stopping because of COVID. We’ve worked hard to develop additional safety protocols in light of COVID so our ministry can stay open and continue scheduling teams. We have lots of space in our 2021 calendar to receive teams!

How many people does Homes of Hope aim to help?

Grace: We would love to help as many families and build as many homes as possible. The need is there, but we’re limited based on the resources we have available. In order to keep growing and multiply our impact, we’re in need of more visiting teams, trucks and cargo vans to move materials (wood, metal frames, sheetrock, etc), and tools.

YWAM Homes of Hope volunteer woman paints siding on a build site

What does a typical visiting Homes of Hope team look like?

Grace: The ideal team size per build site is 12-15 people. If a team is larger than that, we often suggest building 2 homes at one time, or having half the team build a home while the other half does Bible distribution or other ministry in the community.

If a team is small, say around 5-6 people, we often add more of our local staff or students from our Discipleship Training School or other missionary training programs.

We really have no requirements for who can come; no construction experience is needed. Anyone is welcome!

As far as teams planning ahead, we request that teams try to give us at least 2 months notice before their desired trip dates. That gives us time to interview and select a family and get their land ready for a home.

Homes of Hope team finishes building a home for a woman in Mazatlan

What are some of the effects COVID has had on the communities you build in?

Grace: COVID has hit hard in these communities. There are more people in need than ever before. While the city was under full lockdown, many people were left with no way to make money to put food on the table each day. Even though some restrictions have lifted, many people are still without work.

Additionally, most people do not have access to meaningful or high-quality healthcare. They are terrified of getting COVID-19 because they know that they will not be able to get the help that they need. And on top of that fear, getting sick turns into more days without work which means no way to provide for the basic needs of their families.

Mazatlan woman receives a special gift from a YWAM Mazatlan Homes of Hope team

What is one of the most impactful things about this ministry?

Grace: Something I’ve seen is how Homes of Hope really gives people the “spark” they need to move forward in life. Many times these people are constantly trying to catch up.

For example, a man could work for 3 months to save up for one sheet of metal for his roof. By the time he has purchased enough sheets to complete the roof on his house, the first sheets that he purchased are already needing to be replaced, creating a never ending cycle.

Receiving a well-built home really allows people to turn their focus to other things like saving money for their future and advancing their life—not just patching things up.

I’ve witnessed how Homes of Hope is a huge encouragement to these communities, lifting them up and motivating them to pursue a dignified life for themselves and their families.

Homes of Hope recipient standing in front of her new home in Mazatlan, Mexico

Do you have a short testimony you could share with us?

Grace: Yes! The woman that we’re currently building for is a Christian and regularly holds Bible studies in her neighborhood. Everyone from the community that I have spoken to this week views her as a spiritual leader.

When we were going to buy groceries and other basic necessities for her, she told us to forget all those things. Her biggest desire was to have a speaker to play worship during her Bible studies.

It’s clear that this home isn’t just for her. It will be a safe meeting place for the entire community. In fact, she already has a housewarming party planned for the day the house is finished! She couldn’t wait to share the blessing with those around her. What a selfless lady!

I love this story because it shows how just one home can impact an entire community.

Homes of Hope team dedicates new home to Mazatlan woman

How can people help from back home?

Grace: Donations are a huge help. A great option is to donate the funds needed to build a home, especially now during the COVID pandemic when less teams are coming. Our volunteer staff on the ground can be mobilized to build homes for families in need, even if a team is unable to come. One home costs $8,150 USD and includes basic furnishings and a delivery of groceries.

Follow this link to make a tax-deductible donation for a home now.

Another great option is to make a donation towards equipment. We’re in need of some bigger-ticket items like another pull-trailer as well as an additional flatbed truck. On a smaller scale, we need to purchase more tool sets and general building equipment.

Support our Homes of Hope ministry by becoming a monthly donor.

Final thoughts

As a ministry we’ve decided that we won’t be stopped by COVID. We’ve adapted our operations and implemented safety procedures to protect everyone as much as possible from the virus. Families are in need of a safe place to call home now more than ever, and we believe God has called us to help meet that need.

YWAM Homes of Hope volunteer screws in a truss on a build site in Mazatlan with YWAM in Mexico

We need to be faithful to our mission to build a foundation of hope for those in need, even in the midst of a pandemic. The only thing we need is people willing and brave enough to help us continue to provide that “spark” of hope that the local communities of Mazatlan need. Will you join us?

When the pandemic ends and life returns to “normal” (whatever normal will be), what will you be able to look back on and say you did during COVID?

If you’re wondering how you might be able to get involved, whether bringing a team or making a donation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us using the form below. You can be part of building hope in the middle of a pandemic!

Bring a Team!