So.....life has taken on a new and fast pace since last month!
As of September 24th, 2017....LEAST became the owner of "Casa Feliz"
& my father was able to be present at the signing of the new deed.
Jesus...we trust in You!
After the signing and final purchase,
I spent the next 4 weeks having Guatemalan masons
rip out the windows on the first level of the Annex building
and replace 28 metal-framed windows and 2 metal doors:
The Minneamigos group arrived October 3rd...
just in time to paint till their heart's content
and try to figure out how to repair the first level
(kitchen, pantry & hallway) from serious smoke damage.
After serving as an orphanage for up to 160 orphans from 1980-2000,
Casa Feliz was used as a shelter for families in San Lucas
who lost their homes in the landslides
due to Hurricane Agatha in May of 2010.
Unfortunately, the Annex building suffered a lot of negligence
from those seeking shelter there and was eventually abandoned
until LEAST's purchase this year.
Kitchen at the time of the purchase (above):
It took Tom Wyrowski & our Guatemalan mason worker, Genaro
TWO days to chip away at the kitchen ceiling to get the char off (above left):
We had no other choice but break the chimney's on the second level
to unplug the chimney (above right).
It just happened to be plugged up by nothing other than 5 little chip bags (below): 😩
At least the smiling faces made the mess a little more pleasant to deal with!
It took 5 days to finish the stoves:
The finished kitchen!
The pantry also had a lot of smoke damage
and it was a fun learning adventure on how to NOT paint
over smoke stained ceilings.
We also discovered (being that we are in the height of the rainy season)
how hard it is to work with completely saturated wood
trying to make shelves and tables...
(Almost) complete pantry next to the kitchen (below):
We put a little extra love into the renovation of the dining room
being that the elderly will spend most of their time there.
(Above left): The dining room at time of purchase.
(Above right): Mary & Mary Clare taking over as painting machines!
Getting ready for the "Mother Teresa" stripes (above):
Painfully worth it!
Finished dining room (below):
As life would have it, we were without water last week
in the entire village for SIX days (no comment) 😩
As soon as the water was turned back on,
I made sure to make use of the scaffolding brought to Casa Feliz
and was able to clean (maybe for the first time in 35 years?)
the "Good Samaritan" mural that Fr. Greg Schaffer made
in honor of what the orphanage stood for.
It was amazing the transformation the mural had just after a little soap and water.
I also found a hidden cross cemented in between all the pebbles of the mural
and it made me think about all the hidden beauties we miss in this life
because we don't take the time to pay attention
and attend to what God places before us each day.
I am so incredibly grateful for LEAST's first mission group
("Minneamigos" from North Mankato, MN)
who completely renovated the first floor of the Annex building
of Casa Feliz in 2 weeks.
Our bodies are exhausted, but our hearts are full
as we look back and give thanks for all that we could do for the "least".
A heart felt thank you to Tom & Mary Clare Wyrowski and Gary & Mary Zellmer
for your unconditional support, incredible generosity,
"slave-driven" hard work (partly because of my over-ambitious work goals)
and love for the Lord which inspired you to take this leap of faith with me.
I can't wait till the feeding center is up and running
and we are SO much closer to this goal because of each one of you!
Please keep this ministry in your prayers!