Several years ago, while serving with Youth with a Mission, Mazatlan (or Ywam), Edgar and Amber Morales sensed God calling them to begin working with communities in extreme poverty, and in 2006 they began building homes for families with the desire of showing God’s love in a practical way. Without really knowing anything of construction, they jumped into the house building, confident at least that it was what God was calling them to do, and learning the art of it as they went. They had the privilege of being a part of 180 homes built in Mazatlan, and of seeing how powerful the love of God really is as people experienced it through something as tangible as these little houses.
A few years ago, God called Edgar and Amber to pioneer a Ywam base in my hometown of Durango, and after training up a team to continue the work they had started in Mazatlan, they moved in the fall of 2015. Both felt that they were supposed to continue in the same mission of building homes, wanting to start with what they already had in our hands. But also with that same experience, they felt they should make a few improvements. The difference of weather between Mazatlan and Durango caused them to change the whole system of construction in order to provide more protection from the extreme temperatures, and they also felt that if they were able to add plumbing and a bathroom to the house, they could provide more dignity to the families involved.
Our dream is to see families and communities transformed in a holistic manner, however, we realize that a house is just a small part in that. We know that the first step in seeing change must be God entering their lives and bringing a transformation in their mentality to free them from blindness and bring an understanding of how to walk in that freedom. Because of this, we work hand in hand with the local church with a goal of seeing greater discipleship and follow-up with the families, and we only work in one or two communities at a time in order to see a more focused effort and have the ability to continue the progress. One of the practices that we've changed, in alignment with the desire to give greater dignity to the families, is that we've placed a nominal price on the house, with the hope of seeing a stronger sense of ownership developed because of the effort they make.
In Latin America, households need 5.4 times their annual income to buy a house – Source: AHS
50-75% of family dwellings are owner built – Source: JCHS Harvard University
30% of all dwellings are made with rubbish – Source: INEGII
A debt free home helps leverage families out of poverty. Funds are not going to treat sick children and keep them warm; instead they can purchase resources for school and other necessities.
A child without a home is 3 times more likely not to attend school – Source: endhomelessness.org
A child’s poor educational experiences limit future productivity and career prospects – Source: endhomelessness.org
A stable environment encourages learning, and children are more likely to both attend and stay in school.
IMPACT ON HEALTH
2.5% of children under one die of exposure – Source: La Cronica Mexicali
Homeless children are 2x as likely to suffer from asthma, ear infections, stomach and speech problems – Source: nationalhomeless.org
Moving from dirt to a concrete floor reduces reoccurring diarrhea by 43% – Source: nationalhomeless.org
A home reduces incidents of sickness due to dirt floors and exposure and it improves the overall quality of life.
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL IMPACT
Children without adequate shelter suffer more from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and withdrawal. –Source: nationalhomelessness.org
Children are twice as likely to experience persistent chronic hunger and four times as likely to experience delayed development when homeless - Source: nationalhomelessness.org
A home stabilizes emotional well- being and strengthens home life and marriage because worries of survival are eliminated.
Families struggling to keep their children safe & dry each night feel trapped. They find it difficult to see beyond their situation.
Practical demonstration of God’s love for them inspires a response to want to give back.
Do I have to have construction experience?
No! You are welcome, regardless of your level of experience, be it much or little. The only requirement is the willingness to serve and work.
How many people can be on a build team?
The ideal team would be 10 to 13 people per house. However, we accept both small and large teams; it is necessary to be in communication with us so that we know the size of your team.
How much does it cost?
Our prices are divided into 5 sections:
This cost covers all of the necessary materials to build the house, If you would like to make an extra contribution for the house (furniture, refrigerator, stove, clothes, toys, etc), it will be the decision of each team, and they will be responsible for the additional costs.
Ywam Durango charges $50 dollars per person per day, which covers the cost of transportation, snacks at the construction site, and lunch.
Each team will be responsible for their own breakfasts and dinners. We have many restaurants with a varied cuisine in Durango, all with different levels of economic accessibility.
Teams that visit us from other places will be responsible for their transportation to Durango. We can assist with transportation recommendations and logistics (airlines/ busses, schedules, etc), so contact us.
Durango has various good hotels in the downtown area that have different prices and services. Contact us so that we can help you choose the best option for you and your team.
How much notice do I need to give in order to build?
We ask that you reserve your date with at least 3 months of advanced noticed. This gives us time to make the necessary preparations to receive you, and we ask that the total payment be made one month prior to your arrival.
How do you choose the families?
There are so many needy families in the area we are working in, that this for sure is a battle! You’ll see when you get here how much you wish you could help everyone. We’ve tried to narrow it down by the following.
Location- Because we work in one community at a time in order to build more relationship with both the families and the church, the family needs to live in that specific community.
Land- The family must either own their land, or be making adequate payment on it.
8 week course- Because of the overwhelming amount of applications even within this one community where we are building, we have begun requiring families to attend an 8 week course given by Ywam prior to getting on the waiting list for a home. It is a great way to begin building relationship, share the gospel, and start the process of transforming minds and hearts!
Income- While there is not a set “minimum income”, we are looking for families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide a home for themselves, or at least not for a very long time. The typical income of families in the area where we build is between $100-$200 a month.
Living conditions- Each applicant is interviewed in their home in order to get an understanding of the situation they are currently living in. Highest preference is given to those living in more precarious conditions.