4 years, 4 long years and there have been times when we ask ourselves "Do they understand why we are here, Do they get what we are trying to teach?"
We came here to educate a generation that has been abandoned or rejected by their families, overlooked by their own society and not recognized by other visiting ministry organizations. They are the young men of Third World Nations that no one wants to devote time with or spend the energy trying to educate them about life and life's principles in order to inherit a life that would be more abundant.
Working with the orphan and addict has unique challenges, so can working with a youth from a household with both mother and father. Maybe the family is so poor that the child was never allowed the privilege to go to school or he might live in a remote area far from opportunities.
Such is the case of Mario Perez. He comes from a loving family with mother, father, siblings all intact. He lives way out in what we all would call the boonies. He has had some education, but opportunities for work and career are beyond his grasp because of his location. We met him when he joined our carpentry class to learn a skill. It became apparent very quickly that Mario was serious about learning. He was faithful in his attendance, precise in his work and very interested in more.
Our desire was to bring to the community (El P on left side of road) along with the vocational school an opportunity for work; an opportunity to begin to grow the economy within the community and the small surrounding towns. So we shared our vision with Mario and the other classmates about a carpentry shop - a business that would allow them to earn income. You could see it in their expressions that it made sense to them and excitement began to build.
We searched for a building to house the carpentry shop and entered into an agreement with the locals on 2 buildings. One for the school and finishing work; the other for woodworking and assembly. There were improvements that needed to be made. The guys pitched in with gusto. Through the weeks of work to fix and repair the buildings, participation was spotty. But there was always one constant, Mario.
During one of many conversations, Mario shared that the guys don't see the future, they think only of today. We had structured a schedule that would allow the guys to continue to work in the cane fields for income and allow them to participate in the work of building the carpentry business until it would sustain them all. Mario's comment was the confirmation that we needed as to who would ultimately own the business. The other guys were not willing to do the work necessary to build their future.
God has opened doors of opportunity for the new business which has yet to have a name.There is a church that has undertaken a huge remodel project and needs work for wood flooring to cover the steps to their platform/altar. There is a developer that is building a new community right outside of Leon that is very interested in having the cabinets in their model furnished by the carpentry shop. This ultimately would lead to supplying the future homes with cabinetry.
Mario has worked with Preston learning the process of estimating. They are also setting up the policies and procedures of owning and operating a business. He is seeing first hand the importance of reliable help and will not allow friendship to influence his decisions when hiring future employees. Not one time have we shared our apparent choice with the other guys as to whom the owner would be. In the beginning stages, they had talked about a 3 way partnership amongst themselves. However, people have a way of showing where their priorities lie and without knowing, they seal their own fate.
This young man, can see his future and he is doing everything to make it a reality. Encourage him in your prayers.
If you desire to help with the costs of completion of the repairs to the building that will house Mario's carpentry business, donations can be made securely online at: https://connect.egiving.com/carpentry-building-fund/restoration-of-the-nations