Monday, December 27, 2010

The Next Chapter For Our Friends at the Bridge

Heaps of trash are all that remain of Obet's home. All the homes under and around Manalo Bridge have finally been demolished. Everyone was prepared for this since they had been warned about it a while ago. About two years ago they received their first notice of demolition and were invited to a community meeting that took place in the floodway channel that they lived in. The government official directed our attention to the thousands of homes lining both sides of the river banks just a half mile south of us. After looking at me he said to them, all of your are blessed to have a pastor praying foryou because we are not able to provide housing for those people down the way, but we have it for you. Of course I had nothing to do with it, but God used that situation to remind those who were trusting Him that He was caring for them.

Families who were able to put in 1,000 hours of labor to help build their homes and who could afford the approximately $30 a month mortgage over the next 10 years joined in a began to build their homes. A majority of the families there took part in this program and began to help build the new apartments that they would someday move into. This would be a great blessing for our friends who have been living in make shift shanties for over a decade with no running water, toilets, or electricity. Below is a row of make-shift homes on the side of the bridge. The picture above is what it looks like now.

During the months of November and December they finally began to move in except for a few of the families who could not afford the monthly mortgage or did not meet the qualification to receive the housing. Of those families who did not move into the new housing, all but one of them moved in with other friends and family or relocated somewhere else.

When I went to the bridge this morning to take one last look I found one family who had no place to go. I discovered that Geovani, Christy and their 6 children (Joshua Sean was born there under the bridge on Dec. 11) were still there. They took pieces of wood from the torn down houses and built a new home under the bridge. They are hoping to rent a near by place some time soon. Their church has offered to pay their rent for several months while they get settled.

Here is what it looked like under the bridge when I first met my friends there.

Here is what I found today.
The good news is that most of the families live in permanent homes now. They are no longer living in a dangerous flood channel and they now have running water, electricity, in-door toilets and solid walls. Another benefit of this is that some of their living expenses will decrease. Like water, which they will no longer having to buy by the gallon and have to carrying home in jugs just about every day.
Here are some pictures of the Cruz's place. It has a family room, small kitchen and bathroom down stairs and one large bedroom upstairs.

Pictured on the here on the right are several of the families who used to live at the bridge at the dedication of the Cruz's home. Praise the Lord for caring for these families. He has taken them from the bridge to a group of apartments that house thousands of people. I know that they will show Him their gratitude by opening their home to others to make Him known. Pray for their continued growth, protection, blessings.