by Emily Lacour
Hello, my name is Emily LaCour. This past July, I got to witness, first-hand, the blessings Make a Miracle spreads throughout the community in San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru. This trip was a surprisingly eye-opening experience. I learned a lot about the values within the community here as well as my own personal values. The importance of family, helping others, gratitude, and unconditional love were so prevalent during my trip. Initially, I expected language to be an isolating barrier, but I soon learned that unconditional love and kindness is a universal language that we all possess. On the morning of the second day of home builds, me and the team loaded up in the two blue vans to head for the mountain. We were to meet up with the scholarship students, volunteers, and Carolyn and Leslie (who left earlier that morning to get the Remote Year crew from Miraflores). The roads leading up the mountain are unpaved, with jagged rocks making the drive challenging. On the way up, we spotted a few scholarship students walking up to the build and offered them a ride. The turnout was outstanding. When everyone arrived at the top, there were nearly 50 of us in total. While the construction crew began to unload the walls for the second two houses, everyone simultaneously split off into their own groups and without wasting any time, got to work.
I decided to opt out of carrying the walls to the houses and decided to join a few students, Enessa, and Bella shoveling the mound of extra rock material into old cement bags for the next project needed. We worked together in synchronicity as if we were a machine. I had a quote stuck in my head that day, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The Make a Miracle community really embodies this quote because of the teamwork and sense of unity they possess. I took a break to watch the students transporting the walls to their designated houses and was amazed at their hard work.
They did not stop to take a break. They were so determined to get these houses built! I walked down hill to the middle house about two hours in and was amazed to see the house already up and halfway thru being painted! Eager to help, I jumped in and helped paint the wall, closest to the edge, a beautiful pink. Painting this wall was challenging because we had to lean out of the window and dangle the roller to coat all the exterior.
When we finally finished, I was covered in paint, but it was hilarious. I walked back up to the wellness center to wash up and jumped into a conversation with three local boys and Lindsey. It was quite comical to try and communicate with them using the little I remember from Spanish 2 in high school, but we got by and laughed a lot in doing so.
By the time we left for lunch, both houses (and the one we built the day prior) were complete and ready to be blessed. We dedicated the three homes in memory of Leland Snow, a beautiful little girl whose spirit now looks over the families on the hill. We began at the house on the very top of the mountain. The home was built for a mother and her son.
Rachel began the ceremony with a prayer in Spanish and translated for Bella. Bella read the verse Matthew 7:25, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” She thanked them for welcoming her into the community and admitted that it has been a joy to see the love the family spreads throughout the community. The mother of the family, Isabel, wished us good health and protection and said that they were eternally thankful for the house. She hopes that “God continues to give us this energy to help people because there are so many others who need it as well.” Her son Jaime spoke, saying his thanks and that he could never have imagined this as the house feels like “a gift from God.” Rachel revealed to them that the house was in dedication of Leland Snow, a beautiful little girl who left this earth too soon but now her spirit watches over their house and protects them. After the house was baptized by the breaking of the wine bottle over the front door, we went down to the middle house.
This house was built for a young mother named Jeni and her son, Billy. Lady began this ceremony by praying for the house and the family who owns it. Bella thanked them for the joy they bring to the community and wishes them many blessings as she read Matthew 7:25. Judy also spoke, revealing that she was drawn to the family the day prior, at Star Kids, not knowing it would be their house we would build. She prayed over them and will continue to pray over them every day. The mother expressed how thankful she is for the team helping not only her, but also the community. Carolyn told the family how the house was dedicated in memory of Leland Snow and how the houses will keep her memory alive, and her spirit will fill the houses with great joy. Judy blessed the house by breaking the wine bottle with a hammer.
We went down to the house that we built the day before for Percy and his family of eight. It happened to be Percy’s birthday—what a beautiful coincidence.
Percy and his wife had to work so they could not be there for the blessing, but his wonderful daughter and son were there to receive it. Giovanna prayed over the family and their home and told them about how the home was dedicated in honor of Leland Snow.
She thanked the team for their hard work and the miracles they do here and in other places as well. She spoke for the father of the family, letting us know how thankful he is for the work that is being done in their community and how honored he is to be a part of the Make a Miracle family. The son, Daniel, revealed how uncomfortable their living situation had been before and how thankful they were for the new home and the new opportunity it gives them at life. I had the honor of baptizing the family’s beautiful house by breaking the bottle hanging over their front door.
I was overcome with so much joy, gratitude, and love for this family. I had the chance to connect with them after the blessing and Lady translated for me. I was so grateful and humbled to be a part of such a beautiful and life changing experience.
To see the community come together and help others simply out of the kindness of their heart was a beautiful and soul-inspiring experience. To see so many people who have overcome so much adversity and still find a way to radiate unconditional love and kindness from their hearts was truly inspiring and humbling. The kind of miracles I witnessed during this trip were a true testimony of the ripple effect. I was reminded that kindness and love is contagious, it just starts with one small act.
Emily Lacour is a Make a Miracle intern who is studying Finance at Florida State University.