Casas por Cristo is a short term missions organization, founded in 1993, that builds homes for families in need in México, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. In four days, volunteer teams transform an empty lot into a complete home. Families served receive a renewed trust in God’s love and faithfulness as volunteers are awakened to the realities of poverty and the importance of humanitarianism and service.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Meet Tyler Miiller, Guatemala Field Coordinator. He has been serving with Casas por Cristo since 2013. Tyler spends his time leading volunteer teams in the construction process, coordinating day-to-day operations, and visiting families.
Interview with Tyler
1. Tell a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
I am originally from Mitchell, South Dakota. I grew up in the countryside on our farm and spent most of my time working alongside my dad. I attended the University of South Dakota for 6 years where I earned a Master of Art in Biology degree. It wasn't until March 2013 that I was introduced to Casas por Cristo when I went on my first build to Juárez with a group from my hometown. I then spent the summer as an intern in Guatemala, began my apprenticeship in September 2013, and officially joined staff January 1, 2014. Thus far, seeking biblical truths has led me on an incredible journey of faith -- not filled with comfort, complacency or contentment, but a burning desire for challenge, sacrifice, and simplicity. And for those of you who enjoy random facts, I'm addicted to coffee and green apple Chap Stick.
2. What made you choose to serve at Casas por Cristo?
I'm a firm believer in "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words." After my first build with CpC, I immediately fell in love with the people we serve, the simplicity of their lifestyle, and the mission of Casas. I love being able to share the Gospel with people in a real, tangible way. After all, it isn't the sermons that are preached or lessons that are taught, but the lives we live due to the love of Christ compelling us forward.
3. How have you seen God in your ministry at Casas por Cristo?
God continues to write His story on the hearts of the families we build for, the pastors of local churches, the communities we serve, and the team members who partner with us. To see how these stories intertwine, weave together, and play out as part of a much larger story is a difficult feeling to describe. Dreams have become reality, lives have been changed, and the hope of a paradise yet to come is what people cling to after witnessing Christ's love in action.
4. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Thus far, my biggest challenge has been the feeling of wanting to help everyone, but realizing the reality of that just isn't possible. Living in an area where the need is overwhelmingly great, we're continuously approached by families who are in need of a home, yet we don't have additional applications. I've come to learn that it is okay to physically help those whom God places in our path, one at a time, while praying He will provide for the rest.
Ability to learn Spanish
Additional financial support and partnerships
Casas por Cristo: leadership, missionaries, pastors, families, teams
Spiritual, physical, and emotional strength as our summer season approaches
My mom and 2 sisters, as living so far away from family is definitely challenging
Early Monday morning a large tornado swept through Ciudad Acuña, México damaging over 400 homes and leaving 13 dead.
The local government is doing an excellent job organizing the relief effort. They have mobilized meals, temporary housing, medical relief stations, and temporary pharmacies.
All the homes destroyed were part of a government subsidy program, which means the government is contractually obligated to rebuild them. Thankfully the basic housing problem will be taken care of.
In addition, our pastors committee members are busy at work with their congregations ministering to the families in need of aid.
Casas por Cristo expects to meet with the local leaders to discuss how we can partner with the city to help Acuña recover. For now, we will continue with our normal building schedule and focus on the families we were already planning to serve. We will keep you posted on future opportunities.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Pray for the city of Acuña, the government's relief efforts, the pastors and church members that are hard at work, and the families dealing with loss of loved ones and property.
Bring donations to the Civic Center in Del Rio, Texas. The following is a list of items the tornado victims need most right now.
Meet Pastor Jose Luis, his wife Maria, and the rest of his family. Pastor Jose Luis has been a member of the Casas por Cristo pastors committee in Acuña since 2014. Just recently our ministry along with a group of volunteers from the First Presbyterian Church in Boulder, Colorado had the opportunity to build Jose Luis and his wife a much needed home.
Pastor Jose Luis worked in the factories in Acuña as a machine technician and then as a manager of technicians. Three years ago he retired and became a pastor.
Jose Luis has a heart for the people in the community that he sees struggling with addictions. People struggling with addictions often find themselves as outcasts in the community and many times are homeless. These types of people broke Pastor Jose Luis' heart, and he began visiting the places where these people hang out in order to build relationships with them. Over the last few years he has been known to be as bold as to invite some of them into his home, not just for a meal or for a visit, but to live with him and his family. He does this so they can have a stable living environment where he can give them pastoral support. At the beginning of his ministry, these types of bold moves caused great concern and anxiety among Jose Luis' family.
However, the boldness of Pastor Jose Luis' witness to the "least of these" began a transformation in his own family. They began to understand the Gospel in a new way: that God loves us even in our weakest and most depraved state, that he sent his son to come find us and redeem us, and that through Jesus' death and resurrection we have a new and transformed life. Those of Jose Luis' adult children and their spouses who hadn't fully committed themselves to following Jesus have now done so, and his family is now united behind his ministry.
The families of these former addicts make up the foundation of Pastor Jose Luis' church. Although their church building is incomplete - just a foundation, partial walls and a patch of tin roof - they are faithful to gather together to give praise to our God. Pastor Jose Luis dreams of completing their church building. The house that Casas por Cristo has provided next to the church will give them a completed space to meet, work and live. Pastor Jose Luis has a vision of building rooms next to the house where he can offer living space to more people working to become free from their addictions.
Meet Josh and Allie Crabbs, the newest recruits to the Dominican Republic. Josh has worked at Casas por Cristo since 2006. Allie joined the CpC staff after marrying Josh in September of 2014. They just moved to the Dominican Republic this past January to help start operations there.
Tell a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
Josh: I am from Akron, Ohio and I am slightly addicted to sports. I owe who I am now to the example of my parents. Their ministry in the inner city of Akron is a true depiction of what it means to live a life of sacrifice and service to our Maker.
Allie: I grew up in St. Louis, MO and graduated from Dallas Christian College. God ignited my heart for The Nations when I was 16 serving at an orphanage in Juárez. From that point on, I had a deep desire to serve cross culturally and I wasn't going to let anything stand in my way.
What made you choose to serve at Casas por Cristo?
Josh: I had a desire to serve the Lord in a tangible way. When I was given the opportunity to apprentice and then come on staff with Casas, it was a no brainer for me. I couldn't think of a better way to use the gifts God had given me than to serve those in need.
Allie: Let's be honest, I married into it (Haha). On a more serious note though, I was first introduced to Casas por Cristo while serving in Guatemala with Morning Glory Christian School. During my time there, I was able to see the lasting impact that Casas has had on that community for Christ. That is the reason why I love Casas. Thier style of ministry works. So when I did eventually marry a "Casas' Man," I was excited to join their staff and serve alongside Josh.
How have you seen God through your ministry at Casas por Cristo?
Josh: I have seen God in several ways. I have seen Him through the impact that the local church has had on our Casas Teams, through the growth and strength of the local church because of our Casas Teams and through the actions of the families who have received homes.
Allie: I see God in every face we serve. The pure joy that the families have when they receive their home is the most beautiful part for me. In that moment, you can feel the fullness of God's love for His people, the fullness of what it means to be The Church, and the fullness of what it means to be a child of God resting in His presence. I wouldn't change that for anything.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Josh: My biggest challenge is accepting that I can't help everyone. In Juárez, the need was so great, it was overwhelming. I had to learn that the Lord has given me the ability to help the specific people He has placed in my path and that is okay.
Allie: My biggest struggle while working with Casas has been the feeling of inadequacy. I think in life I'm a relatively capable person, but the first time I walked on a build site, all of that fell away almost instantly. I couldn't even swing a hammer correctly. Any time Josh would ask me to do something, I literally had no idea what he was talking about. Every build is a little bit better, but those thoughts still try to creep back in any way possible. I am continually reminded of the quote, "He doesn't call the equipped. He equips the called."
Patience as we are still transitioning into married life and life in the DR
Growth for the ministry here in the Dominican
Relationships we are forming with the pastors and community