April 27th, 2011 by Matt Lindsey
In our life with others, the one thing on which everything depends is love.
Epicenter of God’s love. Lighthouse. Beacon of Hope. Refuge. Safe house. These are all words that have been spoken about Casa Palo Chino. I know it may sound a bit starry-eyed talking about a half-finished building project tucked away in a small, poor neighborhood in the murder capital of the world. Even so, if you were to stand there with us you’d feel the spirit of God, the spirit of Hope, Life, Possibility and Love. That’s the irony of Juarez right now. There is beauty. There is always hope despite the darkness.
Casa Palo Chino is a tangible expression of the kind of hope that we are talking about. For two and a half years we watched the building decaying before our eyes. I don’t know how many rocks we thew at the pigeons that had infested the open rafters like flies on a carcass; it was the biggest bird house I had ever seen. Each day that we looked up at it there was a tension in our hearts, a bittersweet blend of hopeful anticipation and discouraging frustration as we saw what Casa Palo Chino could be even as it was deteriorating.
The vision for Casa Palo Chino is infectious. It’s not about a building project, but the building of community and solidarity, a dream-center in the the midst of the dark storm over Juarez. It’s a reflection of God’s love demonstrated through palpable action. For example, since last spring, despite it’s unfinished and dusty state, the building has been used at least 2 -3 times per week by the youth of Juan & Carmen’s church. They have been meeing there to worship, celebrate and pray for Juarez. Also, over the last five months on Saturdays and Mondays the beautiful ladies from the Tailoring Project have been honing their sewing skills and building their burgeoning micro-business inside the building.
We have asked folks visiting us in Juarez to pray, listen, and to write what they hear all over the skeletal structure of the building. The promises, the hope, the power of what God is doing in this little building is awe-inspiring.
Current Goals for Casa Palo Chino:
1. Hub for community growth in Colonia Palo Chino
2. Center for education and empowerment
3. Place of Worship
4. Community celebration & gatherings
5. Place of Rest – safe haven/sanctuary for the people of Palo Chino
Since October of 2010 we have hosted a handful of some of the most skillful, knowledgeable and thorough tradesmen. They have made five trips to Juarez to work on the Casa alongside some of the local tradesmen, investing their gifts, talents, energy and love into the community of Palo Chino. We’ve gone from dilapidated over-sized bird house to a striking, up-and-coming community center by their hard work and commitment. We could not imagine a more valuable crew to serve alongside!
Hats off to the Under Construction crew and our Californian Sparky the Electrician
Visit our Gallery to see the latest photos from Casa Palo Chino