Steve Nichols, a Thrivent Financial associate serving Lutherans and their family members in Sedalia, traveled to El Salvador with 28 other Thrivent Financial representatives and employees from across the United States. Nichols was selected to represent his colleagues from the Kansas-Missouri Region on this team because he demonstrated notable performance, passion for volunteering with members and drive to help people become financially secure.
Thrivent Financial representatives painted, carried dirt and rock, mixed cement and dug trenches to help enable families to afford to buy a safe, new home in El Salvador.
From April 6-14, the team helped construct homes in a community called “Getsemani.” This neighborhood development includes earthquake-resistant housing and offers families basic services and social infrastructure such as green areas and a community center. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is committed to sending 30 volunteer teams in 2013 to support the mission of Habitat for Humanity El Salvador and has encouraged hundreds of Thrivent members to volunteer in El Salvador to help make this dream a reality.
As the homes were built, relationships grew with the local Salvadorans. The team enjoyed building with local Salvadoran volunteers, as well as with the Habitat El Salvador partner families who will live in this community. These Salvadoran families have to apply for and purchase the Habitat houses, just like in the United States, and put in sweat equity before they can move in.
“Nearly half of the population of El Salvador lives in substandard housing, and by our American standards, the Salvadorans have very little,” said Nichols. “Despite having few worldly possessions, the Salvadorans I met displayed a wealth of spirit, love and generosity.”