A City on a Hill: Danilo's New Home Blesses a Community

04/28/14

Ever since the Thayer family saw their sponsored child's home, the difficulty of his situation has weighed heavily on their hearts. 

 
Danilo is a teenage boy growing up in a Dominican slum, trying to provide for his three sisters. Last year his mother tragically passed away, and his little family has known nothing but pain and struggle since then. Their home was a dilapidated building made of scrap metal, plastic, and anything the family could get their hands on. Living on a dirt floor with no running water, electricity, or even furniture, Danilo was trying to lead and provide for his family. 
 
The Thayer family met their sponsored child Danilo and saw his home
The Thayer family met their sponsored child Danilo and saw his home on their first Venture Trip to the Dominican Republic.  
 
When Danielle Thayer returned from her first trip, she couldn't get that home out of her mind. "We were praying about it and waiting," she says. "We wanted to see if the desire to build him a new home was really from God." A few months later, the family still had Danilo's home on their hearts, and felt God was telling them that this project was from Him. They bought their tickets and prepared for their second trip. 
 
The Thayers showed up expecting to do some construction work. But on Monday when they arrived at the site, they found Danilo already digging the foundation, with dozens of neighbors and teammates from COTN’s I Love Baseball program gathered around to help. "Every day, there was an assembly line of people waiting to help build this house," Danielle says. 
 
 
 
As the work began, a verse kept coming to Danielle's mind—Matthew 5:14–16, "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." 
 
"This verse was my prayer for the house," Danielle says. "And it was manifesting itself already." The Thayers were overwhelmed as they watched the community flock to the house. They came to help with construction, or to just pull up chairs and watch. And soon they began praying, too. "Church happened every day at that house," Danielle says. "The presence of God was so tangible that people hungered for that, and came." They circled the house every day and prayed, and while most worked on construction, some would come to Danielle and ask for prayer. "People just kept coming," she says, amazed.
 
Danielle praying over the home with the community
                                                 Danielle praying over the home with the community.
 
So many people came together to work on the house that construction was finished in only three days. As construction came to a close, the Venture Team and the community held a dedication ceremony together. Everyone prayed over the house, and Danielle's verse from Matthew was written on the doorframe. Danilo's sister shared a letter that each member of their family had written to the Thayers. Then Danilo got up to speak.
 
"My mother had always dreamed of giving us a house like this," Danilo said. "But she died before she could see it. It reminds me of Moses not making it to the Promised Land."
 
The team with Danilo and his sisters, in front of their new home
                                       The team with Danilo and his sisters, in front of their new home. 
 
Danilo inside his new home
                                                                       Danilo inside his new home.
 
As Danielle's husband Bob got up to close in prayer, he told Danilo, "Our prayer is that you will be able to pass this on."
 
Danilo didn't have to wait long to pass his blessing on. Just before his house was finished, Danielle and her team were touring Algodón, one of the communities COTN partners with, when COTN's school principal took them aside and told them he wanted to show them something. Danielle and her friend Tracy walked with him out of the village, past the church, and to the edge of the sugarcane fields. There, a woman named Alaina was living in a tiny shack with seven children. Her home had burned down, and this was all she could afford.
 
As they prayed over her, Danielle and Tracy felt they should build this woman a home too, right away. They took it back to the COTN staff. It didn't take long for Country Director Francisco Tejeda to give them a green light. "I'm just a man," he said. "I don't want to get in the way of what God wants to do." 
 
The day Danilo's home was finished, guess who was kneeling in the dirt, digging the foundation for Alaina's home with a coconut shell? 
 
Danilo digs
Danilo!
 
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