Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Teresa of Avila Would Be Proud

Christ Has No Body
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

Mr. and Mrs. Reyna with daughter Lupe at finished new home.

We attend church to worship God and to be filled with the Spirit of God; then we are to go into the world to minister to others--to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Lorenzo Lara is one person who embodies this fact. He is a good neighbor. Actually, he is more than that. He is a great neighbor. He lives in Buda, Texas, just south of Austin, where he has resided for 25 years. He is an automobile mechanic who raised four beautiful daughters and one amazing son.

Lorenzo said that about six years ago, he ran into Mike Manning and Pastor Mark Porterfield, then the pastor of Buda United Methodist Church (BUMC). He asked them what they were doing. Mark and Mike told him that they had just returned from a mission trip to South Texas. They had gone down to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to build houses for people who were in need. They indicated that they did this every year as a church mission trip. This stuck with Lorenzo.

So much so that when he encountered Mike two years ago at Buda Automotive, he told him about a neighboring family who needed help with their house. He went into details about this family of three living in his neighborhood who lived in an inadequate trailer. It was inadequate in many ways, but the biggest problem was that two of the people were in wheelchairs, but could not maneuver in most of the house because the doorways were not large enough to accommodate their wheelchairs. As a result, the man of the house was having to bathe in the backyard. He said that he was trying to help his neighbors every way that he could, but that there was more work to be done than he could do alone. He asked Mike if he and his church could help. Mike’s response was “Sure.”

Mike Manning
Mike Manning phoned Johnny Potts, the Facilities Manager and Trustee at BUMC, and asked him to come survey the property with him to list the work that was needed. Lorenzo took Mike and Johnny over to the house and they realized that there was too much to be repaired. They decided that the Reyna family needed a new house.

Johnny Potts mentioned this at Wednesday night church service at BUMC. He told the congregation that something needed to be done for the Reyna's. And slowly this seed that was originally planted by Lorenzo began to grow.

Johnny and Mike involved Jim Sweet, the Associate Pastor at BUMC. Jim visited the house and agreed that these people needed assistance. A sense of helping the people in their own community began to grow.

Then, they all talked to the church men’s group and presented pictures for these men to review to ask for financial assistance. The men’s group committed to the project, which continued to grow.

Pastor Jim Sweet mentioned the project to the newly formed Buda Ministerial Alliance and requested their support.

The church mission team decided to support this project and rather than go down to the valley to build a house for someone there, to keep all of the money and work on the local level to minister to members of their own community.

Nancy Hardin and Chris Dunkin agreed to be the coordinators for the project. Bobby Lasseter agreed to lead the construction, including designing the house. The community was solicited for support. The idea was to have this as a community project, with BUMC providing the leadership. Mike Manning said that they wanted everyone in the community who had to desire to be included to participate.

Billie Franke solicited donations from area civic organizations and restaurants. When construction began, she cooked and delivered meals for the workers. Local businesses joined the activity. According to Nancy Hardin, “we had more than forty community business donors.”

The planning stage lasted about two years. This is because the planning involved securing donations and volunteers to complete the project. Congregations and community members were asked for financial donations. BUMC men’s group donated the funds that they would normally donate to the mission trip in the Rio Grande Valley.

Originally, this project was to be called “Extreme Home Makeover”. But, someone mentioned that there is a television show with the same name. To prevent interference with existing copyrights, the church changed the name to HMR, which stands for helping, mending and restoring.

Johnny Potts and Lorenzo Lara work hard.

Bobby Lassiter and Lorenzo Lara working.

Mr. Reyna waits for his new home.

Wally Rudinski, Lorenzo Lara, Sheila Kuschke, Nancy Day, Sr. Pastor at BUMC, Mrs. Reyna, Mr. Reyna, Lupe Reyna, Associate Pastor Jim Sweet, and Nancy Hardin

 Funds were garnered, the materials were secured, and on October 1, 2011, numerous volunteers from all over the community were assembled on site.The actual construction began.   Only eight days later, on October 9, 2011, the family moved into their new house.The Holy Bible tells us that the world was created in seven days.The Buda community built a house in eight.

The frame.

Lorenzo Lara and Craig Smith work together

Construction continues.

The next day, a barbeque was held on site as an appreciation dinner for all of the volunteers.

There was more work to be completed. Demolition of the old house was done and all of those materials were hauled off to another location.

Shower:wheelchair accessible.

Kitchen and dining area.

Yesterday, October 25, 2011, the final touches were made with the completion of the landscaping.

Living Room

Working on the porch.
This project began with a neighbor helping a neighbor. Lorenzo said, “I decided to help these people whether or not they asked. I asked them how I could help them, and they wanted to know if I would mind cutting the grass.” And so it all began three years ago with this father of five being the hands and feet of Jesus in the community.

Mike Manning said, “If you really want to know who the angel was who started it all, Lorenzo Lara deserves the credit. We were able to be the hands and feet of Jesus; and more hands and feet kept joining in until we got this project completed. My dream is for this to continue in our community.”


copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

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