Before I ever worked at 1MISSION, I had heard about Amparo through Brittany and Dustin Patrick, my sister and brother-in-law. They had gotten to know her while living in Puerto Peñasco in the early days, helping to get 1MISSION off the ground.
Even now, all these years later, Amparo’s story remains one of my very favorites. I love it because it’s such a beautiful story of the power of community.
Before I tell you more, I wanted to share something Dustin and Brittany wrote to friends and family back in 2011, which provides the backstory:
Amparo is a single mom with eight kids. She has been volunteering with 1MISSION for over a year. We weren’t able to build for her because she had no legal ownership of the piece of land she was living on. Over the course of the year, she built great friendships with some of the other women she had volunteered with. They began encouraging her to apply for a piece of land nearby that she could gain ownership of. Two ladies that have been working with us for a while walked her through the steps to acquire some land.
The next obstacle was the $300 required for a down payment. She had exactly $0 saved. She hasn’t had a steady job since we’ve known her, and barely makes enough money for a little bit of food each day. One of the ladies who met her through volunteering came to us and wanted to help with the down payment. Maricela is a mother of 5 kids. Her and her husband have not had steady work since we’ve known them either. They gave $40. Thats about two weeks of income for them but to her, Amparo needed it more than she did.
Maricela believed that others were there for her when she was in need, and now she had the opportunity to help when someone else was in need.
Over the course of four days Amparo was able to pay her down payment (with the community’s help) and two days later we were able to build a home for her and her family. The day her house was completed, her neighbors and friends surrounded her, all crying as they looked at Amparo’s new home, which they had each helped make possible.
How we measure success is through locals serving in, and giving to, their community. We are happy to see more and more community members taking ownership in making their neighborhood a better place to live.
Image: The moment Amparo learned that her neighbors had raised the money to buy her land.
Image: Amparo’s dream come true: a house of her own.
Amparo has been involved with 1MISSION since 2010, faithfully serving in a variety of ways, including the gardening program and the basecamp kitchen. A few years in, she took one of Susana’s sewing classes and caught on really quickly. Soon she was teaching others how to sew. She found a real passion and developed amazing skill in quilt making. Today, she makes and sells gorgeous quilts as a way to help support her family. As a fellow seamstress (who is nowhere near her talent!), I have always been impressed with her sewing ability!
Recently, she took over as coordinator for the sewing projects in Puerto Peñasco.
In May of 2022, I was able to go on a trip with my whole family: the Jensens, the Patricks, and my mom. We were able to build a new house for Amparo and her family. (Her original house was having flooding issues because of some new construction nearby.)
Image: Amparo (left) and Brittany (right), reunited and working on Amparo’s new house in 2022.
Image: Amparo with Dustin and Brittany, together with their families, as the new house is built in 2022.
Having the opportunity to build for Amparo was so cool. Because I know her story and I know the love and commitment she has to serving her community—which she’s continued to show over the last 13 years—it felt really special.
And then to make it extra special, I got to build with Britt and Dustin. It was like a full circle moment. To see the love that the community still has for them was really amazing. They moved back to the US in 2011 and have visited several times, but haven’t been in the community for an extended period of time in probably a decade.
But you wouldn’t know it. Seeing their interactions with Amparo and other community members, it was as if they never left. People were coming from all over the neighborhood to see them. Neighbors who were just walking by recognized them immediately. It really showed the impact that they were able to make on the community just by loving and serving more than ten years ago.
Amparo says, “For me, my house means stability. It’s a safe place and represents a future for my children and me. With our house, we’re protected from the weather and are able to relax. When Brittany and Dustin came to help build my new house, it was something that really impacted me. It’s wonderful to know that we are still connected. We are a family. Thank you so much.”
My sister has always been a hero and role model to me. And Amparo is one of my all-time 1MISSION heroes. How amazing to be there with both of them, working together!
P.S. Stories like these are only possible because of the faithful partnership of people like you. The best way to partner with more families like Amparo’s is to join the Supply Yard, our amazing community of monthly givers.