“She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, for there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7) . After the arduous journey to Bethlehem, riding upon a donkey, Mary and Joseph arrived exhausted, desperately seeking shelter. Unfortunately, no place was available to welcome them, except for a manger—a humble reminder of the miraculous birth of baby Jesus.
This is the story of the pilgrimage of Angélica and her family in Venezuela in search of a safe haven to call home. Door after door closed on them, until Angélica’s family finally finds peace in a new home, where hope is the last to fade away.
An open door: a new home
I can still recall when I was pregnant and desperately needed a place for my baby. We ended up in a small house because it was the only place we could find right when we needed it the most. The state of our country, both economically and politically, left us with no choice but to accept those tough and unsettling conditions.
For the last eight years, being a teacher just hasn’t been enough to support my family. It’s been challenging making ends meet with the salary I get. Even now, multiple sources of income are necessary to meet our most basic needs. Our farming business took a hit as people weren’t buying as much and the prices dropped a lot. Getting enough diesel and gasoline became a big problem for us and it meant that we had even less income. That money was crucial for taking care of our family and I felt overwhelmed when I first found myself in this challenging situation. On top of this, our small home began to crack and crumble, and the thought of ending up on the streets with my children filled me with dread.
Every day, as our country’s situation worsened, so did our home. Pests came in through the cracks, and the children fell ill because of the cold and dampness. The inability to provide a dignified home for my family filled me with sorrow, and nighttime brought anxiety, fearing that our house might collapse around us.
We began knocking on door after door, asking for help wherever we could. The desperation was indescribable, but every time, the responses were elusive. Sadness mixed with anger and hope alternated in my heart as I searched for a home.
Living in a crumbling home posed countless challenges. Earthquakes and heavy rains were particularly daunting as they were life-threatening to us. The children’s room was damp everywhere, meaning that my children were sick all the time. Our kitchen had holes in the walls, allowing insects to enter. We felt unsafe in our own home; it was a daily struggle.
However, one day a door opened for us, thanks to the support of the “13 Houses” Campaign and the Daughters of Charity who supported us to get a new home.
I cannot even express our joy in words: the pride we felt when others saw the change in our lives was immeasurable. A dignified home restored my confidence, joy, and hope, not just for myself but for my entire family. It strengthened my faith in God, knowing that through Him, this project became a reality.
Hope, anchored in faith and prayer, always accompanied us. We believed our life would improve and we prayed for the success of the project. We knocked on many doors, often met with disappointment, but we held fast in our faith. Eventually, an angel came into our lives, one who made our peace, happiness, and security possible. We are grateful to God and all those who helped us make our dream of having a home a reality. When we first heard about the project, it seemed too good to be true. But our faith and hope in God saw us through and when we saw it all become reality, we felt immense happiness and gratitude towards those who made it possible.
As I look to the future, I see a life filled with happiness and unity. Our faith in God remains our cornerstone, for with Him, all things are possible. Our future is now more dignified, and stronger, and it is filled with hope for my family. I see security, and my aspirations are to continue working towards my dreams, my goals, and my family’s well-being. I’ll keep fighting for the dreams we share as individuals, always with God leading the way.
For those experiencing similar hardships or for those trying to understand the realities of people in such situations, I want to share some words of wisdom. First, never lose hope, for it is a fundamental pillar of our journey. Keep moving forward, persist, knock on doors repeatedly, persevere, pray, and give thanks, for these are the keys to achieving our daily goals. Stay calm, knowing that everything happens in its own time, and trust that God never gives us trials we cannot overcome. My dear friend, Sr Yolanda Zambrano once told me to pray fervently and with faith, and that’s where you’ll find the answers. Do not lose faith in God, for there are still people whom God uses to help those in need.