Carmela’s House


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I didn’t get to say goodbye to her, my friend, Carmela.

I never imagined she wouldn’t be around when I got home from Canada last year.  She was a very unlikely friend of mine, more than a little rough around the edges.  She wasn’t much to look at, with a missing eye and a twisted leg.  My kids were a little scared of her at the beginning.

I met her a few years ago at an evening outreach we used to help with in Las Aves.  There wasn’t a lot to like about her.  I know that sounds incredibly rude, but its true.  She swore more than any person I have met before, was verbally and emotionally abusive to her grandkids, and spent a good amount of time doing random dirty jobs just to get by.  Her house was often filled with sacks of beer and pop cans she was gathering up to be recycled, with the lovely smell that goes with it.  To put  short, Carmela was an angry and hard person, not easy to like… let alone love.

I’m not sure how it happened, but over time Carmela became more than just a cranky old lady to me…. she became my friend.   We invited her in when ever she showed up.  Her visits were sporadic, and our conversations often brought her to tears.  Her grandaughters were placed in orphanages and sadly she was left alone.  As hard as she seemed on the outside, her heart was so broken.  I often had a hard time understanding her, but I knew I could listen. I admit, I still think she was a little crazy, but even the crazy deserve to be shown grace and love.

“I’m sorry for being such a bother” She would say to me.  “You are not a bother!” I would tell her, I’m so glad you came by!”  And I meant it.  We knew she didn’t have much, so when she stopped by, we would give her food.  After while, even if I wasn’t home, the older kids would invite her in, make her a warm meal, and chat at the table with her.  After getting used to her grumpy ramblings, we all grew to love that lady.  She would sit at our table and just watch us interact as a normal family, and I could tell by her big eyes and mouth hanging open with awe that she was witnessing something she had never experienced before, a home full of love and our own kind of crazy, ha ha.

I cried the day I found out she died.  I was in Canada waiting for my baby girl to be born.  It was unexpected and I was so sad I never got to say goodbye to her.

Carmela had no idea she changed my life.

Her presence in my life was a constant a reminder of the life of love Jesus is calling us to.

He’s not calling us to easy, convenient, pretty or comfortable.


He’s calling us to love and it’s difficult, messy, and just plain hard.

The best news is, I am sure Carmela is heaven now.   Dancing around on her perfect legs and beautifully complete with her big eyes, bright smile and restored heart, knowing what real love is from the one who Created her.  What could be be be better then that?

Until heaven my dear friend, we won’t forget you.  Your spunky spirit lives on.

Carmela’s purple house sits empty on top of the hill in Las Aves.  With the help of some friends we just finished paying off the land, and now we have a dream to  redeem the house that once held a broken old lady and her family.  Some day her granddaughters will get to have the purple house to come home to, which is what Carmela always wanted, but till then we will use it for good!

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I started  a small sewing program a couple years ago after been given a few used sewing machines, and have held a class one morning a week in borrowed spaces in the community of Las Aves.

I dream of equipping women with skills to create hand mades items that will  eventually help them create more income to support their families and keep them from working in the fields.  I want to give my dear friends in Las Aves a place where they are welcome to do that.

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Carmela’s  house will be called Casa de Creatividad (house of creativity) and will be used to teach women various skills including sewing, crafts and many other artisan skills by both local and foreign teachers.  It will be a house where community and creativity thrive.

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I am raising some money to get the house ready as it needs some electric work done and some security aspects added to prevent break ins once we have moved in.  I will also need to buy some tables, chairs and shelving.  I need some start up funds to get the place open, but plan for it to be self-sustainable once it is going.

If you are interested in supporting this project and you live in or near Edmonton…

This coming Saturday, November 18 the women in my home church, North Edmonton Christian Fellowship are doing a fun womens event and using the proceeds for Casa de Creatividad.  If you are in Edmonton area please consider bringing a friend with you to have a night out for food friendship, a silent auction, raffle and more.  Tickets are only $10, you call 456-7890 for more info.  I will share the event on my Facebook page if you want more info.

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If you would like to support this project I will have a way to do that next week.  Thanks for your love and support!








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