Hope Sports Build

My worlds are colliding and my heart just might burst with joy!

Sports was my first passion, and I will always be an Olympics junkie. Once a sport gets truly into your system, you just can’t get enough. Even retired, I miss it everyday. And when I see a pool, it’s hard to contain the urge to grab a suit and do something crazy.

Having practically lived at the pool every day until I was over 30 years old, change was hard. My daily life these days is at home raising my three precious littles. I never thought caring for others would be so fulfilling and rewarding, but I’ve discovered it’s pretty much the best job ever. Yes, even better than my previous job of sweating chlorine.

My young brood isn’t quite equipped yet for flying off three story buildings leaving nary a splash or spending long days in a hot, sweaty gym, and athletes don’t exactly frequent my house for a quick workout. So, my favorite things in the world don’t often mingle.

Until this month.

In two weeks in Rosarito, Mexico, 17 Olympians from 10 different sports, 4 nationalities and 10 Olympic Games are joining together to build a home for an impoverished family. Hope Sports is uniting athletes to bring hope and encouraging athletes to live with a greater purpose and a heart of service.

Hope Sports partners with YWAM Homes of Hope who has built 5,000 homes across 19 countries. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, they are building 25 homes- one to commemorate each year of the program’s existence- in Baja, Mexico from May 22-25th. You can check out the Homes of Hope press release here.

I’d like to introduce you to the family that we’re building for. I’ve been told they have incredible hearts with big dreams, and after reading their profile, I believe it. They have given us permission to share their story, so without any further ado, please meet the Diaz Gomez family.

Emilio (35), Juana (34), Jose Miguel (13), Jonathan (12), Emilio (10), Isaias (2), and Rosa (1). *one son not pictured*

Emilio (35), Juana (34), Jose Miguel (13), Jonathan (12), Emilio (10), Isaias (2), and Rosa (1). *one son not pictured*

Juana with her two youngest in the house.

Juana with her two youngest in the house.

They have 5 children (4 boys and 1 girl) and live in a small house with no windows or ventilation. The seven family members sleep on two separate beds- 4 in one bed and 3 in the other. All of the kids are currently at home because the teachers in Mexico have been on strike for the past several weeks.

Juana, the mother, is 34 years old and makes pinatas in her house while caring for her children. Growing up she was abused by her father and kicked out the house when she was 16. She wanted to be a nurse but her father didn’t want her to study because he didn’t believe women should go to school. Juana made just $20 a month working all day, everyday in southern Mexico. When she was 20, she moved to Tijuana for a better job and more opportunity. There she met her husband Emilio.

Emilio was kicked out the house when he was just 10 years old. His older brother was sold so that his father could buy alcohol. Emilio is currently a mason and barely makes enough to survive.

Between the two of them they don’t make enough to support their family. They eat tortillas and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The oldest child, Miguel, wants to go to university, and Jonathan wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Juana’s dream is for her kids to get an education and see her kids accomplish their dreams.

On one hand, I feel so connected to Juana. She and I are close in age, we have children the same age and we both stay home with our kids while trying to work at the same time. On the other hand, I can’t help but dwell on the disparity between our two worlds. I grew up with supportive parents and a roof over my head. My husband and I, while we’ve had a few stints of unemployment and tight financial times, we’ve never had to worry about providing our kids with the basics like food or a bed to sleep in.

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.””

— Galatians 5:14

Will you join me in praying for this sweet family? Please pray that the build goes smoothly and that no need for this family will go unmet. And pray that through Hope Sports and Homes of Hope, people would see is happening and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

What an honor it will be to help this family turn their house into a real home. If you would like to help this precious family along side us, please visit this fundraising page that my fellow builders, U.S. Olympic swimmers and medalists Kim Vandenberg and Rebecca Soni, set up. If you can’t donate, please consider sharing this on social media to help us spread awareness.

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