Habitat for Humanity is a household name in the United States, but as Tim Stafford notes, most of Habitat's work is now done elsewhere. For instance, over 10,000 Habitat homes have been built in Guatemala, 12,000 in Mexico, and 40,000 in all of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Costa Rica, a relatively new Habitat country, began construction on its 300th home this spring. Christianity Today spoke with the new homeowner, as well as workers in the national and regional offices, to get a sense of how Habitat's Christian identity gets translated through the organization.
Raúl Peraza Solórzano and his wife, Maricel Ruíz Quirós, are the future owners of that 300th house in Palmares. When CT asked Maricel if working with the Habitat local committee strengthened her Christian faith, she gave a blank look. "It's hard to put into words," she said, and after a few moments of silence, concluded, "It gives me more strength."
Then again, she is in a strong position to begin with. She's married to a faithful husband (who, in fact, was still at work at 6:30 P.M. when CT interviewed her). Some Habitat families are not as functional, and when they hit a bump, Johnny Castro Madrigal, who works in a regional Habitat office in San Ramon, says he has the clearest opportunity to share his faith. "I try to advise the family, if one spouse drops out of a marriage for example, that it doesn't mean our God has abandoned the family. I tell them he is a person in whom we can trust."
Kelly Sumner, an international partner in the national office, respects the quiet way Christian faith is communicated through the ranks, from the copy of Fuller's The Theology of the Hammer that each Habitat homeowner receives to the regular devotions at staff meetings. But mostly ...1