‘A mutual goal and mutual respect’




By Rita Keegan, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans financial associate and resident of Bismarck, North Dakota

In 2008, a group of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans representatives traveled to El Salvador to help build the community of Villa Esperanza, and I had an opportunity to join their ambassador team. That trip changed my life in many ways. I had never traveled out of the country, let alone to a poverty-stricken area with so many people living in substandard housing conditions.

That week, I wondered how I could convince the members of my church congregation to participate in a mission, bringing even more hope to the wonderful people of El Salvador. To my pleasant surprise, getting my fellow church members on board was easy. A simple slideshow presentation about my trip and before we knew it, a group of us was planning the next one. Since that first trip, Good Shepherd Church has been very supportive through financial gifts, school kits and Sunday school materials, among other things.

Amazing things happen on these trips. I’ll never forget being taught to rebar by Jovel, a mason. We spoke different languages, yet were able to understand each other. We had a mutual goal and a mutual respect for one another.

God does bless me on each build experience, in that I get to make a difference. He gives me hope that we can continue to show love to others.

It is hard to put a logical explanation as to why things happen to you during these trips, so I can only believe that it is God working through our hands! I see God at work when I travel with Thrivent Builds.