My Best DIY: Building a House in The Dominican Republic

YWAM San Pedro

A few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a home build.  It topped any DIY project I have ever done (and probably ever will do)!

Through YWAM San Pedro and Homes of Hope, my family was able to build a home for a family in the Dominican Republic.  

San Pedro Homes for Hope

Late last spring, my husband’s parents asked if we (along with his sisters and their families) would be interested in building a home as a family for a family in need. We decided to forgo our normal Christmas gifts for each other and put the money we would have spent on each other towards this home build and trip.

The day after Christmas, all 15 of us (which included 7 kids) traveled to San Pedro in The Dominican Republic.  The next day, we were picked up from our hotel and taken to the neighborhood where we were building the house.

Transportation to building site

The neighborhood streets were extremely narrow (so narrow that the bus had to drop us off, and we had to walk much of the way).  The homes had dirt floors and were built right next to each other. Home Before

The home we were building was for a single dad with three teenage daughters and grandpa and grandma.  In the photo above, you can see the entrance to their home.  The green door opened to a small room with beds covered in mosquito nets.  The space was SO small I had trouble taking a photo:

Home in The Dominican

Thanks so YWAM, our home build was well organized.  When we arrived to the site on the first day, a concrete slab had been poured and all the supplies were waiting for us. 

I attempted to stand in the same spot and take a photo as the house went up.  In just three days, it was complete!

YYAM San Pedro House Build

The build itself was hot, dirty and exhausting.

San Pedro Homes of Hope

However, seeing the family’s current living conditions and working side by side with them and YWAM staff was so motivating.

Painting Buddy

The photo above is a painting project I did on the kitchen bar with my painting buddy, 15-year-old Darling.  He is related to the family (who we were building the home for), and we share a love for paint.

We wrote “Dios Bendigo esta Hogar” which means God Bless this Home.

Building a home

This is one of those experiences that is just so hard to put into words and my perspective has been forever changed. 

Lifting the house wall

Not only were we transforming the lives of a family with a safe new home with a roof without holes and a cement (!) floor, but my life (and my family’s) life was forever changed.

Homes of Hope

I felt like my heart could explode as I watched my husband and kids participate in the build.

Kids helping with the build

San Pedro Home of Hope

Kids helping out

And I loved how despite language barriers, my children became instant friends with the neighborhood kids.

Benson . John .Silas

Dominican Kids


Dominican Kids

The girls

Since the homes were built so close together, there was a major shortage on space.  We built, painted and played in narrow alleys.

Working in Dominican

The YYAM staff kept us fed and hydrated,

Building a home with our kids

What started on day one with a slab and a group of people…

Getting Ready to Build

…ended on day three as a new home for a family.

YWAM San Pedro House Build

House Build completed

These people stole my heart, and in many ways, reshaped it.  I’m still processing this experience and am forever thankful for the opportunity.

Homes of Hope

They were so joyful and giving despite having so little and knew the meaning of community.  I learned so much observing them as they shared with each other and spent time together.

Dominican People

I am forever grateful for what they gave us.

Building a Home in the Dominican Republic

If you want to know more about YWAM and Homes of Hope, click HERE, and check out this video of our experience:


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  1. What a wonderful example of what can be done to help. Meaningful service trumps a more typical American Christmas for sure!

  2. Let’s do this OFTEN!!! I am ready to make a difference and use my talents for HIS glory. What do you say??…….Let’s start with Habitat šŸ™‚

  3. What a great gift for you and your family and for the family who’s house you built. It makes you feel good doing something good for someone else without expecting anything in return and yet you did get something in return…you got to feel their community spirit and you know that all those generations of people will never forget what you have done for them! True Heroes! xx


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