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The Key to Happiness

May 07, 20246 min read

We finally moved into our house in Solferino on Friday! The house isn't quite finished so there is construction dust and open areas to the outdoors, but we are just so happy to be here. I'll share some videos soon.

Seeing our kids SO happy and laughing as we worked together to move and get things ready, made me ponder what creates happiness.

I have come to understand that it really just comes down to gratitude.

For example, we don't yet have hot water, but we now have awesome showerheads with water pressure! We LOVE our new showers and are so happy to use them.

We haven't had a stove or oven in so long and everyone was so excited to cook and bake! Even me (which is saying a lot!)

Yet, several months ago, I wouldn't have been very happy about having cold showers, regardless of the water pressure, and neither would the kids...yet, here we are. And we are SUPER happy. 

The difference? 


Our experiences here have increased our gratitude.

Well-meaning people have expressed concern for our kids in leaving their comforts, classes and friends to come out and create this place for those in need. 

It seemed as if we are sacrificing our own children's well-being for the well-being of other children.

But we had a different idea about their education and what they needed. Seeing their genuine joy and unity in working together yesterday was more evidence that this has been a very good experience for them so far. I also have loved watching them learn Spanish to begin communicating with new people.

We're learning to trust more in this promise:

"He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:39

Antony's Incredible Redemption Story

Can you imagine being a drug addict at the age of twelve? One of the young men who was working on our house when we first got here was named Antony*.

I was impressed with his kind smile and politeness towards us as he worked in the hot sun.

I asked about him and learned from a friend that he was 18 and that he was a refugee from a country in South America.

I later learned that this country is a difficult place to survive in right now. In desperation, his father got involved in illegal activity and was killed right before Antony was born.

Because of all this, Antony lived in a difficult environment, was abused and exposed to things no one should have to live through. To cope, he turned to drugs.

Through it all, he fought hard to protect his mother and to keep her safe.

He remembers his mother telling him he was meant for a better life than the one he was living.

About two years ago, he began searching for God, wondering if there was a purpose in His life and if his mother had been right.

He ended up in our little town after coming out to a youth retreat the Discover the Bible community put on. He decided to stay and start a new life.

If you ask him why he is so happy, he will tell you it is because God keeps blessing him so much.

He heart is brimming with gratitude.

*Name has been changed

His Impact

We love having him over. He makes each person in the family feel important and heard.

I love his example for my boys as he always offers his seat to the ladies in the room, washes all the dishes when he eats over, finds anything he can do to help, and loves to share scriptures and songs that bless his life.

Antony is an excellent listener. He loves to hear people, ask them questions, and help them find answers. He is also humble and always seeking to learn more. He makes very insightful connections.

He dreams of studying youth counseling someday because he wants to help boys who are in a situation like the one he used to live.

But because of his refugee status, his lack of diploma, and his lack of resources, it doesn’t seem possible. 

The other day as we were talking about this, I told him about the Pathways Program. He became very excited about the opportunity of getting get an education. He immediately started trying to find ways to make it possible.

But it's not so easy for him, he currently works 60 hours at two jobs each week to pay rent, eat, and save a little for the future. He doesn't have much time for classes nor the finances to pay for them.

I tried to think of ways that I could help him, but I also don't have the finances to pay him for work right now (so he could work less hours) or to pay for his school. So I am asking for sponsors... young men like him are why we are here, and with your help, he could bless many lives with his love, gifts, and experiences

How it Will Work

.In order to do Pathways, he will need to go through the English Connect Program. He understand English relatively well, so he will move through it quickly. In Mexico, the Pathways program costs $23 per credit hour.

If we can find him a sponsor, we would ask him to do a number of volunteer hours of work here so he can continue to value the sacrifice being made for him by also contributing. How many hours he volunteers would depend on how many classes he takes. 

To pay for tuition and rent, he would keep one of his jobs and would need an additional $200 per month. We know that not many people have that much to spare, but if we can find seven people to contribute $30 per month, he could get the needed education that will allow him to help other youth who also come from difficult circumstances.

He would be honored to write you letters to share his progress.

If this is something you think you could help with, will you please hit the donate button below, choose an amount, and then choose the monthly donation? You can write "Antony" in the comments. This would mean the world to him.

Help Antony


This is coming up on Saturday! Please tell your friends who live in Utah. It will be a super fun date night that will also improve your relationship. AND you will be helping us here in the process.

And Thank You!

We have only been here for six months, but have already had 4 amazing families come to help, 2 more groups coming in May, and will have 6 interns in the summer! Your desire to help this very grassroots effort to make the world a little better is inspiring to us. We love you and love your hearts!

With love,

Karen Bates

P.S. If you want to come visit and help out this summer, service trip dates are listed on the website:


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