Mom and two kids outside

Isxel's Family Story

A Demonstration of God's Love

Isxel moved to the United States from Mexico when she married more than two decades ago. She lived in a house her husband owned, and she didn’t have opportunities to learn English. The house was old and in poor repair, she recalls, and he didn’t try to fix anything. While Isxel did her best, including repairing the back porch and patching holes, she found that plumbing and electrical issues were beyond her capacity. “I prayed with God. I said, ‘Yes, I trust you. I know that you love me, and one day you’ll give me something different,’” she says.

Her husband never added her to the title of the house, so when the marriage ended, Isxel and her two young children found themselves in need of a decent, affordable place to live. A friend from church told her about Pikes Peak Habitat’s homeownership program for “families that really need it. She said, ‘You really need it, Isxel,’” she recalls. The neighborhood where she and her children are living right now “is not good,” she says, “and my children are not safe.”

She researched the program. “Everything [looked] really good, but I prayed, ‘God, give me the direction and what I need to do,’” she says. “When I saw this opportunity, ‘Wow, God, thank you so much!’”

After she began her sweat equity, she met Mariela, a future neighbor and fellow Pikes Peak Habitat homebuyer, who is also from Mexico. (Pikes Peak Habitat requires all future homebuyers to be U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents.) Mariela’s family moved into their two-story, four-bedroom home – the 2023 Apostles Build — in December.

“I felt like, I’m really happy for you!” Isxel says. “When the house is ready, I want to celebrate with you, and you celebrate with me! I prayed to God for her and her house.”

Mom and two children hugging by a lake

On the construction site, she has met other future neighbors, as well as the many volunteers who are helping build her home and others in the community. “I see people that are working and feel like a family. I don’t have family here, just my children; all my family is in Mexico,” she says. “I told friends, I feel like my neighborhood, my church is my family. I feel blessed and really happy.”

The experience of meeting the people who will one day live in the homes she’s helping build is meaningful for Isxel. “It’s a really positive space, a blessing space!” she says. “Really good people are coming with strong positive behavior, a good attitude.”

She is also connecting with other parents in the neighborhood, such as Mariela, who has four sons. “We want to make friends and family with the children,” she says.

Her own children—a 12-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son—are excited about their new home and neighborhood. “I feel so grateful because I hear my children praying in the night: ‘God, please help Mommy,’” she notes. “Because he got the house for us, and we’ll stay in a really good place and have good neighbors.”

While she’s also looking forward to moving into the new home, Isxel says she isn’t ready to let herself be happy yet. “It’s like I’m dreaming right now. You just pinch me because I'm dreaming!”

She compares building her future home to pregnancy with her oldest child. “I waited 10 years for my daughter,” she explains. Although she wanted to rejoice, she felt like she needed to “control my emotions until I saw my daughter in my arms.” She says, “I think our own house is the same. I really feel happy, though I try to control my emotions. But I know when I get it, maybe I’ll want to cry. I’ll be happy, because it is really, really good. I feel really blessed.”

She recalls being in a church service when a pastor asked everyone who needed a house to stand up so he could pray for them. At that point, Isxel wasn’t yet thinking about purchasing a home, but she says, “It’s like God’s spirit told me to stand up.” The pastor told her, “God knows about what you need, and just let me pray for you.” Now that she’s been accepted into Pikes Peak Habitat’s program, she exclaims, “I’m thinking about what is the day when I tell my pastor, ‘Let me tell you what happened in my life!’”

Isxel, who is enrolled in a class to learn English, says her teacher also has been very supportive, praying for her throughout the process and giving her extra time on homework when she’s had paperwork due or sweat equity hours scheduled. “Maybe he’ll come one day to volunteer,” she says. “He told me, ‘When you have your house, please invite me to celebrate with you!’”

Family embracing by lake

Learning English is important to Isxel, both to communicate in daily life and because it’s a foundational step for her career. She began serving as a crossing guard for her children’s school, which led her to volunteer with a special education class. She now works as a paraprofessional in special education, and she hopes to eventually earn a degree and a teaching certificate. Having the stability of a permanent home with an affordable mortgage means she can focus more of her attention on her children and her education.

“I feel really like God loves me. And you are like angels for me!” she says. “It’s really a blessing. This opportunity is really, really good for people that need it. I feel blessed and grateful, so positive. It’s something really good for me and my children!"

Family sitting on a bench

About the Interfaith Build for Unity

In a time of division, uncertainty, and fear, Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity is working together with our community to build homes, unity, and hope. While El Paso County is home to a diversity of political opinions and theological beliefs, one thing we can all agree on is that everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home.

Since 2021, Pikes Peak Habitat has been bringing together congregations, groups, and communities from a variety of faith traditions, spiritual practices, and beliefs to volunteer, side-by-side, to build affordable homes for families in El Paso County. In March of 2022, Pikes Peak Habitat and our valued partners came together to celebrate the completion of the first Interfaith Build for Unity (IBU) home. The second IBU was completed in April 2023, and the third IBU home was dedicated in February 2024. IBU volunteer days are a time of celebrating tolerance, cooperation, and love for one’s neighbor as volunteers come together to help make homeownership possible for a local family.