To honor the memory of our six-year-old son who passed away, we started a ministry that builds houses for the impoverished and homeless in Honduras. How we became involved in this is truly the work of the Lord.
In March 2020, our son, John Luke had an ATV accident. He was a healthy, happy, beautiful boy. My husband, a paramedic, worked on him and got his heart beating, and we were able to med flight him to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. He was put on a ventilator to sustain him, but the doctors prepared us for what was to come. He lived for four days and as I look back, I know the Lord knew I needed that time with John Luke to say goodbye.
My husband was a huge advocate of organ donation and bringing life to others in the midst of our heartbreak. There was a six-year-old boy in Texas that needed a perfect match for a liver. And there were two adults in Birmingham that each needed a kidney. So John Luke was able to help save the lives of three people.
This horrible tragedy made me want to share my faith and to do so in a bold way. I grew up as a Christian but I never had a deep connection with Jesus until that fateful day. That’s when I needed Him, and he was right there for me, just like He had always been. He truly carried me through this awful experience. There were days that were so difficult, and I could feel His presence. God is still good even during those difficulties.
I had begun posting our grief journey on Facebook from the hospital when John Luke’s accident happened in order to keep my friends and family up-to-date on his progress. And I continued to post well after he passed away. It was my way of channeling my grief. Surprisingly, the number of followers just kept growing and at one time exceeded 10,000 followers.
We wanted to honor the memory of our son, but didn’t quite know how to do so. And God answered this in a very unique way.
After John Luke passed away, I had specifically asked God not to let me “see” him in a dream; I didn’t think I could emotionally handle that. And God protected me, but He still got His message through to me in a dream one night.
In the dream, John Luke was in Honduras working with my friend, Kim, someone I had known for years and had become a missionary there. She was telling me what good work he was doing in Honduras, helping to build houses for the homeless and those in need. I never saw John Luke in the dream; I only heard what great things he was accomplishing with the Honduran people. Then, I woke up.
The next day, I went to the mailbox and I had received an anonymous note from someone in Tennessee with a $500 check. That person must have been following my grief journey on Facebook. The note with the check said the money was to go to In The Midst Ministries in Honduras in John Luke’s memory.
It just so happens that my friend Kim’s ministry is called In The Midst. I guess God had spoken to me!
Kim and I talked about what we could do with this money in her ministry. And we decided to build one standardized wooden house for a homeless family, and do so in John Luke’s memory.
These are not fancy houses that are built there. They are a 10’ x 20’ wooden structure that has one room, a window, a floor and a door. These houses can be built in Honduras for a little over $2,000.
So we set out to raise enough money to build one house in John Luke’s honor. Our local paper picked up the story, it gained some momentum, and we raised enough money to build, not one, but eight houses!
Kim called the project the “John Luke Carver Homes of Hope” and we continued to do this.
God has shown His wonderful hands in all this. Money kept pouring in, and we have now built 64 homes! Plus, we have a waiting list of 207 families. It’s so gratifying to build a house for someone in need. These families are homeless, sleeping on the ground or on someone’s porch. Now, they have their own shelter.
People that we’ve built homes for come back and help us build the next home. And churches from the United States come down on mission trips to help. So there are very few labor costs. Two guys from the lumber yard deliver the materials and then stay and help us build the home. We can actually build two homes on the same day since they are just one room wooden structures.
But most importantly, the recipients are told how these homes are temporary, but through our relationship with Christ, we can have an eternal home in heaven, where John Luke lives today. We want to honor the legacy of our beautiful boy, while giving all the praise and glory to our Savior, Jesus Christ. As a result, so many of these 64 families have developed a personal relationship with Christ and are now attending the church in Honduras that Kim helped plant called Las Brisas Church.
We wish John Luke was here with us still, but that is not our reality. So we pour ourselves into trying to help others on this side of heaven.
I don’t know how people going through tough times without Jesus make it. I am so blessed to have the Lord watching over me, crying with me and helping us find a way to continue our son’s legacy.
And to show you how the Lord works, one year and one day after John Luke’s passing, we found out we were pregnant with twin boys.
Gay DahlMarch 17, 2023 at 10:15 am
So beautiful in so many ways! Ty for sharing your story how God can create beauty out of the ashes of our broken hearts! Keep building His kingdom ! 💕