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  • Titus Urban

Titus's Story

Titus had the opportunity to work with DwellingsNow on three separate occasions. In 2017 at the age of 12, in 2020 at 15, and most recently, in May of this year when he traveled back to Roatan at 18 as part of his senior year Capstone Project. We are deeply moved by Titus's reflections, and grateful for his willingness to share how profoundly these experiences have impacted his life.

Beginning in 2011, my church began partnering with an organization named DwellingsNow. In the church’s short history, this would be the biggest service project it had undertaken. The partnership would be more than simply a cash donation. Instead, the church would send teams of people annually to help build homes in Roatan, Honduras. Given that my dad was the head pastor at the time and attended these trips, I was exposed to the idea and nature of projects like this from a young age.  

After my parents had both gone and shown my sister and me pictures of the trip, we were hooked. Although of course my sister and I didn’t fully understand the nature and setting of these projects at the time, I’m glad we were able to go. At the age of 12, my parents conceded that my sister and I were finally old enough to tag along in the year of 2017. This project

would differ from the others, as we would be building a kindergarten for the community of Colonia Smith. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I would return twice more to this same community as a result. Although I was only 12, I was heavily impacted by the experience. It was eye-opening for a young boy from the United States to begin to understand how materially blessed I was. More importantly, it revealed to me how I wanted to help those who weren’t. I don’t think I was able to fully comprehend the impact it had on me as a twelve-year-old, but in retrospect, I attribute the experience as a contributing factor to who I am today.  

Three years later I was blessed to go a second time again alongside my family and

members of my church. This time would be a traditional house build, also in the same community we had built the kindergarten in. This house was being built for Bannesa, the teacher of the kindergarten. Her gratitude towards the kindergarten being built was something inspiring to me. Her willingness to give and serve others despite her current home and economic situation demonstrated the immense character she possessed. As I became older, the more I was able to understand the work we were doing and the people we were doing it for. The trips weren’t just something we did to improve a living situation. The builds acted as new hope for those receiving a brand new house. The mental and spiritual impact was the most important part. And being able to do that for someone who poured out all they had into the benefit of the children she taught was even more fulfilling. A different person then when I had started, I was beginning to grasp what makes these projects so important and meaningful. Having taken place just before the COVID-19 lockdowns in February of 2020, the trip’s timing could not have been better.  

I had honestly not given much thought to my prior two experiences in the following few years. Beginning high school, moving, and covid-19 distracted me from the amazing experience I just had. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I thought about returning to Roatan. One of the final steps in completing this phase of my education was my senior project. As a large, month-long project, a third trip to Roatan presented itself as a fantastic way to close my time in high school at the age of 18. This time, however, I would be embarking on this trip by myself. The goal was to gather pictures and information showing the impact of the previous builds I had been a part of and to put those together in a cumulative presentation, along with helping Lilian and Giovanni in prepping a few future build sites.  

The trip was more impactful then I could have imagined. The experiences I had and the stories I got to hear from others was incredibly eye opening. From Banesa, the kindergarten teacher to Alex, the pastor of the church in Colonia Smith, I became aware of the needs God was meeting through service-oriented projects like DwellingsNow was carrying out. I was also blown away by the people I interacted with while helping Giovanny and his team prepare the build sites. Kids around the age of ten went out of their way to help the crew, though of course there wasn’t any monetary benefit for them. I interpreted this as admiration for what Lilian and Giovanny were doing, along with an instilled sense of servitude. To see kids of that age doing that was inspirational.  

As I grew up, I witnessed the growth of Colonia Smith parallel to my own. In talking with the pastor of the local church in Colonia Smith, he conveyed to me the vision he had for this community. Through their discipleship in God, he knew that they would not have to worry about things of this earth, and that God would help them take care of it. As families in the community walked with Jesus and put their trust in God they also got to witness one of His blessings come in the form of DwellingsNow building houses for several of their families. I’m extremely grateful for the experiences I was able to have in Roatan, Honduras, and I believe it’s just the start of what God will do through me to help those in need around the world. I’m very passionate about what DwellingsNow is doing, and would love to continue working with them as they continue to bless and change lives in Central America. 

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