Amor and Nereida's past truly caught with us both last May when she partnered with the families Amor serves by allocating almost $23,000 toward the purchase of the cement that will be used in building the 60 homes in her district.
Nereida Fuentes Gonzalez was born in Torreon, in the state of Coahuila, which is located in north-eastern Mexico. When she was ten years old, she arrived in Tecate with her mom and two sisters to seek a better life.
“I know Mere very well (Pastor Mere is one of the Pastors in our Ministry Planning Board). One time I sent a needy family to his church and that’s when Amor reached out to show me how I too could help. It’s a blessing when you reconnect with your past. Serving families in this way allows me to give back. It’s a full circle. I know from personal experience how much the gift of a home means to the families and that’s why I believe in supporting this cause.”
For Nereida, Tecate became the “Promised Land.” She sought opportunities that were not available to her previously. However, when they first arrived they didn’t have a home.
One day, young Nereida was returning from school when she saw a group of people claiming a piece of land.
“This is the first time I realized that we were poor. In Torreón at least, we had a proper house. When you have a roof over your head, poverty is not as poignant. My mother had to sell our old house, and what she got wasn’t much. We became homeless in Tecate and were forced to rent a small, crowded room.”
“I told my mother, let’s go. Let’s get our own place. We squatted for a year until we got our papers. My sisters, my mom and I built our house with wood pallets.”
During this time, her eldest sister was the one supporting the family with a job she found in a factory. Her mother was deemed too old to get proper employment.
“Adversity drew us closer. I was teaching Bible school and missionaries reached out to us. That’s when we met Pastor Gabriel who saw our desperate situation and told us he had been working with Amor Ministries who could build us a house.
We knew that, by our own resources, it would have been impossible to build a proper house back then. And so we valued it even more, because the generosity behind it was priceless. We added the finishing touches with everything we could find. “
With a roof over her head, young Nereida was able to focus on getting ahead. She finished high school and got an average job. However, she had bigger dreams, so she saved some money and requested a scholarship to go to college and study Foreign Trade.
“Even though my family had limited resources, we had relatives who were better off. I was able to see beyond my circumstances. Pastors from Calvary Chapel, and missionaries who came to visit my home church also encouraged me. I believe that when children are exposed to the light, they are able to aspire to better things. Their example was vital to my upbringing.”
Nereida’s mother became a community organizer, which exposed Nereida to politics from a young age. In September of 2013 Nereida was elected as State Congresswoman, representing Tecate.
“To those who are moved by the struggle of the poor and do something about it, heaven is theirs.” Baja California State Congresswoman Nereida Fuentes Gonzalez.