Monday, April 13, 2009

Getting a dream home

HULL-Nicholas and Yolanda Del Angel of Hull never dreamed that they would have a new home.

"I prayed to God about it for a long time," Yolanda said.

God answered her prayers last September when Pastor Rick Walth of Daily Life Ministry in Doon was called upon to help.

Prior to Walth's involvement, Nicholas, 41, Yolanda, 36, and their nine children - Esther, 18, Nick Jr., 17, Andrea, 15, Syria, 12, Andres, 10, Jeno, 7, Preciliano, 6, Esperanza, 4, and Noah, 2 - were living in a two-story home on Fourth Street for seven years. As the Del Angel family grew, the house did not, and they were faced with overcrowding and worsening conditions.

The home only had three bedrooms, and two of them in the upper level of the house could not be used because the stairway was so steep and unstable that it was unsafe to climb. As a result, all 11 family members were sleeping in one bedroom and sharing one bathroom.

"The mornings were very hectic with nine kids all having to share the same bathroom," said Yolanda, who gave birth to the family's 10th child, Moises, on Feb. 11. "They were constantly late for school."

But, all of that changed when she began expressing her family's household problems during counseling sessions and a mentoring program that she had been participating in for the past two years at Atlas in Sioux Center.

Yolanda's mentor arranged a meeting for her with Walsh, and she described her family's living conditions to him.

"She called me originally and asked me if there was some way I could figure out how to redo the stairway and make the upstairs more secure, more stable for them," Walth said. "I came over, and I met the family, and I just fell in love with them. They're such an awesome family."

During early September 2008, Walth began thinking of ways to not only repair the stairway but to build an addition, which involved taking the roof off and increasing the size of the second floor.

"So, that's what we did," Walth said. "We helped them move two houses down so we could gut it. After we got it all out and got it to the point that I wanted it, what's left?There were only three walls left."

Walth and Harlan Van Voorst, a counselor at Atlas who helped Walth gut the house, were at a loss for what to do.

"It was really, really unstable, and we didn't know what the foundation was like. I mean, what were we really saving?" Walth said. "So we just decided to tear the house down and start over."

Three weeks after Walth met the Del Angels, he tore their house down completely.
Since that day in late September, they have been met with nothing be generosity. The Del Angels' new two-story, eight-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home was made possible through about $50,000 worth of donations from various people, businesses and church groups across N'West Iowa.

"Every bit of it has been donations," Walth said. "It's been amazing."

Be it Vander Berg Concrete of Sioux Center, which poured the concrete; the Pizza Ranch Corporate Office in Hull, which matched financial donations it received and arranged for volunteers to install materials it purchased such as exterior sheeting and flooring; Jesse Punt, a Christian carpenter from Pipestone, MN, who helped Walth build the roof; or members of Sheldon United Methodist Church, which provided the largest supply of volunteer workers - it has all been greatly appreciated.

When Walth was preparing to paint the walls white and open the house up for the Del Angels to move into, he received an unexpected call from Jill Schut of Sioux Center, who felt called to decorate the home's interior.

"She spent time with each of the kids, really getting to know what they liked," Walth said.

The result was a baseball-themed bedroom for Andres, Spider-Man memorabilia for Jeno and Preciliano, pink from floor to ceiling in Syria and Esperanza's bedroom, and pink and white
flowers in Andrea's room.

But, Yolanda, Nicholas and their children had no idea what Schut had in store for them because she wanted it to be a surprise. After the kids arrived home on Monday, March 30, Schut had all of the Del Angels gather in their new living room and took them up to see their
specially-decorated bedrooms.

"It was pure joy," Walth said. "Some of the older kids cried, and some of the younger ones started jumping on their beds. It was a really neat thing."

Yolanda and Nicholas couldn't be more pleased with the end result.

"It's different in every way from our old home," Yolanda said.

Not only do each of the Del Angels having their own living space, the older kids now have the privacy that growing teenagers often seek. The entire family also can eat a meal together at the dining room table, instead of being forced to crowd around a small bucket and chair as they were before.

"Our kids might not look appreciative when you see them around town, but when you set them down and talk to them, they'll let their true feelings out," Yolanda said. "They are very thankful. Seeing people volunteer shows them that people care about them. I'm teaching them how to be the same way in return."

And Yolanda speaks from experience.

"I know how it feels to volunteer your time," she said. "It has to really come from your heart."
Yolanda has donated her time to community organizations like Justice for All, Head Start and Mid-Sioux Opportunity.

"I'm happy to help the community," she said. "To get that back was touching."

This article appeared in the April 11, 2009 edition of The N'West Iowa REVIEW.

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