Mission Housing Ministries Fund
at Community Foundation of Acadiana
"The best $500 I ever spent was
on a young boy named Jairo, or Pablito. Pablito was about 3 when I first
met him. He had the biggest smile despite his totally decayed set of
teeth on the top of his jaw. Pablitoís mother had become ill when he was
an infant, so he was fed sugar water for subsistence. That led to his
teeth rotting. As he got older, he was plagued with pain and there was a
real concern that this decay would prevent his adult teeth from coming
in. A few years later while with Pablito, I inquired with his family as
to the cost to help repair his teeth. The $500 cost was an impossible
goal for them, so the option to repair his mouth wasnít there. Upon
returning from my trip that year, I was able to send the money necessary
to provide Pablito with the dental care he desperately needed. Two
years passed before I was able to see Pablito again. When I saw him, he
ran into my arms with a huge grin. He showed off his teeth and never let
me go as long as I was in his village."
You canít replicate that feeling
any other way, than by giving."
Five years ago Erick and his wife, Ashley, were invited to take part in a mission trip to Comitancillo, Guatemala through Trinity Bible church in Lafayette that connected them with the 501(c)(3) Florida-based charity, Mission Housing Ministries. The trip changed their lives.
Ashley Knezek during reconstruction process
"I developed friendships
and relationships with families and children. The needs of the children
really had a profound impact on me. Their needs are total-clean water,
nutrition, shelter. Despite their need of the basic necessities, they
were filled with joy and love. That joy and love was infectious." Erick Knezek said.
The experience for Erick and Ashley was a seed that continued to grow in their lives. In December of 2013, the Knezeks held a fundraiser in Lafayette called 'Giving to Guatemala' to educate the community about the needs of the families and children in Comitancillo, Guatemala. The event raised over $8,000 to build houses for families and provide scholarships to children.
Prior to the fundraiser, Erick and Ashley established the Mission Housing Ministries Fund with Community Foundation of Acadiana.
"CFA has a due diligence process that brings validity to local fundraising projects. I think that validity makes people more comfortable donating to a local foundation, thereby increasing the comfort level and donations. CFA has also made the process easier and helped us achieve some amazing things in only a matter of weeks." Erick added.
Erick and Ashley Knezek with a family in front of their new home
"We intend to continue helping the families in Comitancillo, Guatemala. It is all about relationships. We have friends there now and we cannot stand to see friends suffer. We can always do more and we can always be more effective.
Small sacrifices here yield huge impacts to entire families there."
Click here for more information on Mission Housing Ministries and their upcoming projects.
Mission Housing Ministries is a 501(c)(3) charity based in Mount Dora, Florida and Comitancillo, Guatemala. The ministry has been active for 25 years by hosting short-term mission teams, training local pastors and community leaders, and compassionately investing to families and children in need.
Erick Knezek is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Truston Technologies, Inc. and also serves as a 2014 Board Member for the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and serves as the Division Chair for Small Business, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.
Knezek graduated from the United States Naval Academy with Honors, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering and also holds a Masters of Engineering in Ocean Engineering from Texas A&M University.
He was also selected as one of Acadiana's "Top 20 Under 40" by the Daily Advertiser and The 705, Young Leaders for a Better Acadiana in 2013 and has also received other recognition in the area.
Erick and Ashley reside in Lafayette and have two children, Amber and Hunter.
Please click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Knezek's Mission Housing Ministries Fund at CFA.