When Pedro Jauregui isn’t ministering from behind the pulpit of his church, you can find him on the streets of Pomona, California, performing a different kind of ministry.
“God showed me love, offered me forgiveness so I can go out there and do the same to other people. I don’t believe I could do my job fully without having God in my heart,” Jauregui explains. “It encourages me to keep going, to see somebody who doesn’t want help and think, that was me.”
In addition to being a pastor, Jauregui works as an outreach coordinator with the United States Veterans Initiative, where he helps house homeless veterans and provide them with necessary services. As a veteran himself, it’s deeply meaningful work for Jaurgui, who spent eight years serving in the United States Marine Corps and four years in the Army. When he left the military in 2010, seeing homeless veterans on the street compelled him to take action.
“One day me and my son were walking down the street and I had just got out of the military and my son kind of pulled me on the arm,” Jauregui recalled. “He said, ‘Hey, can I give that guy a dollar?’ And I said, ‘What guy?’ And he says, ‘The guy who just walked by.’ I turned around and looked to the right and there was a Vietnam veteran there, with his Vietnam veteran hat on. And it broke my heart. I walked by this gentleman who asked me for some change and I never saw him or heard him, but my son did. And then it hit me: how often do we walk by people and not see them and not hear them?”
THE OLD HOUSE. credit: HGTV
In the mission of making sure others are seen, Jauregui and his family have often put their own needs last. While he serves his church and veteran community, his wife Phyllis works with special needs students in school, both while taking care of three children. Meanwhile, their own home was falling apart. A hundred-year-old house, it suffered from electrical, plumbing and bug issues, to name a few.
“The veterans would ask, ‘Man, you probably live in this big beautiful house,’ and I would just smile and say, ‘I live in a wonderful house.’ And I knew there were problems, but it wasn’t about me. It was about the vets and the people,” Jauregui said.
While Jauregui looked out for the people around him, someone else was looking out for him. A coworker nominated him for HGTV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and it was the surprise of a lifetime when the crew showed up outside his door.
THE NEW HOUSE credit: HGTV
“I have a lot. I’m blessed. And then they just wanted to show me that there was one thing that maybe I couldn’t do that they would do for me,” he said. “I felt loved when they showed up.”
The Extreme Makeover crew revamped their home with special spaces for each member of the family. Jauregui says he loves having a big kitchen to cook for his wife, and watching his kids play outside. One of his favorite memories made in their newly renovated home was celebrating Thanksgiving with their whole extended family.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever been able to host a Thanksgiving meal or any holiday meal with all of our families and they fit,” Jauregui said. “We believe that we were blessed with this house not for just us, but for us to be able to welcome people in and continue to do what we do helping people and loving people.”
That’s just the heart of Jauregui: even when receiving the gift of a new home, he’s thinking about how he can share it with others. He says that one of the most meaningful parts of the process was how the team took time to get to know each member of his family and create spaces for them.
“My family knows that when I’m driving down the street, if I see a homeless individual, I’m probably going to pull over, stop and talk to them, even if we’re on our way somewhere, and they support that. They know that in the back of my trunk are clothes and hygiene and snacks that I’m going to end up pulling out and giving to someone while we’re driving down the street, and they support that,” he said. “And that’s what was most important because there’s nothing I can do without them.”
After 12 years in the military and continued service to his community, Jauregui feels like he finally has the American Dream he fought for.
“My American Dream started with the love of my family and the love of God. The house was that one missing piece that we didn’t have and was a worry for me as a father knowing that I can’t do these things that I need to be able to do to take care of my family, to protect my family, to ensure that they’re safe,” Jauregui explained. “I can love my family unconditionally. I can be there for them when they need me, but I could not fix this house. They did the one thing that I couldn’t do, and that’s what’s so important to me.”
You can tune into Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on HGTV Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. If you want to listen to our full interviews with all the Extreme Makeover families, check out AfterBuzz TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Insider podcast, and follow AfterBuzz TV for interviews with the families every week.
About The Author:
Meagan Lynn is a host at AfterBuzz TV and Elon University graduate with a degree in journalism. She loves singing, listening to inspirational podcasts and watching reality TV.
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