About half way through the day a good friend of mine sent a simple email that said: You should send pictures!!! Not a bad idea – it may make the daily wrap up quicker and faster to write!!!
We all know that some pictures are worth a thousand words. And the picture attached is filled with at least four thousand block. As you know one of our projects is to set a build a Church. Today was an amazing day to see these walls rise up. When complete the floor will be about four feet out of the ground (because of water issues) and the interior walls will be 14 ft tall. As you can see in the picture, we certainly are not blessed with the efficiencies of scaffolding and modern construction equipment (moms and dads fear not – no one expect me has climbed this scaffolding). The locals who are working with us on this project are doing a most amazing job, steady at it in the beating sun. This building will stand strong and tall as a beacon of light and hope to this community and all who pass by (this is on the new main road which literally thousands pass by each and every day. Our hope is that tomorrow we will finish the walls and move the fill material and hopefully on Monday morning get the floor poured and set for future construction projects.
Speaking of floors and walls, both houses have walls and a the ‘rough in’ for lights and a toilet. It also has a cement floor as of 8:30 tonight. Thanks to our house construction crews we should have a roof tomorrow and be ready for paint and a family in the not too distant future.
Our mission team has done an amazing job helping clean up and fix up the community. More importantly they have had a wonderful opportunity to form wonderful friendships on the team and among the locals in the community. Father Andy, Teresa Szary, Tommy Betsa and Jake Bihari and I were processing through the day and planning for tomorrow. As part of the conversation, stories were being told about how lives have been changes – pictures in the minds and hearts that are beyond any camera – that will last forever. God’s grace is amazing. Lives and hearts changed while shoveling tons of gravel, sifting through 25 sq meters of sand, painting endless walls and boards and lifting and placing thousands of block. In each of these small, simple tasks, God is working.
So my good friend John asked for a picture, here is one small photo of the Church we are building. It does not fully capture the height, depth or breathe of the generosity of those who have given or the pounding sun or dripping sweat that has lifted each block from truck to ground and ground to scaffold and scaffold to wall. It does show that we are working together as a mission team to do the work of the Lord, care for those in need and be a beacon of hope to those most in need.
If you have a family member on the team, I am sure they will share with you many wonderful photos but none will fully capture or express the lasting images of this experience, the good they have done, and mostly, the abundant blessings of God.
My night in our community closed with a conversation with some of the local guys who are helping to build the Church. I asked them a simple question in my rugged Spanish: “this Church you are building, when we are done, will you come and bring your family to it and pray to God”” they looked rather shocked because God and Church are not things men do regularly in this culture (and often tragically in ours). In the pause after the question you could see that it was a simple question that stirred great thought which lead to a simple song we sing together: Jesus Christo vives in me (Jesus Christ you live in me) and a wonderful discussion about the important of God in our lives for with God all things are possible.
Amid the construction, the work of the Church is really continuing here as we are forming minds and hearts in the pattern of Jesus Christ. We are bringing hope and light to the poorest of the poor. We are a voice crying out to prepare the way of the Lord (as we celebrate on Sunday the Birth of Saint John the Baptist).
By the way, the team enjoyed some time of refreshment today at one of the local beaches and a great meal at Don Silvio’s Grille. They needed a little break from both the heat of the sun and the intensity of their time amid the poorest of the poor.
God bless your Sunday.