Saturday was our fourth and final day of work at the church. The week went by so quickly. Unlike the previous three days, we waited to pray until we got to the church. We wanted to establish it as holy ground. I know that sounds silly considering the fact that we were working in a church. Yet, when you are working in concrete and drywall, it feels different. I invited everyone to offer up their work as an act of worship.
Andy Scheuermann finished putting in the copper piping needed to hook up the urinal, toilets, sinks and showers. The guys brought the blocks up as high as time would allow. Upstairs the group actually finished painting one of the rooms and finished prepping most of the others.
The work is always more than we can do in the time allowed. Pastors Ramon and Alma would have loved for us to do more but they were so appreciative of what we did do. We gave them a big jump start and we provided the materials for their dreams. This year we worked four mornings and two afternoons. The first two years we came down here we only worked mornings because of the extreme heat. Temps topped 95 - 100 degrees. Last year we came in February and it was a little cooler, only topping 80 degrees. Some of the group decided to go back a couple of afternoons to finish up projects they started in the morning. This year we built that into the schedule.
Some people wanted to work all four afternoons. I discouraged that. For one thing, no matter how many extra hours we worked, we would only be able to accomplish so much. Second, a part of our mission on these trips is to experience the culture of the people we are working with. Spending four days on church property wouldn't allow us to do that. So we build in these opportunities.
This morning we had an extra opportunity as Rick took us to a brand new ministry site in one of the poorest areas of the city. The new church is La Ladrillera. It reaches out to the folks who are brickmakers. You have to see the photos to get a sense of how precious this ministry is. The folks are dirt poor and they live right on the border. It was an eye opening experience.
In the afternoon a group of us went into the city. We had a good time picking up a few souvenirs, trying new food and watching the police in action as they rounded up some "women of the evening." We got back to the cars to find that someone had tried to break into one of the vans. That was a bummer. Fortunately Ramon is a police officer and Rick assured us he would help us with whatever we needed.
At 5:00 p.m. we were back at the church and ready for vacation Bible School. It ewas a beautiful night. It rained a bit during the day and that left the skies looking gorgeous. Amanda captured a few photos that are breath taking. While the kids were in class, sharing three or four Bibles among twenty or more kids in each class, Mark Hopkins came to me with the suggestion that we buy some Bibles for them to use in the Sunday School. Amanda happened to overhear it and chirped in that she and Jake actually had some money that was given to them to buy something for the children. It was like an answer to prayer. We talked to Mercy and we made plans to make sure it happened.
The kids came out of their classes and ran for the craft table. They really had fun. We played a variation of musical chairs during game time. Andy played his guitar an when he stopped, the kids had to freeze. They had a blast. After snack Michelle Chaffee gave away some Barbie Dolls she had brought along and a whole bunch of goodies that Chris Colter had sent along from Mad Science. T turned into a free for all with all of the kids reaching for a prize.
As the kids headed home, we packed up the vans and went back to the seminary. It was a great day and a great end of our work week.