Now that we are all back in the U.S., I wanted my last blog post about construction to give you a glimpse into the awesomeness of what was going on last week and hopefully encourage you to participate in our Ecuador activities in the future.
The first kind of building we did is summarized in the video above. It doesn't look like much to you if you weren't there, but digging and pouring 16 piers, 13 columns, about 270 feet of footer, 200 feet of nine foot block wall, and all the form carpentry, re-bar bending/tying, block laying, and stump/dirt moving to make it happen is quite a lot. Especially w/ 16 guys, 5 1/2 days, and only basic hand tools. Anyway, the church went from a bamboo hut to having block walls everywhere except the doorway, complete with even windows and a "fellowship hall" like courtyard during our Ecuador tenure. The pastor and his local help should be able to knock out the rest - pouring the floor and resetting the roof - pretty quick. They had service there this morning and we all wish we could have been there.
The second kind of building we did is summarized in the second picture above - a group shot of most of our construction team, the local construction boss (who is also a church of God pastor/leader), the pastor of the church we were working on, and some of their family members. There was an amazing spirit between the men and locals that came together to accomplish all that we did....a spirit that can only be supernatural and that you really have to experience to comprehend. Only our Lord could bring together so many strong personalities together in such a submissive way to work together and under each other in so much. It reminded me that sometimes we have said "I can do anything for a week" to describe how to approach this trip, but my experience with these men reminded me that "this week" can be every week. If Christ can give me the ability to forgive even before it happens, to be completely submissive and flexible to His plan, and maintain a kingdom focus in harmony with other believers for a week, why can't He do that every week?
The final kind of building I think we did is summarized by the last photo above, and in my opinion, the most important. I didn't take this picture - actually only my arm is pictured in it - but it is representative of how we are trying to life Jesus up in this community. Each day we had a devotional, that always ends in singing. Each day we tried to pray and praise and seek Christ in our physical and spiritual work. Saturday we worked a half day, showing up at 7:45am to get started. With no devotional planned, the floor was opened for people to speak and church basically broke out until about 8:30am as we shared, worshiped, and prayed. Our time Saturday ended in prayer after Nixon, a local that lives in Trinitaria (one of the shanty squatter communities we visited last year) shared with us how God's love had inspired him to try and meet the needs of needy people in his community. This guy supports himself, his wife, and their five children via odd jobs however he can while trying to keep them safe in an almost impossible living situation.....and he is sharing with us (through an interpreter) the burden God has put on his heart to share the gospel with and help the needy. Wow. Wow. Wow. God's love indeed. Above all, Jesus was lifted up this week.
Anyway, we built a church, we built relationships, and we built up our Lord between ourselves and to all who would witness. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be obedient and go to Ecuador this year. I sure hope you will consider joining us in 2013!