Beautiful Day to Build a House

The team is ready

I tell every team the same thing…prepare to be cold, but layer your clothes.  I know people don’t believe me.  You just have to experience it.  We’ve actually been blessed with amazing weather.  The winds yesterday were crazy.  I was a little concerned they wouldn’t calm down for the build today.  You can’t have high winds handling the sheet metal.  I prayed for calm winds.  God was so kind to us. We woke up to an amazing day. This team of men has been so wonderful to work with.  Everyone gets along so well, and we enjoy each other’s company.  While Bill did not feel the best today, he powered through like a champ.  We gathered all of the tools and headed to the worksite.  It was pretty close to the hotel, so that made it easy.  When we got there, the family was waiting.  You could tell they were excited.

Foundation was ready

It’s no secret I don’t enjoy pouring the foundation for the house.  When we first came to Guatemala in 2009, we poured the foundation.  It’s hard work.  Ben was telling us that a man came to Guatemala to do a work efficiency test.  They don’t use any mixing equipment.  They build a big “volcano” or “mountain” of rock, sand and cement.  They mix it all by hand with shovels.  They did a head to head test using equipment vs. by hand.  They were more efficient doing it by hand.  As I get older, I’m trying to protect myself and the men who come with us.  I told Ben many years ago that I would rather pay local men to do the work.  It’s a financial gain for them, and physical relief for us.  Ben has always honored that request.  Yesterday, Danny and David (Juanito’s son) came to the worksite and poured the foundation.  Thank you to everyone who helped.  I truly appreciate it.  So does my back! 🙂

No experience necessary

One thing I love the most is that you don’t need any real building skills to come work on our team.  Ben and the entire Bethel team make it as easy as possible.  They literally tell you exactly what to do.  I know it can be frustrating at times for them.  The number of times I drop a screw or how long it takes someone like me to do easy tasks.  But, Ben takes it all in stride.  He never pushes and always has a smile. David has been such a hard worker.  If anyone ever wonders, he can handle a metal cutter and drill like a pro.  He is so easy going, and brings a lot of laughter and joy to the team.  He was fascinated with the avocado tree on the property.  I hear it’s a “superfood”.  I love working alongside him.  I’ve been asking him for 13-years.  I’m so thankful he said yes.  I really hope he will come back in the future.

Tortillas for everyone

I smelled something delicious cooking.  I made my way into their old kitchen.  The smoke was pretty thick.  The picture below doesn’t do it justice.  I took this photo and got out of there.  I was coughing so much.  It did not effect Angelina at all.  She was faithfully and patiently making delicious tortillas.  I’ve always loved homemade tortillas.  Many years ago, a friend named Juana came from Guatemala to Louisville to have an eye procedure done.  We would have her come over to hang out with us as a family.  I was trying to find things to do.  What better thing to do than make tortillas?  I bought the supplies and I worked side-by-side with Juana.  The only problem was, Juana didn’t enjoy making tortillas.  It became a little bit of a joke among all of us.  I think Juana will forever associate me with tortillas.  Angelina obviously enjoys making tortillas.  We had some when we ate lunch.  I really appreciated her working hard for our team.

Having fun along the way

Garry has been a pleasure to be around.  His Southern charm disarms everyone we work with.  He genuinely loves people and has the wonderful skill of living in the moment and having fun along the way.  He took time out to play with the kids.  He also took time later to talk with Angelina.  More on that later.  As I mentioned, Bill was not feeling well with a sinus problem.  He did an amazing job hanging out with the kids and giving them toys.  He spent time building airplanes for them as well.  I’m always amazed at how tough the kids feet are.  They run around without shoes.  I never see them flinch in pain.

Dedication time

The moment we and the family have been looking forward to is the house dedication.  Once everything is put together and the house is painted by Ben, we bring the family inside.  I really want to thank Bill and Maureen.  Bill opened his bags and brought the most amazing amount of items.  We made up the beds, hung balloons and got all their items ready.  Ben spent time telling Angelina that the house was a gift from God, not the team.  Just like so many other women, Angelina’s life is hard.  She sacrifices for her children, tries to provide though she has no money.  Ben really tried to encourage her and the children.

An opportunity for change

When we arrived, Ben asked Angelina about the man who was there helping.  He appeared to be her husband.  She said, “No, he’s my brother!”  It was obvious Gilberto was her husband and the kid’s dad.  Gilberto has not been the best husband.  He often times has gone away for long periods of time, and when he does come home he’s physically abusive.  Juanito really spoke into his life and circumstances.  He reminded him that God loves him, and that the path he is on is not healthy for him or his children.  I reminded him that God is watching, and so are his children.  He is supposed to be a good example and love his wife well.  Gilberto seemed to understand.  He is a very hard worker.  But, the tears were coming down Angelina’s face.  Gilberto is receiving another opportunity to love his family well, stop drinking and be the dad, husband and man God intended him to be. We don’t always get second chances in life.  There is real hurt and pain for Angelina.  I pray he changes, and she can forgive.

A servant’s heart

As we were leaving, Garry asked Ben to translate one more thing.  He looked directly at Angelina and thanked her for allowing him to come be a part of the house build and to serve her.  It was obvious that Garry was touched by today.  The family really impacted his heart, which in turn impacts ours as well.  I really like Garry a lot.  I’m praying he will want to return as well.

What tomorrow brings

Tomorrow should be a much more relaxed and less physically demanding day.  We’ll have our devotion, install stoves and visit homes.  We hope all of you are doing well at home.  We love you and look forward to being with you again soon.

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