“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
This verse sums up everything that happened today. We had every reason to rejoice. Starting with our oatmeal breakfast of champions our amazing house helpers cooked for us. Ending with hanging out on the balcony patio engaging with each other despite being physically and mentally fried from the long, hot workday. And everything else in between…
Same cattle car. Same ride up the mountains. Same beautiful scenery (plus the MOST beautiful sunrise we have seen so far, thanks for that one God!) But this time we had something else in our cattle car with us.
Thanks to a college coach from back home in Connecticut, we furiously pumped up dozens of soccer balls to give out to the local kids and our Haitian workers. Once the balls were pumped, of course we had to play with them. Like popcorn being popped, the balls were flying around the cattle car with us.
Once we got to our jobsite, we immediately got to business. Cinderblock assembly line round 2. As we passed the blocks from person to person in the line, a few of us were counting out loud. The Haitian workers repeated after us. Renu, one of the church-goers, learned pretty quickly and started counting with us in English.
After getting the piles of cinderblock spread out throughout the edges of the concrete slab, we got to work on building the exterior walls.
Team Gravel and The Sand and Water Team dissipated, as their jobs were no longer needed. Their members joined the Block & Mortar United team, which separated into two units. So although we were one big New Life Block & Mortar United team, each unit still competed with the other. It was Team Gil versus Team A Few Old Guys. We think that you can figure out which team took home the trophy…
It was the hottest day of the week, but we busted through it (in between water breaks and sunscreen applications), cementing cinderblocks and building walls. We were happy to take our lunch break, devouring some plates of local flavor. Rice, beans and some spicy meat. Really spicy meat. It may have made us sweat more than the sun.
After lunch we cooled down with some coconut water. Straight from a coconut. How cool is that?! Joseph, the man who gave Pastor Andy the mangoes yesterday, brought over a big rucksack of coconuts. Machete in hand, he chopped away the top so we can drink straight out of the coconut.
Then we broke out some soccer balls from the cattle car and went out into the street. Over a hundred kids flocked to us. It was like Christmas morning. Their smiles were beaming. After distributing them out, a few of us kicked around and juggled with the kids. Even the ones who were too shy to come out eventually joined the circle.
After finally cementing the 800th cinderblock of the day, it was time to start cleaning up. While resting from that (hey even the breakdown of a jobsite is hard work!), we gave a few balls to some of the Haitian workers, including Renu. They started juggling and passing the ball around.
Manya, our soccer girl decided to jump in on the fun. She showed them up, scoring a few goals on them and dominating the monkey in the middle game. We think they were quite surprised that she was better than them.
Before we left the church, we took a few group pictures. We were so amazed at what God had done through us. Without the strength, protection, energy, guidance and favor of God, we would not have been able to do it on our own.
Please continue to pray for us. We are looking forward to our fourth and final workday tomorrow. Although we are even more sore and tired than we were yesterday, our goal is to lay 1,000 more cinderblocks. Our spirits continue to get stronger. Philippians 4:13 will again be our verse of the day!