Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
No bacon. There was no bacon! We all went back to bed. Just kidding. The oatmeal this morning almost made up for the no bacon thing. But really, we are so grateful for these awesome ladies making our breakfast and dinner every morning.
We should have done a team stretch out on the patio to prepare for the workday, but we were in a rush to get going. We wanted to miss the traffic, but most importantly we would have missed the sunrise! And let us tell you, seeing the Haitian sunrise peeking out of the mountain was also worth not having bacon for breakfast.
So it’s been a pretty big tradition on these Operation: Hope mission trips to take selfies with people falling asleep outside of the normal sleep time. Waking up early after a long day toiling in the sun really burdens your body. So it’s no surprise that every trip at least one person falls asleep.
This time it was the greatest one of all! We almost missed the beautiful sunrise because of it. Pastor Gruber (PG) had fallen asleep, complete with neck pillow around the front of his neck, propping up his head. We hit a bump and it caused his head to swing to the left and his body practically on top of poor Pastor Andy next to him.
Didn’t even phase PG. Still asleep. We got a few good rounds of different selfies with him before he finally woke up.
Once we got to the worksite, we assembled into the church where Manya gave the devo of the day. She spoke about how we are all here to work for God and build a school and build lives. But we are also here for a specific reason personally and that God will meet us here. We may not know why we are here today or tomorrow or one week from now. But it is all a part of God’s master plan. We may go through trials and tribulations, but it is a testing of our faith in that master plan.
Then it was go time! We cleared out the benches from the church floor so that those in our group doing the VBS can set up the different stations for the kids’ activities.
The rest of us then set up our assembly line to set up the cinder blocks to start building the school walls. Once we had a few piles set up, we broke out into our smaller teams (yes A Bunch of Old Guys, Team Gil and Team Gravel are back!). Some manned the shovels and strainers at the gravel and sand piles. The rest spread out around the foundation to start laying blocks. In each team there was one “cake-layer,” one “mud-slinger,” and one “cake-mover.”
Everyone found their own part, and we worked together like a well-oiled machine. The walls seemed to just grow out of the ground. God had definitely strengthened us, as we toiled in the hot sun.
On the back wall, a Bunch of Old Guys definitely won the leaderboard at the end of the day. Bob, still the reigning leader of the group was joined by Monte and Manya. They laid blocks like nobody’s business!
But we need to give a shout out to Team Gravel for supplying every team the necessary ingredients for their mud. Without them, there really would be no school walls!
Lunchtime came just in time as we started to falter in our stamina. We are so grateful to have had a real Haitian meal made by scratch by our lovely Zoranje women. Chicken, beans and rice and some veggies really hit the spot. Oh hey, where did those chickens go that we saw this morning?! Too soon?
Energized and regrouped from lunch, we worked for a few more hours building walls. We were determined to finish so that we can get a roof on this thing! A few more assembly lines of block passing intertwined cake-layers, mud-slingers and cake-movers.
Fortunately we have been very blessed with no injuries. Oh wait. Scratch that. Paulo, one of our tallest guys in the group, who starts the block assembly line, lost a leg. Well almost. A block fell and scraped at least 10 layers of skin off his shin. Talk about blood, sweat and tears going in to this project!
The VBS group had a successful showing of kids from the neighborhood. They had a fun day playing soccer, doing relay races, watching a skit, making bracelets and learning about Jesus.
God is so good that other kids in the neighborhood, curious about what was going on, came on in to the church and joined the group. Monica and Lorna even convinced the mother that lives next door to the church to let her kids come over.
The ride back to the guesthouse was filled with laughter tangled in between stories from the day. We were tired and crispier than the chicken we ate at lunch today (oh the Haitian sun burns with such heat!). But we were filled with joy because we know we are working for the glory of the Kingdom.
The rest of the night was easily relaxing, hanging out on the patio, and having dinner together. Early to bed, early to rise! Workday number two awaits. Let’s see how many of us actually get out of bed tomorrow. We heard there was bacon for breakfast…
Please continue to pray for our missions team, Team Haiti and for the people of Zoranje, specifically the children we are ministering to during our VBS. We are so grateful to be here working for our loving Father.