Thursday, December 3, 2015
Today we built our last two houses. It was a nice relaxed build, nice hot sunny day, we sat around and ate lunch together with those that had helped us all week feeling a sense of accomplishment and to top it off we played soccer with one of our first friends in El Salvador, Basilio. Definitely a good day😀
This week has been an eye opener for me for sure. Coming into the trip i was not expecting some of the conditions these people live through every day. People told me about how it was but nobody can truly explain how rough they actually have it! For me personally I am the kind of guy that would give someone my things if they needed it more then I do but we were told not to and it took me a while to understand why, it would totally throw them out of whack to get a bunch of nice things or a hand full of pocket change.
For me I really love playing with the kids! Its hard because of the language barrier but it is super cool that we can get past that and have tons of fun! I want to scoop them all up and take them home!
We definitely aren't just here to build houses and I definitely realize that now!
This is my first time on a missions trip and even my first time being south of Tennessee. About a year ago or so pastor Deve mentioned to me about this missions trip that he leads every year down to El Salvador to build houses. Instantly my ears perked up with the mention of building things. I thought, boy we are building houses and they are even made out of sheet metal. This is my forte, I should be going.
As Deve and I met, again and again the missions trip kept coming into conversation and I felt a stronger and stronger need to go. I had no idea what to expect exactly. I figured a team of 8 tradesmen will go down for a week and hammer out as many houses as we can stand. But when we first started having preparation meetings I became very confused. When I looked around the room at the faces of my teammates and got to know them, none of them were tradesmen, some of them didn't even seem comfortable with an impact driver. What kind of team are we assembling if we are going to build houses and half the people can't use an impact? I thought well maybe the houses aren't that hard to put together and we will be okay.
Within the first build day everything came to light. I quickly realized that even though not everyone was a builder we all had very strong gifts and skills to bring to make this team whole. By the end of the first day, we had needed the skills of a mechanic to change a flat on the truck, the skills of a nurse to patch up some cuts, and the compassion of mothers to communicate hope and love to the women of the community. I can plug a thousand screws into any building but I would have never been able to connect to theses families like my teammates can.
I realized that God has given us a beautiful and dynamic tool box full of tools to do his work. It is evident that every person on this team has a role to play, that no one else on the team can do as well. This diversity makes our team so strong; and gives us the ability to spread so much love and hope that it is overwhelming.
This is so much more than just building houses.
Two days ago as we made a brief stop to drop of tools at the community we were to build at the next day I saw a familiar face. Hosea was a young man who's family had received a home last year and who had been a great worker on all the homes built last year. When he saw us his great smile lit up his face. I wondered if he would be helping us build this year but assumed that since he would be farming and his family was not receiving a home that he would likely not be available.
But Yesterday even though not required he was there. We talked a little as we dug the holes but as soon as that was done he found a translator to say to me "I want a impact driver". Again the huge smile lit up his face as he took the tool and rushed to start building scaling the house like a monkey. He continue this pace right to the end even searching for extra work to do before reluctantly giving up the tool. The impact we had on the man last year was clearly evident. I imagine waiting an entire year for dreaming of when you can have the opportunity to use a skill that you believe is God given and that you enjoy.
I hope I see Hosea again today even though we have moved to another community.