Hope Lutheran Team from Toledo, Ohio
Dave Clere, our construction leader or "jefe," at the back of Maria’s house. Ground has to be filled in to be brought up to make a floor. Area on left once was a shower.
After ground has been filled in and walls going up
Mark & Dave bending re-bar into triangles
Hope mission team on last day with Gelmarie
(UMVIM teams coordinator and interpreter),
Maria, and Brinda
Beth giving dental supplies to clinic - they were so appreciative, they were down to their last two plastic molds for making teeth
Sports supplies at the school
Listen! Listen God is Calling! John Wagoner, team leader, said, "If you should accept this mission, you will travel to Ahuachapán, El Salvador from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3, 2001. You will experience challenging circumstances but receive great rewards." We accepted the call to build a house in Ahuachapán, and after many weeks of preparation we arrived at the San Jose Hotel, which would be our home for the next 8 days. The hotel was built around a courtyard with trees and flowering plants with clean, well kept rooms having adjoining toilet, shower, and sink. The trip to Ahuachapán showed us mountains, green and flowering plants coffee trees, sugar cane and steam coming from vents in the volcanic mountains.
The next morning, a Saturday, saw us up and off to our site which was in the middle of a subdivision of houses and attached to an existing house - actually a store that doubled as a house for the family that we're building for. The site required a lot of preparation, removing a badly cracked concrete floor and filling a large area to bring it up to grade with the rest of the site. That afternoon a local construction worker came and taught us how to prepare re-bars for the foundation in the manner used for el Salvadorian construction.
Monday we really got rolling on the house. There were still problems getting materials because El Salvador time is not our time, but we were able to mix concrete to lay the foundations and set the corners of the walls. Cement blocks were delivered and we moved lots of them! As we worked with the blocks, we learned that they weren't built to tight tolerances. They might be 1/4 inch or so different in size, some were heavier than others and the sides weren't always straight. But with Dave Clere's expertise, we were able to build nice walls.
We began to have people come to watch us. They didn't understand why we would pay to come and work in El Salvador, why we had women with us and why the women worked along side the men. The women should be home in the kitchen. Their questions gave us a chance to talk with them and explain why we were there and what we were doing.
We learned that we could purchase 30 minutes of radio time for $25.00 and since we had a disc jockey on board, we decided to do so for 3 days. So at 7:30PM, the citizens of Ahuachapán heard "This is 92.5 FM, Mega Hits by Jeffrey John..." One of our translators, gave an overview of why we were in Ahuachapán and what we were doing. On the second night, Jeffrey John was accompanied by other team members and the pastor of the church. The pastor gave a brief summary of the Methodist mission over the radio.
In addition to our construction, some of the team visited a school where they presented school supplies, soccer balls, and baseball equipment. Following the school visit, they gave medical and dental supplies to a local clinic. The next day, team members made a trip to a boy's orphanage and donated soccer galls and other sporting goods.
We had a blessing ceremony at the house to finish up Friday and gave Marie and her daughter, Brinda, the keys. Brinda read a verse, Proverbs 17:17, dedicated to us, and our verse for them was Joshua 24:15. We all made a circle, holding hands with the family and kids from the neighborhood and prayed.
Initially, we had really wanted to get on with building a house in a different place and under different conditions, but God had other plans for us. He decided our project was to learn patience, spend more time with His people and show others His love. In addition, we DID complete the difficult work on the project: foundation, fill, floor, walls, windows, and doors. So in the end, it really worked out - this WAS the right time and the right place. We met many of God's people and changed a neighborhood.
(December 8, 2001)
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