The day for building your walls will come…
Dirt, sand, bricks, cement, wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, and a hoe. Not sure about you, but these words, nor the tools themselves are a part of my daily vocabulary, nor daily life. But in Honduras, they were. It was a different type of day. It was a different type of work. And you know what…. I. loved. it.
It surprised me actually. Physical work? The Lord had prepared me, in a way, with running training. Laboring in the hot sun? Again, the Lord. Most of you know that Ohio has had it’s fill of days in the 90’s. Sweating? Been there, done that. Working with tools, with my hands, alongside others in teamwork? Not my daily life. And, I loved it.
And may I just add, these tools were awesome. We’re talking hand-whittled wood handles. We’re talking brick brigades to move them from one location to another. We’re talking a rock sifter made with chicken wire, a wood frame, and a nail to hold the frame up at an angle. They use every resource available to them, and they waste nothing. For example, the scraps of wood left from the bed frames were painting with watered-down, thinned out, even chunky paint for the kids to have blocks and words to use as a teaching tool! It. was. beautiful.
And with these, we helped in the process of building a house. Strike that, a home, a casa. Not sure about you, but I’ve never done that before. It didn’t require experience, just willingness. With the assistance of monetary donations, willing hands, and some skilled laborers, I watched dirt being moving inside the skeleton of a small, three room, cement block home. Cement block created right there in the community of Casa Hugar. This home is number 45, by the way, and growing. It is built on land that in 2005 was swampy, infested with ants, snakes, barbed wire, completely uninhabitable, but again, no excuses. God gave a vision, and men said yes.
So, here we are. Lots of sun, lots of water, lots of scooping and dumping, scooping and dumping, pounding, leveling (with a long wooden board just the right size), and sifting. Working with the earth, feeling strength in our muscles, and just enjoying one another’s company through silly phrases and songs, all for a family. A family who we were told later by the pastor, would be stepping out of misery into poverty.
As God’s graciousness would have it, we met the family. At our final church service before leaving the next morning, we met Orlin, Wendy, and their precious, very malnourished little girl, also named Wendy. Pastor spoke to our group of their stories. We listened to stories of how hard he would work for his family, laboriously scooping sand from the river, in hopes everyday that someone will want to purchase it for a small price. During the rainy season, all his efforts of a days work would simply be washed away. And again the next day, he would try again. He stood before us with shoulders slumped, speechless, yet with an ever-so-slight glint of hope in his eyes. Wendy’s eyes seemed lifeless to me as she held her baby wrapped in a blanket while she cried small cries of what sounded like achiness. Her small feet could be seen protruding from her covering, bony and small.
And we prayed.
And I cried.
And I chuckled at his Toledo Zoo hat.
And I inwardly begged, “God, meet your children here, right here, in this moment tonight. May they know it is not our loving arms wrapped around them, but yours. Holy Spirit, may your words intercede for them, as words escape me now. May they know that you love them. May they find joy IN you, in this life, YOU as life. Lord, blessed are the poor in spirit, for they have taught me more of you this week than I’ve ever known before. Lord, continue to unsettle me, break my heart with the things that break yours. Bless this home, bless this community, bless this ministry throughout the generations to come. Amen.”
Challenge: When this family comes to mind today, would you say a prayer for them as their home nears its completion and as they transition to the Hugar community where neighbors are helping neighbors? God Bless.