Well, today didn’t start out well for me. I woke up at midnight running a fever, and I had to wake up to put sweats on and sleep under three blankets. I woke up this morning still feeling horrible and skipped breakfast. One of the highlights of this morning was that it was finally clear skies and we were able to see the active volcano. After finally dragging myself out of bed and seeing the volcano, we left for our second day of construction on the house.
We had a bit of a rough start with a piece of wood jamming up the miter saw, which actually became a blessing. I had to use the hand saw to cut the siding for the house, which actually made the process go fast than the miter saw. We flew through siding up the house as I cut the boards and Gary, Shelby, and Jeannie all nailed the boards to the frame. Here’s a Gary Brill joke for y’all: “Gary Brill doesn’t hammer in nails; the nails run away from his hammer.” We all worked hard to finish up the siding of the house before lunchtime.
After lunch, we decided to have a little fun and get to know the children a little better. We asked their moms if we could take them down for popsicles. So we traveled down a massive hill to a shop where we bought popsicles for everyone. The problem was that as we were walking down and while we were in the store more kids began to show up, and the shop ran out of popsicles. So we traveled up the hill to another house that sold them and bought the rest of the group popsicles. It was such a great privilege to see the joy on these kids’ faces and know we were the ones who put them there.
The fun continued after lunch as all the kids wanted to play soccer. While Gary and I continued working on the house, Shelby and Jeannie continued to put smiles on the faces of these sweet little children (who were finally coming out of their shells; sugar rush maybe?). As we were finishing up the inside of the house, Jeannie came and asked if I could square off four pieces of 2×2 so that they could make seats for the kids. Soon I found myself on the ground cutting wood for these seats for the next 30 minutes. My initial reaction was: Jesus, please make them stop! But then I remembered the saying of Jesus:
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” – Mark 10:13-16 ESV
I was able to find the joy in that moment, where we were putting smiles on the faces of these little children. I am super excited to say that we are building a house for a family in need, but it fills my heart with joy to be able to see the joy on these kids’ faces.
We finished the day with the house’s frame and siding completely done, along with the rafters for the roof. We should finish building tomorrow with putting on the roof, staining the wood, and putting in the windows and doors. We will also be building a stove for them. While I’m excited to finish, I am really looking forward to seeing these kids again tomorrow. Mission trips are always ironic in the fact that we come to be a blessing to others, but it is often the people who we’re helping that are the biggest blessings to us. Until tomorrow…
May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you!