Labor of Love
One of the more frequently asked questions prior to and upon returning from Colombia has been, “so what will/did you do there?” In the setup that the Colombian Christian Mission operates under, our role as a group of “gringos” coming to Colombia was to play a support role to the work of the mission. How’s that for a fancy way of saying, we do manual labor? We stayed at Villia Peniel, the church camp operated by the mission just outside of Villiavincencio. As of this writing there are three cabins, a pool and a supply shed for use by the camp. We helped with two other significant projects to bring a couple more buildings much closer to being able to be used at the camp.
Now, the camp operates just like a Christian camp in the states. It offers summer camp for kids, it serves as a retreat and training ground for adults, they have family days for the church family in general, etc. Obviously, there is a need for more housing, so one of the projects we worked on while there was painting inside and outside of a cabin to be finished and put into service next year. Those were our “light work days.” More on that in a minute. First, let’s talk about the concrete work we did on our first full day in Colombia.
We helped mix and spread concrete for a 25′ X 60′ pad that will serve as the base for an open air meeting pavilion. Praise the Lord that we had a portable concrete mixer, so we didn’t have to do that by hand in wheel barrows! In fact, this is the first project at the camp where a concrete mixer was available and used, thus we got the slab laid in a single day of work! All other slab laid at the camp has a cold joint because only part of the slab was laid one day, with the remaining portion completed on a 2nd day. So, yeah, we made history at Villia Peniel with our “mad concrete” skills. Okay, the Colombians who made up a majority of the crew might have had something to do with that, too.
Concrete work in the Amazon during rainy season is a risky business.
Concrete work in the Amazon during rainy season is a risky business. the non-Christian operator of the concrete mixer expressed his concerns to Dale before we arrived. Dale’s reply was basically that he had prayed to the Lord to take care of the weather so we could pour the concrete as planned, and Dale had the confidence that Jesus would take care of matters. While it rained for several days prior to our arrival, and on the day of our arrival, we had nothing but blue skies on that Friday as we poured that concrete pad. Nothing but blue skies on Saturday as the concrete had more than the 24 hours needed to “cure.” In fact, it didn’t start raining again until Sunday evening! Do you think this concrete mixer operator might be more open to talking about and learning about Jesus now? I do.
We knew that the work we were doing would be a blessing to countless numbers of people over the coming years
Concrete work is physically demanding, back straining work. The Colombians who worked along side us, some Christian, some not, all saw these “rich, affluent, educated, powerful Americans” doing grunt work with smiles on our faces, and laughter in our conversations. They saw the joy of Jesus in us as we served the Kingdom. We knew that the work we were doing would be a blessing to countless numbers of people over the coming years as they meet in this facility to hear God’s Word proclaimed. The Colombians saw that the joy of Jesus can lead people to do the grunt work that most would not normally associate with “rich, affluent, educated, powerful Americans.” God was glorified in multiple ways that day.
It was truly an enriching way to begin our time in Colombia, and it would only get more enriching for this old guy. What a true joy and a true blessing. Yeah, I have numerous posts to follow as I recount the mission trip I was privileged to participate in along with Cody Morse, Emily Hillman, Alex Harrah, and Elliott Blount. Again, I cannot thank adequately those who partnered in prayer and in funding for this trip. You all bless me beyond words.
That being said, there will be more words describing this experience.