What does God’s handiwork look like? Is it as obvious as writing on the wall (Daniel 5:5)? Is it as wondrous as thousands heeding the call to Christ all at once (Acts 2:41)? Could it be as plain as a bag of cement?
As strange as it may sound, bags of cement and other construction materials are the answer to prayer, and confirmation that God has plans for the little rural church in which we serve. This small, out of the way community has already suffered from recent drama. To make matters worse, the church “building” has no walls. The congregation can and does get wet when it happens to rain during the service. Precipitation is common now that we’re in the rainy season.
In spite of the diminutive size of the congregation and meager funds, work has recently begun on extending the floor in order to enlarge the building. Once that’s done the roof will be extended to match the new size of the floor, and walls will be erected to enclose the space. Simple right? There’s nothing you can’t do with enough time and money.
Rather than doing all necessary fundraising prior to starting, we and our fellow workers in Christ who are heading up construction efforts decided to step out in faith, beginning the work with what we had, and continuing as more money came it. More than anything, we’ve been praying for the spiritual growth and wellbeing of the congregation, since the “church” is after all about the people and not a place. But we (my wife especially) have also been praying about keeping the rain and cold off the congregation, and have explained the situation to fellow believers back in the States. Within the past week, the Lord has touched the hearts of some brothers and sisters, and the construction budget has gone from “running on empty” to “step on the gas!”. We are so moved, not only by the generosity of the donors, but also by God’s is affirmation that He has a plan for this community. So praise the Lord for unexpected bags of cement!
To God’s glory, progress continues on our house construction in spite of obstacles like rain and shortages of building materials (Psalm 127:1a). One month ago we laid the first course of masonry and as of today we’re just about ready to top off the doors and windows. We still have another 1.4 meters to go before we can put a roof on this thing, but we’re getting there!
A house for the chickens
For now we have enough of the compressed earth blocks used to build the walls of our house, so we’ve asked our block making team to shift gears and to work on a chicken coop. They’ve done a great job of clearing off a piece of land for the yard, and are working on fencing it in. Soon they’ll start work on the coop itself. We’re looking forward to the chickens having their own space where they can roam and peck, and to being able to sleep in past 5:00 AM in the absence of our rooster alarm clock.
We’d planted a few things around our property more for fun than for anything else, and we recently harvested our first fruits of beans and chayote squash (pataste as it’s known here). It’s almost enough for a meal for one person. But that doesn’t matter; we’re grateful and look forward to planting more in the future, hopefully being able to use our garden to meet most of our nutritional needs. Below is the first harvest of beans and pataste, and our not-quite-ready-to-harvest corn.
So there you have it. Each day that goes by is filled with reminders that God is in charge and that He has a purpose for us. The miraculous is in the mundane all around us.