Tuesday, March 27, 2012


As we began to make plans to build a more substantial building that would both provide Ranulfo a better house and provide the believers a place of worship, a number of problems needed to be considered. One problem was how to get the materials to the site of the proposed building. I personally had doubts about a large delivery truck's ability to even get to Boca del Monte. Ranulfo reminded me that there were other concrete houses there, so it was possible. However, the materials could not be delivered to the construction site, because there was no way to cross the river. That meant that everything would have to be dropped off on the other side of the river, and we would have to bring it across little-by-little.

It was cheaper to make the block ourselves than to buy them pre-fab, so, we bought the sand, gravel, and cement, which we had delivered to the edge of the river on the other side. We had to carry everything across. We carried the sand and gravel in buckets; the bags of cement by hand. We also had to carry water from the river. We mixed it all by hand with pick, hoe and shovel. We poured/packed the mixture into forms and laid the homemade blocks out to dry. Meanwhile, Ranulfo worked his field and dug the footer for the building. He had his older children looking for rocks and bringing the biggest ones they could carry to put in the footer along with the concrete.This was brutal, back-breaking work.

I usually worked with Ranulfo and his 17 year old son 2 or 3 days per week. We would work 4 or 5 hours in the mornings before it became unbearably hot. Ranulfo and his older children would work later in the afternoons when he returned from the fields. After awhile, the believers from the other village began to come over and help, so I kinda faded back and let them do it. I'm a pretty lazy guy, but I didn't back off because of my laziness. I believed that they needed to do it for themselves. Also, at that time, I was preaching and teaching 9 times per week.

Those were the physical issues that we faced as we began to build. However, there were several other philosophical and spiritual issues that had to be addressed. This is where I got some more education from a guy who had never been to school a day in his life. That will require another post (or three), so stay tuned.

BTW, mission work is not just translating, teaching and traveling. It also often involves strenuous physical labor. Pray for the missionaries that you know, and don't begrudge the small financial compensation they get. I promise you, if he is a faithful missionary, he earns his pay.


Even So... said...

Still with 'ya, this is good stuff; looking forward to the next installment...

Craver Vii said...

When I did a short term missions project in the Philippines, we put a concrete basketball court on a church property. The sand and gravel was dumped down at street level, and we made an assembly line to carry it all and mix it on top of that hill. My hands were cut from the wet sand on the handles of our buckets. It was hard, haaard work. But it felt GREAT! I really loved the opportunity to sweat from labor, instead of just from the heat. Many of the people we visited treated us like fancy-schmancy white-gloved hoity-toitees, and I just couldn't stand it!

Now, if we had to carry it over from the other side of a river and then make bricks... (I just feinted.)