Saturday, March 08, 2008

Lots of Work, Lots of Play

Posted by: Daniel Braga

With a later wake-up time, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the Dominican coastline. After the usual quick breakfast, we headed out for our big day of construction at the Christian school we had ministered with the day previous. The different groups packed drills, routers, toys, scrapers, and plently of other supplies to prepare us for the big job ahead. Once we got to the school after the usual bumpy ride along the coast, we got off the bus and headed right to work. We prayed for God's blessing over the seemingly impossible amount of work that lay ahead of us. The basic game plan was to repair and finish school desks on all three floors in one of the school's main buildings. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

Some of the desks were in absolute disrepair, and some of the remaining laminate that had survived was hard to scrape off and replace. We also had to score and measure out new pieces of laminate, glue the desk it was going to mount on, and route the edges smooth. Our group worked the entire day to get them done, and the desks really turned out well, with some much-needed help from the Dominican seniors. One group tackled the desk laminate replacement, while another group went to install brand new fans, two per classroom. This group had to drill holes to mount each fan, and find outlets to plug them in. Sounds simple, right? Wrong.

The majority of the school buildings are solid concrete, and the team, headed up by Mr. Smith, had difficulty in getting the drill-hammer (deafening!) to get a descent hole. The anchor goes in the hole drilled into the concrete, and the fan can be screwed in from there. This did not even come close to stopping Mr. Smith, who muscled in the holes with after a few tries. The fan team really pulled through all of the difficulty though, and the fans came out a great success!

While the teams worked, some of the guys started a pick-up basketball game on the school's court with some local Dominicans. Mario Labady met a young boy of his own nationality, Haitian, and found out he was a victim of domestic abuse. He later shared that he was sent away from Haiti by his mother, who told him he can come back only when he recieves his full education. Sadly, the boy is forced to be self-supporting at age 15, having virtually no one to help with education and living expenses. Mario, a little rusty with his Creole, remembered enough to communicate with the boy. The boy insisted on shining Mario's shoes just to have someone to talk to! As we left the school, the boy wished to see Mario again, and Mario was able to invite him to church tomorrow!

That, along with all the construction-related aspects of today, really make one realize how God has a presence in all that happens, and works for the good of those who love Him. Sixty desks were laminated and sanded smooth; 24 fans were installed and working by the time we left. Dead tired, we wrapped up the projects and basketball game and piled into the bus, heading for some rest and reflection at a beach resort. We settled into the beach chairs in the sand and watched the waves roll in every shade of blue and green one could imagine. The sunny coast wrapped around into a bay-like area, with a backdrop of tree-covered mountains. The sheer beauty of the Dominican reflects how amazing our Creator really is. After dinner at a local shopping mall, we headed back home for a devotional time in the book of James, continuing to discuss our weaknesses as an individual and group. Tomorrow, we wake up even later :) and head to church, followed by a visitation with orphans that are mentally and physically disabled. Please pray that God gives us strength after this long day, and as some battle minor colds and soreness from the past few days...