One of our conversations tonight revolved around how to translate what we have experienced this week when we got home. We can share all our stories, explain the sounds, smells and describe the landscape. We are challenged to explain how God has used this trip to impact and change each of our lives. We can't explain the complete joy of what we have experienced. We can't explain how the look on a homeowners face changes your heart when they see their completed house. We can't explain how playing with these kids, showing them how to use tools and watching them climb things we would be afraid to see our kids do at home. We can't fully explain all these things to the depth that they reach into our heart. It's something you really can only know by experience. In talking about this Phil shared Matthew 10:39 - "If you cling to your life you will lose it, but if you give up your life for me you will find it."
At the end of yesterday we had built 7 houses and we wanted to complete all 14 we had planned for. This is a huge ask but we all really wanted to come home saying we had done 14 and so we pressed into trusting God to soften the hard ground and give us strength to get it all done. There were many highs and lows of the day and there were a few times we didn't think it would happen. All three teams had such great days working together, connecting with families and the young Salvadorian men from the Christian community who have been helping us.
Praise God we finished 6 and started the last house and tomorrow morning all three teams will end the house building part of our trip completing this final house.
Again today the homeowners touched our hearts. Several today had cleared such large rocky areas so that there house could be built. One homeowner (a single dad with one son) helped build his house and then followed us to all our other builds for the rest of the day helping out.
Another house was built amidst dogs, chickens & goats and the homeowner was deeply thankful for their home.
Another man spent 5 days clearing his area. Another single mom and her daughter have been waiting 2 years for their home and were so blessed.
It has been such a blessing for us to build for them, to provide a place that is safer and better than what they had. With each homeowner we had the chance to share God's love and pray with them. It has been amazing beyond words.
Today was our leader's birthday and we had ice cream birthday cake. Pablito and his family pulled out an accordion and a guitar and sang for us. Then they played "How Great Thou Art" where they sang one chorus in Spanish and then we sang one in English.
Tomorrow we go back and finish our last house and it will be partly with sad thoughts as we all want to do more! Then in the afternoon we get to hear the testimony of the young men that have been helping us. They have been wonderful and we have had many laughs and conversations even though we can't speak each other's language very well. Thankfully we have also had some great interpreters.
To summarize our hearts right now, here are a few quotes from some of the team...
"We are learning more from the journey than the results we are achieving."
"We had hoped for this be a good trip and it's been a great trip much more than we had imagined."