January 6, 2016

Which muscle is the strongest?

Barrie 2016 HANDS Team:

At the end of the second day of work, some of us are feeling our muscles.  First thing in the morning, Julia amazed us all by carrying a 100lb bag of cement up to the second story; Ed jokingly offered her a 15minute break if she brought it to the top-and before anyone could stop her, Julia had the bag of cement upstairs! 

The work today focused on running electrical wiring, building forms underneath the window sills, and interior painting. 

It was while we were installing the forms that we had a humbling moment.  A form is the walls that contain the wet concrete while is dries and becomes solid.  To make a form, we attach a board to the existing concrete block walls.  The ‘Canadian’ method involved using a fancy cordless drill to predrill holes in the board, predrilling holes in the concrete wall, hammering in plugs, and then finally screwing the board to the concrete wall.  This worked for the times that we tried it… until it didn’t.  The ‘Belizean’ method involved using a hammer and some concrete nails… and it was faster… and it did the job just as well… oops.  Our on-site Belizean contractor, “Nacho”, gracefully helped us as we tried our method, and shared with us the Belizean method for making the forms.

That story highlights several themes that make a HANDS trip so special.  Firstly, the grace of our hosts to let us try our own thing first.  Then they refrained from any laughter, boasting, or expressions of frustration when it did not work.  It is important for us to work as equals or servants to our Belizean siblings in Christ – they know how to work with these supplies, and they know how to build in this climate.  We certainly cannot ‘take over’ the project in any way.

This evening, John teBokkel led devotions and reminded us which muscle is the strongest.  Focussing on James 3, we read that the tongue is the strongest muscle.  The words we speak, even if the topic is not faith-related, can speak volumes about our faith in Christ.  The words of ‘Nacho’ when humbly and gently explaining the Belizean method spoke volumes about his faith.  May our words, may they be about electrical work, mixing concrete, or sharing faith, may they always point towards Christ.

Prayer Requests:

- Praise for God and his vast blessings

- Thankfulness for sunny weather – and shelter from the sunny weather

- Requests for continued health and safety in Belize


Jan 6, 2016 at 11:59 pm

I'm impressed! The HANDS Team knows the difference between cement and concrete . . . cool! :)

I'm also impressed with reading about the experiences. You must be feeling good with the progress and accomplishments . . . great blessings for you!

Jan 7, 2016 at 11:05 am

Thanks for the great updates, Barrie Team!

It sounds like the Lord is really teaching you a lot through your construction experiences. This is a great opportunity for your team to learn more about the Belizean culture and embrace a different way of working.

Pastor Mike
Jan 7, 2016 at 11:05 am

You all have been in my thoughts and prayers this week. Since, I'm not preaching this Sunday, I've been doing a lot of visits, which means a lot of driving around in the car, which means lots of time to think and pray (with my eyes open of course). Blessings for the rest of the week and for a safe return. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Jan 7, 2016 at 11:32 am

Blessings and prayers from Ivy on the amazing work you are doing. May God grant you all 'strong muscles'!

Sarah Smith
Jan 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Thank you for the detailed updates, HANDS team. We love hearing what you're doing and how God is using you all in mighty ways. It's funny for me to see some of my former students all grown up and using their gifts for God's kingdom. You're makin' me proud, girls! :)

Jan 7, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Glad you are all now in the full swing of things. Sounds like a lot of your work is inside so no beating sun. Would have loved to be with you. I remember the great work comradery and the amazing devotion times. Praying for you all.

Oma and Opa
Jan 7, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Hi Juia,

Amazing 100 pounds! Glad you are carrying your weight helping and doing your share. praying for you and the whole team.

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