One of the beautiful things about time is this: what was once future becomes the present, and then moves into the past.
Forty-two of us now have the gift of hindsight and reflection as we bask in the glow of accomplishment:
This endeavour was by far our largest and most aggressive yet, and in some of the toughest conditions I have ever encountered.
Putting up 22-foot long walls and roof panels was an all-hands-on-deck event! The first three days, we had a very strong wind that whipped up the sandy dry earth. At the end of those days, we all looked like raccoons, our faces outlined by the red earth—except for where we wore our sunglasses, or smiled (we did a lot of that!).
Despite the challenges, we could not have hoped for a better build team. From the moment we arrived at the airport until our return, our team was marked by servanthood, humour and affection, with no complaining or arguing. I am also particularly proud of the youth team, which rose to the occasion in a very significant way!
When we were not building, our group also headed into impoverished areas to do outreach and give away clothing and food staples. Many team members were touched by what they saw; and some are haunted (in a good way) still by the memory of one camp in particular.
At that camp, I saw a man sitting with his blanket-wrapped baby in front of a 12-by-12-foot room where he, his spouse and three children live. This man had grit! He gets up at 4 a.m. every day and works until sundown, earning a very small salary of about $9 a day. He told me that once he had entered the US illegally because he could not find work—and walked for five days through Arizona, eventually finding his way to Oregon, all to care for his family.
Stories like this create indelible marks on your heart: marks that motivate you to do more and care more; and that enlarge your heart and make you big*.
Whether it was time, energy, prayer or money, all were needed to do this build! I look back on the generosity of all the people who invested in this venture, and I am so thankful.
Until the next build…!
*Definition: What makes you big? from Brady Wilson's book, Love at Work (pg 52) "M. Scott Peck unpacks the concept of human enlargement in his book The Road Less Traveled. Peck writes of the psychological concept called cathexis: 'When we are attracted to, invest in and commit to an object outside ourselves' we actually cathect it. That is, 'we psychologically incorporate a representation of that object into ourselves.' In the process of cathexis, we extend the boundaries of our personhood by stretching out toward the object of our love, 'whose growth we wish to nurture.'
Those of us who are parents have experienced this first-hand. For example, I am not just a man: I am a man with children and grandchildren living inside me. Through cathexis—being attracted to, investing in, and committing to the objects of my love—I have become a bigger person.")
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