The morning of Day 1: Email message from Doug Hanson
“Thursday AM update. Yesterday was a good day on the work sites. We began working in our teams (3 teams /3 houses) and over the course of the day got to know each other much better. There’s something about working together toward a shared goal that helps to create a special bond. It’s warm and humid here, as expected, so we are transitioning from winter to summer quickly. Drinking lots of water and some of us were reminded that we need to pace ourselves better. No injuries or heat stroke incidents, so we are thankful for that.”
“Our progress for the day was good on all 3 houses and we are optimistic that we’ll finish them in plenty of time. It was fun for Paul and I to see some of the friends we made here last October including Victor, whose house we built on that trip. We were all warmly welcomed by the Dominican people and feel like we belong here even though we are the only white skinned people around.”
“After dinner last night Pastor Juan joined us and spoke to us (through our interpreter Franklin) about his ministry here and his vision for the San Cristobal area. He has a very strong conviction that God has called him to minister to both the spiritual and physical needs of the people here. This mountainous area of DR is rural and most of the people struggle in a subsistence-type lifestyle picking small amounts of fruit and bringing it to the city to sell. Over the years the plantations that used to employ many have been destroyed by hurricanes and/or become old and less productive. The result is that there is little opportunity for work in the area. The help with housing that our trip and the others organized by Building Without Borders and by World Servants is a big answer to prayer for Pastor Juan. He thanked us all for our participation and for the generosity of our church. He reminded us, too, that it is God’s provision that we bring and that He is the Owner of all we have. Well said Pastor Juan!”
“We learned of another part of his vision for the area, too. He, and a group of men, have begun an effort to clear and replant fruit trees on areas of hillside that are owned by villagers. It is hard and slow work using machetes and basic hand tools. They have a goal of obtaining power tools (chain saws, trimmers and pruners) to use in this work. The ultimate goal is to have both work and sustenance for the people by developing new terraced orchards.”
“Well, breakfast is nearly ready and then we will load into the truck to head out. We appreciate the prayers and support of many back home.”
Day 2: Based on texts from Doug and pictures from some of the crew
The team only made it to day two before their first mishap. Unfortunately, Lisa Mrnak got clunked by a board and ended up needing stitches. She’s fine, but sore.
On the building front, the crews are making good progress. They are almost ready to pour concrete in all three houses.
Each team is having a chance to work with, or at least interact with, some with the future home-owners. They are slowly getting to know them better.
Norma, who was highlighted in our fundraising efforts, is around, but very shy. She always has her four kids with her who enjoy watching the construction. Everyone has grown to love them and all the rest, about 15 kids in all. Some help, some watch. Norma’s two older boys carried a lot of boards and ran tools and materials for the crews.
Doug wanted me to tell you all that they’d appreciate your prayers. “Lisa was very strong throughout her ordeal today but it shook a bunch of us up a bit. Lots of tired bodies here, but spirits are high.”