I wish that there were words that could adequately describe the project that we have been working on for the last two weeks- the overwhelming magnitude of the project-the construction, the need, the family, and all the many lives that have been forever changed. I wish you could see and feel and experience what I have, because although my hands are cut and blistered, I will never forget these two weeks or all the ways that I have witnessed God working.
We built a 20’x20′ house on the side of a hill, and we remodeled the current home to be rented out. The new home almost doubles in size. As Javier put it, “Es mas grande, mas mas grande. Vamos a vivir mucho mejor… It is very big, very very big. We are going to live much better.” The house is stree level so that Javier and Pascuel don’t get hurt trying to go in and out of the house going town steep slippery rocks, and there is a ramp leading to the door so that it is wheelchair accessible. Additionally, they will have a full size bathroom inside the house, a bedroom, and kitchen/den, complete with outlets, switches, and countertops that are all wheelchair accessible. Once fully completed, the home will be like nothing that Javier has ever dreamt of. It is and answer to many people’s prayers. Oasis Church and Horizon Church were an answer to Javier’s prayers and to our prayers. Working with these groups has been a privelege, and now, as Horizon leaves, I feel like is is my family that is leaving.
Nevertheless, although we were able to see God’s hand throughout the construction project as we learned flexibility and patience, was the interactions with Javier that brought us to tears. One afternoon two others and I walked into the house to find Javier writing his testimony. I translated what he had written and it moved each of us. Javier has faith beyond my comprehension. Even though he has a severe case of psoriasis that doctors are unable to cure, he has not lost hope and has not lost joy. There has never been a time that I have seen Javier without a smile on his face, and his love for each of us is like none other than that of Christ. Javier finds joy in his art despite his psoriasis,and it is through his love for art that I think many of us were deeply touched.
As part of the stucco process, we have to ‘draw’ on the walls with metal so that the second coat will stick. Knowing his love for art, I asked him if he wanted to draw on the walls as well. The look on his face was priceless. He couldn’t believe that we wanted him to help and that we could make it happen, but when I told him we had a plave prepared for him with people to help him get there, he was eager to get outside. As two of the guys helped carry him outside, he grinned from ear to ear. I have never seen anyone so happy-so truly and genuinely happy. With screwdriver in hand, Javier drew a picture of himself on his crutches, as most of the team stood watching with cameras in hand. I wish my words could even come close to adequately describing the power in this moment. Dennis and I had to return to our work just to keep the tears from rolling down our faces. And when we put on the finished layer, we stuccoed around his art so that it will forever be a visible part of that home.
But it didn’t stop then.
As a number of people involved in the project spoke at the presentation, almost everyone from the group was moved to tears. Javier gave thanks to God and to everyone that helped. He shared about his worries during the project and how he gave them over to God. He talked about the race he ran and the package of surprises that awaited him at the end- full of smiles, hugs, and encouragement. He talked about his Daddy- our Daddy. Then his pastor spoke about how Pascuel, Javier’s father, had recently talked about relying on God for everything. They have no income, but they trust God and He provides for them; He provides for every need. We serve an awesome God.
Ahhhh…. there is so much more to share- so many more ways that I have seen God and He has touched us in the last week- the picture Javier drew me and the blessing he wrote on the back, the friendships that were made, the gifts that were given to Javier and Pascuel and the ways that they will change their lives, the way the team worked together, and the other house that was built on a completely different site- but that would take forever. So I will instead conclude with the overwhelming truth that we serve an awesome God. Our God is an awesome God!