Tonight we had a celebration night at the Open Walls Church compound which was one of our main work focuses all week. The celebration was all of the work teams, the locals and a group from Santo Domingo that is a sponsorship church. There was lots of singing in both English and Spanish. The team felt the Dominicans sang with so much more passion. And it was genuine passion for God not just a performance. There was lots of kids who were so happy to meet us and taught us the art of “finger fencing” which is locking one hand in a hand shake and pointing your index finger. The winner is the one who touches the knee of his opponent. A cultural first! God has met us in amazing ways. We appreciate the opportunity to be here.
Submited by Todd Soltysiak and the Heart Lake team
7:00am: Worship on the deck just outside the dinning canopies. It was a special blessing that all 29 CBOQYouth team members were there and healthy. Personal devotions and prayer partner time followed worship
8:00: A quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, peppers, the usual fruits and toast (just take it for granted that at every meal at least on person also eats peanut butter).
It was quick today so all teams could walk early through the streets greeting the shop owners, children and adults – some of them out sweeping the sidewalks (which the CBOQ Youth DR 2007 team built) to the Open Walls Church to finish the concrete floor for tonight’s worship service celebrations.
Some of the team worked on the third mixer yesterday and today it is back loudly churning out its mix again for an hour and a different part broke. Compulsory water break at 9:45 am with the section we need to finish 1/2 done!!!!!
During the break they fixed the mixer! Yeah! By 11:15 the last wheelbarrows of cement were poured.
Cleanup of all of the equipment was completed and everything loaded in the wheelbarrows again to be walked through the dirt streets accompanied by an ever growing crowd of children calling out “Americanos” as we walked the supplies to the afternoon projects on our way back to the compound for lunch.
Lunch was noodle soup with ham, potatoes, squash and corn along with ham and cheese bun sandwiches and bagged chips.
Siesta was shortened so we could take a tour of the on compound water filtration plant (which purifies 25,000 litres of water per day), the auto mechanic & electrical shops and the community weight training studio all in the technical building (the CBOQ Youth DR 2001 team worked in its first compassion experience).
They also have a sandwich / snack shop for the school kids and community. By 2:45 pm we were on the work site using two mixers pouring more cement for the foundation/ footings of the “Fountain of Prayers Church” right beside two Lighthouse project homes.
3:45pm: Cristian announced we would stop in 1/2 an hour to get back early to shower, have supper and walk back down for the celebration. At 4:46 pm, after a “DR half hour” the cement mixers deafening drone ceased, the cleanup of the equipment started and then the walk back began.
Quick showers. Rushed supper and return for the celebratory worship service at 6:30 pm.
7:00: The service started with a Dominican worship team that would have raised the roof if the church had one. Not to be outdone our own CBOQYouth worship team took over and was just as well received and applauded.
Brian Willison, the youth pastor from Flamborough Baptist Church, delivered a brief translated evangelical message. Our teams then handed out juice and cookies to the 150+ children who were thoroughly enjoying their evening with us. Many adults crowded in as well and a few other mission groups staying in the other camp joined us.
What a privilege it was to finish the project at noon and see it become the Open Walls Community Church in action 7 hours later.
When we returned to the Lighthouse school compound Cristian led us in a debrief of our week of amazing work. He challenged us to take this week home with us and never forget what can be done if we “work in community” in Canada as we have with this team community of 65 Christians amongst the people of Los Alcarrizos.
Submitted by Ron Ferguson