As we traveled to the church work site from camp, we encountered quite a bit of traffic on the winding, bumpy route. Some of the traffic jams could have been from the Monday morning commute, and some of it could have been from construction, but it took us the better part of an hour to make our way to the job site this morning. It didn’t seem that long because of the laughter and conversations along the way – excitement for the day ahead.
One of the road construction stops we encountered included two young men holding signs warning traffic to “Despacio”, or SLOW. Elisa, our team leader, reminded us when we finally arrived that our theme today should be to slow down and be present as we do work alongside our new Puerto Rican friends. Our goal is, of course, to help restore the Samuel Culpeper church from the water damage left by the hurricane, but the objective is also to make connections and relationships along the way. We know what all work and no play does, don’t we?
So, with the mindset in place to begin our day – remember, go slow and be present – we attacked our jobs so vigorously that we are now at least a day ahead of schedule. That is to say that we each took on our roles, whether it was sledgehammering sheet rock, electrical wiring, or pulling down drop-down ceiling tiles, with passion and determination that may have appeared from the perspective of some of the pigeons in the belfry to be the Tasmanian Devil on too many double shots of espresso.
Yes, we attacked the demo job today like maniacs on parade…but we also did take time to laugh and have fun, to practice our Spanish and listen to the stories the people told us about themselves. We worked with Joey, our trustee navigator who leads the way both to and from our destinations each day, and we visited after the work day as we ate the most delicious Bistec with rice and beans (I tried to convince him he will be an integral part of our dance party on Friday). We worked with David and Jonathan, a father and son duo, one of which is a brand new member of the church, as we broke down walls – some of which were physical, and some of which were cultural. We worked with Pastor Eric and his lovely wife Heidi as they helped cart materials in a wheelbarrow to deposit behind the church. Keishla and Renee, along with Cesar, Richard and few others from the community also pitched in as we worked to clear out debris, and through our hard work together, all the sweat and dirt and heat, we bonded like we had never expected.
Fue un buen dia! It was a good day!
Dios es Bueno cada dia, God is good all the time,