Another beautiful day in paradise, being awaken by the morning call of doves and the croaking of the frogs… and by the way these frogs are larger than any back in Kansas! We loaded the van at 7:15 and headed to the church for our morning devotions. Elisa opened our day with scripture in the beautiful chapel at Samuel Culpeper challenging us to put gratitude first as the day unfolds, to focus on and identify what we are grateful for today. We then headed to our respective houses.

At Sonia’s house, James, Doug, Elisa and Mary along with Israel and Pedro worked in the morning framing the walls so cement could be poured for support. After lunch Christina joined them along with Pastor Eric, Pastor David, Joey and Bina who were all making cement as fast as possible to fill the cinderblock walls. At Jeannette’s house, Tony, Tino, Mindy, Steve and Susan put another sealant coat on the roof and then continued securing with cement nails and screws the flashing under the roof overhang.

This is what are serve trips are all about. Connecting and caring for others.

God had his protective hand on our groups today. At Sonia’s James was hit just above his eye by a small block of wood in an unfortunate encounter with Doug. A bump and scratch and a slight headache and he was back to work! Meanwhile, at Jeannette’s, Mindy and Susan were on two ladders using hammers and arm strength to pull off a ( big) wood board that was attached to the side of the house and had to come off before the flashing could be secured. One big pull and off came the board and back went Mindy! God’s hands and voice ( I’ve got you Mindy! ) were there as she fell and Tino caught her. We love that God was protecting us all today. As team Jeannette continued working on the outside, Choy and  Alphonso repaired the bathroom wall with help from Danny. Pastor Eric and Pastor David helped in the morning before heading to Sonia’s. Working alongside these kind, patient and joyful people is truly inspiring.

James has done his share of sawing, mixing cement, and climbing ladders this week.

Of course, the food must be mentioned and complimented once again. We had yet another Puerto Rican specialty called pastele which is mashed green plantain, with pork and potatoes inside it and boiled. Truly we have all felt genuine hospitality and love  through these gracious women sharing their food with us,  in their  presentation, their coffee and always their hugs. Tony led devotions tonight on faith and what it means to each of us. Mary then surprised us all with a cross made of three nails and tied with wire…all found from our worksites. A truly perfect memento of our trip.

This is Tony, our fearless construction leader extraordinaire. That smile comes from deep in his heart. He is an amazing man that gives selflessly so that others may receive abundantly.