Friday found us waking to our last day of service. We had decided the night before to get going earlier so we could finish as much as possible. Little did we know at 7 am all this day would bring! Morning devotions were led by Christina, Mindy and Susan, and then for the last time we layered our hands together and raised them to God saying in unison “Go Team!”
We were all missing Tony, so the fact that the nine of us were going to work together at Jeannette’s house was comforting. Poor Doug had no idea what was about to hit him! It’s probably a pretty close estimation that he was asked about a thousand questions. We were thankful daily to him and Tony for their patience and quiet leadership.
We all felt the need to get as much done on Jeannette’s house as possible. Thankfully, besides our team, we had the experienced help from our hosts: Pastor Eric, Pastor David, Alfonso, Israel, Sebastian and Choy, along with Evelyn, Marisel and Roseanne, plus even the help of darling Adrian and the two sons of Marisel and Sebastian. Their enthusiasm for painting and serving was truly uplifting. For 10 hours organized chaos ensued! There was painting, cementing, window securing, ceiling hanging, roof sealing and a surprise wooden bench construction by James and Steve for Jeannette’s dog.
With sunset rapidly approaching final screws were being inserted in the new bathroom vanity, the walls of the living room and kitchen had been painted, the ceiling tiles had been inserted and the roof and windows had been secured. Paint on the front door was still wet when Jeannette and her three children, Denny, Cindy and Elliott arrived. The exhaustion that many team members felt was quickly forgotten as we all shared in their gratitude.
Filthy, yet exhilarated we headed to the church for a quick dinner of pizza, the universal food! From there, we washed our hands and headed to Danny and Olga’s house for what we thought was a quick service to wrap up the week. What we experienced was a celebration of two cultures melded together by God. Words really cannot describe what it felt like to sit under the bright stars, with twinkling lights draped above the folding chairs. Pastor Eric played keyboard as a small ensemble performed several songs, the music transcending any language barrier. After a short sermon in which Pastor Eric spoke in both languages, praising God and blessing all the work that was completed, he asked to end the service with testimonials of how God was experienced and seen this past week. Jeanette and one of her sons shared, several church members and 5 of our group spoke. Elisa, James, Christina, Susan and Tino shared with similar words the transformative effect this week had on them. God was seen in the food, the hugs, the smiles and shared laughter, the hands of all working side by side. We were one family toiling together and sharing life together as Jesus taught us to do. As a final act of consolidation, we were taken to Olga’s mother’s house, next door to Danny and hers, so Pastor Steve and Pastor Tino could bless Abuelita Tita, who is 95 and in failing health. Alfonso and Loida joined us as did Evelyn and Choy. Once again, no words to describe all the feelings experienced by this night of fellowship. Our love of Pastor Eric, his beautiful wife, Heidi and their precious daughter, Aurora will forever be engraved on our hearts.