Tag Archives: construction

Being Jesus’ Feet in Guatemala – August 2012

In June, two Timberline families, the Herman’s and the Cherry’s, moved to Guatemala with the desire to work with the less fortunate and make a difference in and around the country.  One of the ways they wanted to do this was to provide a way for American missions teams to have a conduit into the community through local outreach programs. From August 4-9, 2012, they hosted their first “Gringo” mission’s team, a group of 15 from Timberline Church, who came to build a home and relationships with the people in “Cerro Alto” – a small village outside Guatemala City.

Each day the team would travel out into the village where several team members spent three days building a two bedroom home for a single woman, Blanca, and her two daughters. They worked with Justin Herman and a native Guatemalan man to construct the home from the ground up including doors, windows, siding, and a roof which included a fiberglass skylight to help illuminate the house during the day since there is no electricity. The community watched the work with interest and joyfully interacted with the team members.

On their last morning of construction, some of the village women even jumped in and helped by carrying 30 to 40 pound buckets of water on their heads to help mix the concrete that would be used for an outside stove the team built for the family to prepare meals on.  The team also constructed a large elevated chicken coop and supplied the family with 15 baby chicks and feed.  On the third evening, the community gathered for a dedication ceremony, time of prayer, and the emotional moment when the keys were given to Blanca. The team heard multiple people say that the Americans who came were the “feet of Jesus.”

While part of the team worked on Blanca’s home, the rest of the team spent the first half of each day at the school in Cerro Alto playing with and building relationships with the children in the village.  Team members played soccer, basketball, jump rope, kickball, tag and many other fun activities with the children in addition to passing out lots of “dulce” (candy) and of course lots of hugs. They also were able to serve lunch to the children at the school and spent time doing crafts like making bracelets and drawing pictures.

One day, the team gave away over 200 toothbrushes and toothpaste to the school children and others within the village and also instructed them on the importance of dental hygiene. It was a joy over the next several days seeing the entire school out brushing their teeth after lunch concluded and putting into practice what they had been taught.

Each afternoon the team members at the school walked 30 to 45 minutes to join the others at the construction site. On the third day, a man asked if they would come to his house and pray for his wife who had kidney cancer. As the team, still being the feet of Jesus, walked up the trail, the man loudly announced in Spanish that “the Gringos are going to pray for us!” and his children shouted over and over the “Gringo’s are here, the Gringo’s are here”. What followed was a special time of prayer as they ministered to this family and were able to share God’s love and hope in the midst of the incredible challenge they are facing.

On the last day of their trip, the team continued to be the feet of Jesus by helping out at the feeding center Pastor Araceli runs at her church in Guatemala City.  They helped prepare the food and clean the church. After a short message, they distributed the food to the many families that were there. The team also served food to some adult men and a woman outside the feeding center that were struggling with addictions and had shared through an interpreter that they had lost everything and wanted to change their lives. One team member, who knew exactly what they were dealing with, was able to share his personal testimony and clearly demonstrate God’s redemptive power in his own life. While in the city, the team also visited the building Pastor Araceli is renovating for a senior’s home and spent time with the precious children at her orphanage.

Team member Greg Dix shared that one of his personal highlights from the trip was seeing how God had brought together a team from Timberline, both young and old from different walks of life, and used them to demonstrate God’s perfect love to the people of Guatemala. 

After all, what else would Jesus’ feet do?

A Firm Foundation in El Salvador – July 2012

 

What do you call a group of sunburned teenagers with sore muscles and tired eyes? Foundation builders.

On July 21, 2012, a team of 13 teenagers and 4 adults traveled from Timberline Church to El Espino, El Salvador. On the surface, the trip was all about continuing to build a wall at a public primary school. (While a team of youth from Timberline started work on the wall last year, an adult team from Timberline and a team from a church in Missouri had also worked on it.) When complete, the wall would not only diminish gang recruiting in the area, but also serve to keep landslides out of the schoolyard.

But before another section of the wall could go up, a foundation needed to be laid. So, team members dug a trench over six feet deep, almost three feet wide, and nearly 18 feet long. They had to dig that deep because the wall will eventually have 5 feet of block underground and another 15 feet rising into the air. They moved the dirt by hand until they reached beyond the unstable soil to a firm foundation. (Hmm, could that be a real life object lesson about building on the rock and not on shifting sand? Not to mention seeing how much work it takes to build the unseen foundation that keeps what is seen from crumbling!)

As the shovel work continued, others tied metal rebar together with wire and mixed cement by hand within sight of rifle-toting military assigned to protect the team and school. After four days of back-breaking and muscle-straining labor, the concrete foundation was completed and team members participated in the dedication ceremony.

However, another foundation was being built in the form of relationships with the local church, Salem Bible Temple, and their commitment to serve the community through their partnership with ENLACE, a Christian development organization that exists to alleviate spiritual and physical poverty by equipping local churches to transform communities. On Sunday, team members provided church ministry leaders with Sunday School training, game ideas, and three years of materials including Spanish versions of the Children’s Veggie Tales Bible. Five teenagers shared their testimonies during the midweek service and all enjoyed several delicious meals prepared by the ladies of the church.

Beyond the church doors, team members spent time chatting and playing with the neighborhood kids including jumping rope and playing soccer and softball. Even some of the military men assigned to protect the school joined in on the soccer field showing their approval of the church initiated project and ultimately of our team being there to help. On two different days, team members were able to tour parts of the community and go into homes to pray for people. While in homes, they saw gardens, chicken coops, tilapia farms, and a candy-making business that were all the result of ENLACE developed initiatives implemented through Salem Bible Temple’s love of Jesus expressed through love of their community.  

After seven days in El Salvador, this hardworking group of teenagers headed for home with the knowledge they had left behind a firm foundation for future trips to build upon.

More than Mixing Concrete in Haiti – June 2012

 

What’s a construction crew to do when they can’t get stucco to stick? Turn it over to the experts, of course.

On June 27, 2012, a nine-member team from Timberline Church traveled to Dubuisson Haiti with the goal of building relationships and working on the construction of the Looking for Souls Church. But when their stucco efforts held up progress, the team shifted into a much-appreciated support role. While some members hoisted buckets of water up from a well, others sifted cement and shoveled sand. After mixing the concrete on the floor, the team had to work hard to keep the local craftsmen well supplied.

Six days later, the cinderblock walls had been coated on the inside and progress made on the outside. Benches were brought in and festive straw hats were hung as decorations as the approximately 200 member church met to dedicate their new building. The dedication was a very special time for the team. They had the privilege of being a part of the celebration and were also honored by the community. The service included a powerful time in worship as well as a special performance by the children that are sponsored through Mission of Mercy in conjunction with Timberline Church.

When not actively working on the church building, team members spent time interacting with both old and new friends. Team leaders Troy and Kendra Knuppel put their growing fluency in Creole to use and earned smiles from the community. When asked what impacted them the most about the trip, team members responded that even though the language barrier exists, love is the same.

On their third day in Haiti, the team visited families and friends in tent cities and saw where they live. After interacting with individuals around the church building, it was somewhat overwhelming to see the conditions where many of the Haitian people still live over two years after the earthquake. However, Troy Knuppel was encouraged to see that progress had been made since his first trip in November 2011. Looking for Souls Church does a great job of reaching out into the community and team members could see it in the way individuals and families responded to the church leaders.

Thanks to Timberline Church’s efforts, over 170 children have been sponsored through the Mission of Mercy program. If you are interested in sponsoring a child from Dubuisson, please visit www.Lovereaches.org and click on the Sponsor a Child link. Going forward, Timberline Church will be partnering with Looking for Souls Church and Mission of Mercy to assist the community in building a Child Development Center to further the education of the Haiti’s children and young adults.

Over the course of six days in Haiti, it’s clear that the team from Timberline Church accomplished much more than mixing concrete.

Heading to Haiti

Note: Troy and Kendra Knuppel will be leading a team in Haiti to partner with Mission of Mercy. They will be working with a group to build a roof for the church in the community.

As our team is finishing up today preparing for our trip to Dubuisson, Haiti, we look forward with anticipation for what God is going to do. We will be spending time with small children, loving on them, and praying over them. I am sometimes not sure who is the recipient of the prayer, the child that you are praying for and how God will work through them or us as we pray for the child.

To be able to worship with our brothers and sisters in Haiti is an experience that will help you understand the statement, “worship our Lord with all of your heart, soul, and mind.” They do this, and I am excited to be able to worship with them this Sunday at the church where we are looking forward to helping them place a roof on very soon!

Thank you for your continued prayers for our trip and those we will be working with.

-Troy Knuppel