Well, this is the way that the men are building the house. (If you missed yesterday’s post, with pictures of the construction process, please click here) The only help the men have allowed me to give is cooking for them and cleaning up after them. And I did offer to actually participate at the building site. Between the work ethic instilled by my parents and a few church work/mission trips, I was ready and willing to try to help, and even felt a bit sad about not joining in the fun. But in Brazilian culture, ladies don’t help out as much with things like this, and my house-building skills (and muscles) are rather limited anyway, so it’s probably all for the best. Sadly, I didn’t think to ask Juliana to take pictures of me busy and hard at work in her kitchen to feed this crew. So please imagine the large quantities of rice, beans, meat, salads, bread, cookies, brownies, cake, and granola, which have been made and eaten in the last week and a half.
That’s right, less than 2 weeks so far! It has been amazing to see how quickly and suddenly God has opened doors for the construction of my little house. (Note on size, since many have asked about this: It is 5 by 8 (meters), which is about 16.5 by 26 feet).
First, through the generous giving of churches last October through January, reliable monthly financial supporters, and surprise one-time donations last month, God has provided money to buy everything necessary until this point, without having to wait for more funds to proceed. If you are one of the people who contributed in this way, or prayed for God to provide my needs, thank you for your generosity and participation in building my little house in the jungle!
Second, God provided a great team to do the work!
- Don, Juliana’s dad
- Ouripio, a missionary who is responsible for maintenance of mission base in Ji-Pa.
- Dario, a missionary on staff at the training institute who was one of my professors.
- I_, one of the Neno men, who despite his daily responsibilities of hunting and planting crops this past week, has put in many hours of hard work on the house.
A few other Neno men helped on River Crossing Day, bringing all the construction materials across the river by canoe, and up to the village. Borrowing the truck pictured below, which just happened to be available at the right time, made this process much faster and easier. That was great planning on God’s part! We sure appreciated the generosity of the truck owner in offering to let us use it.
Juliana, the girls and I are now back in the city, since Sunday night. She has had her new hearing aids for a month, which is the time when they must be re-adjusted. Since I couldn’t stay at Wellington and Juliana’s house with just the men, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking any of the Neno families to let me impose on them for five days, I came along. This was also good planning on God’s part, because He knew that one detail of the visa process, which I thought was all set, needed some further and immediate attention. After a few hours of work on that issue, it is now resolved, and the paperwork is on its way for me to apply for a permanent visa in November.
The current plan is to head back to the village on Friday, with Juliana’s parents in their car. Don wants to help out for a couple more days, before bringing Dario back to the city to catch his bus to join his wife and little girl in southern Brasil for the next part of their furlough. After the whole family visited us for a few days in the village, they changed some of their plans so Dario, who used to work in construction, could help build my house. What a gift! I am so grateful and humbled by the sacrifice they made, Dario by putting in two weeks of hard labor, and the whole family by spending that time apart. It is so amazing to have friends and family in Christ, who choose to serve the Lord by serving me, and making it possible for me to have a home and ministry in the Neno village. As as a sidenote, Dario is living proof that furlough does not mean vacation!
After the team finishes with the walls, rafters, doors, windows, and ceramic tile flooring, they will work on the plumbing if time allows. (The septic tank was halfway dug already when I left the village). Afterwards, the Neno will make a thatch roof for the house, which could take a day or a week or a month, depending on how many people get involved and what other activities are going on in the village. Electricity will be installed at some future date, but since the village generator normally only runs for 2-3 hours each day, lack of electricity isn’t a big deal. I am sure Juliana will let me charge my laptop, camera battery, and flashlight at her house as long as necessary.
On Friday, I plan to take all the ingredients to make pizza for the team, and a cooler with plenty of ice, a big bottle of Coca-Cola, and a tub of ice cream. They deserve way more than that, however, so please pray that God will bless them all abundantly for their willing hearts and hands. I’m so excited to see the finished house, move into it, and share more pictures with you on our next trip to the city!