Last night I went to bed at 11:15 central time, the earliest I’ve been to bed since we’ve been here. I woke up with a renewed sense of vigor, thanking God for everything he’s been doing. From the chains he’s broken, to the changes he’s making in people’s hearts, God is doing a mighty work.
For breakfast, we had a Grade A smorgasbord: franks and beans, fried breadfruit, ackee and salt fish, bread, mangoes, fried plantain, and grapefruit. I loved the breadfruit fried. It’s sweetness was enhanced and there was an added smokiness. The texture mirrored that of the dumplings, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The franks and beans tasted sweeter and more savory this morning. When paired with the softness of the bread and the sweet, semi-crunchiness of the plantains, it was amazing. Once again I used the bread to sop up those glorious juices. That plate was so clean it could go right back into the cupboard. Mother Cooper and Sister Betty outdid themselves.
Today the guys and girls had different game plans. The girls would rest and pamper themselves while the guys would go to Shawpark Heights Church for some manual labor. I was pretty excited. I wanted to help that church. Since we were going to work with concrete blocks, I figured my flip flops wouldn’t cut it, so I wore my brown dress-casual shoes. I knew I should’ve heeded the voice that said “Bring your Chuck Taylor’s.” I’ll remember for next time.
Being at the church and taking in the sight was pretty cool. I got to to see how they make the walls with the rebarb, cement, and blocks. I have alot more respect for construction workers, and the fact that the whole thing was done by hand was unbelievable.
X, Miguel, and I went to the top of the steep hill. We had to sift sand and dirt out of a huge mound into a wheelbarrow and bring it down to the church. It required three trips and getting the wheelbarrow down the hill was no joke with all those rocks. X stumble at several points pushing the wheelbarrow, but that brother is a beast. He does this kind of work regularly.
The dirt was mixed with cement using a shovel.
We had to go back up the hill to get plastic containers of water to mix in with the sand and cement. Man, this was some hard work! I’m going to step up my game with my workout when I get back home. I want to be top notch when I come back. Some of the young boys that came to VBS helped out and they were doing better me.
Soon it was my turn to bring the wheelbarrow up and down the hill. I knew if I went slow and steady, I’d be successful. And I was! Miguel and X mixed the dirt with cement, rocks, and water. It was brought to the workers to build up the wall.
After a while, more dirt and rocks were needed. Even though Cody was assisting me, making trips up and down the hill was tiring. It was the hardest physical work I’ve ever done in my life. I knew that all this labor was for the ministry, so I pushed past how I felt and stayed focused on my assignment. Eventually, I did have to let one of the guys take over with the wheelbarrow so I could get hydrated. Some water and a juice bag replenished my strength.
Next we had to bring down twenty foot rebarb from the top of the hill. Everyone was working so hard and wall was coming along nicely.
As the day went on, we had more help from the neighborhood. One of the young girls complimented that I looked young and fresh for my age. Holla!
We had a mini meal of stewed chicken, red beans and rice, and vegetables. It was delicious and flavorful, but I didn’t eat all of it. I wanted to save room for dinner. The rest would go the puppies that are running around Colegate.
Norda joined us for dinner again. We had red beans and rice, oxtail and dumplings, vegetables, and yellow yams. Oh, baby, yes! The oxtail was falling off the bones and it was so tender, juicy and succulent. The savory gravy and chewy dumplings made it homey and reminded me of my mom’s cooking. It was comfort food at its best. The sour sap was wonderful, too. I could feel it calming me down.
After a much needed shower, I felt great. X, Marissa, Cody, Rachel, Norda, and myself took a taxi to town. We went to the store to pick up a few things. I got some water, peaches, snacks, and satisfied my muffin fix. We ran into Cassandra, who had just gotten off of work. We went for a walk around downtown and saw the sights. It was pretty fun.
Tonight Pastor Don preached on the process. It was unbelievable considering I’ve been thinking and reading about it over the past few days. It’s something I’m never tired of hearing. God wants for us to be better. He wants us to be stronger and that means we must go through the process. We must deal with the pain that we are in and face our issues with God’s help. The benefit is that our faith grows, and just like it says in James 1:2-7, faith must have its perfect work because at the end of things, God wants us to be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. We may not understand the process, but we must understand the God of the process.
The ministry time was powerful as always. It was awesome to see people get touched by the Holy Spirit and become empowered to endure the process. I’m thankful for all those that left changed and renewed.
After the service we had a special goodbye from Colegate including gifts, singing, and celebration. Not only that, everyone from Shawpark Heights and Word of Life came to celebrate with us. It was wonderful seeing everyone again.
The whole crew hung out afterwards with Norda, Cassandra, Clarke, and Miguel. X made pancakes. They were light and fluffy, like a cloud and had a light crispiness around the edges. The syrup made them sweet and delectable and they reminded me of home.