This past week we hosted a work team from Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. This is the 4th year that a group from this church has come to serve with VJ Guatemala, and they are a fun group to have in town. They came ready to work, ready to serve, and ready to build relationships with our friends in the community.
This work project provided an interesting challenge as the family was interested in building their house in a way that enables them to build a second floor in the future. So, there was a Guatemalan contractor on the site, in addition to the contractors in our group. It took a bit for our Guatemalan contractor to trust the group, but when he did they developed a really fun working relationship.
While a portion of the team stayed inside the house laying block and mixing mortar, the rest of the team spent the days mixing concrete to fill support beams, running block back to the site. We also did a lot of digging to level out the foundation. El Recuerdo is built on a stretch of land that used to be landfill, but now is covered over. That means hard digging and a lot of “treasure” underneath. It always amazes me how excited people are to come to Guatemala and work really hard.
Somehow, in the midst of the work, teams find a way to make great connections with people in the community. This team was no exception. Different kids would come looking for different team members to play games, get a hug, “help” with the work. My favorite is how, after dumping a load of rocks onto the concrete pile, 3 or 4 kids were ready to jump into the wheelbarrows for a ride back to the pile. Fun for the kids, no real break for the team. But, they did it with a smile.
Throughout the week a few themes arose within the group – One was, “I never thought I would ___.” Fill in the blank with any of the following: mix concrete by hand. learn to use power tools. become a master jump roper. see beauty in such a hard place. feel comfortable someplace so far out of my comfort zone. connect with someone who doesn’t speak my language. have so much fun working hard. That’s what we love about work teams. They come to work, and work hard. But, in the midst of the work, they come to see God and his Kingdom in new and bigger ways. They form new friendships with people from home and with us in Guatemala.