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Dirty Hands, Clean Hearts

Yesterday we were able to take a group of young people from our mission school to a local church that had been burned in January. I can't explain here why the church has waited this long to start restoring their property, but they had their reasons.  About a month a go John and I were there for a church service and felt like the conditions were really demoralizing to the church members.  While in the service both John and I got the idea of bringing an outreach team from the school to help with a clean-up day in which they could work with the young people from the church.  John also encouraged one of the elders to get the funds available to them from the money that was raised by SIM and to start work on the church building.

So yesterday when we went we were pleased to see that in the church building they had pulled down the charred ceiling and had replaced it.  They were preparing the walls for painting.  And they had placed conduits to do the re-wiring.  We spent the day working in one of the houses on the compound.

We removed the rubble that was still in the house. 

This created a lot of dust in the air from the ash and the dust that is just pervasive here.  

The church guys knocked off hunks of plaster in this room that were loose.  They also hauled all of that out of the house.

Mr. K, a staff member who came along, has had a lot of experience in maintenance and building and he was a huge help.  He knocked out all the broken glass in the window frames and tore down the ceiling in one of the rooms (it had been burned out in the other rooms). 


We scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed the walls.  In some places it worked best to just attack the walls with a dry brush.  In other places, a wet rag worked better.  

In the back room that was the darkest, one of the boys discovered something we had not seen before.  He found this wooden cross hanging on the wall.  The heat in this room was so hot that Mr. K said the glass in the windows had melted.  And yet this wooden cross on a string was not burned!  To us it was a sign of hope, a reminder that God is in control even when all looks despairing.

Outside, two of the boys worked on dismantling the roof of an open-sided shelter that had been knocked down.

The house is definitely not move-in-ready at this point, but it sure looks a lot better.  They are one step closer now to being able to do repairs to once again make the house livable.

We were filthy by the end of the day!  But we had a sense of accomplishment and of having done a good thing.  It kind of reminds me of Jesus who taught us that having clean hands (an outward show of spirituality) is nothing if our hearts are dirty (our true spiritual condition).  

A clean(ish) living room!  

 A clean(er) kitchen!


 And a clean terrace!

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