day 4 // tearing down

Today we were roused by the crack of dawn alarms of the Baylor students and rumbles of thunder.

One look out the window and it was clear that it would be raining for quite awhile. We got dressed, breakfasted, and packed our stuff in the car nonetheless.

Before leaving the church parking lot, our priest handed out strips of paper with a verse on them, which we were supposed to keep in our thoughts throughout the day. Kind of like a food for thought. They read :

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!

~Proverbs 3:5-7

It’s funny because I can honestly say that lately, there’s been piles of things on my worry-radar, things that are not necessarily in my control, things that I’m not quite clear on… but it’s just one of those things that you just have to sit back with patience and have faith that things will work out in a very specific way, for a specific purpose. Take this week, for example. There were a lot of things that needed to fall in place before this trip, but the way things worked out made me think that, with reflection, work, contemplation, hope, and faith, things will take care of themselves.

It was still raining when we got to the worksite, but we were glad to be relieved of the hot sun. We were on track to finish de-insulating the walls and bring the rest of the wet drywall down. By the end of the afternoon, we bagged up 50 battings of moldy insulation, a hundred some odd pounds of wallboard, ceiling, and ceiling insulation, all to a Disney playlist on Spotify.

[before and after^]

Partway through the workday, the rain slowed, and the woman who owns the house came by for a bit and talked with us. She commended us on our drastic progress and paused with us, telling us more about the hurricane the day of.

“It really puts things into perspective. No one was hurt, no animals were hurt… you’re left with what’s important.” She looked around at her wind-torn backyard and continued “…because at the end of the day, it’s all just stuff.” She then joked “it certainly makes you more conscious and smart about what you buy!”

I couldn’t comprehend it, really. One night, being in your house and then one night it’s all, quite literally, torn to shambles and scattered to the wind. My heart was happy with the fact that we could alleviate just a bit of her stress.

It’s also a bit paradoxical because there are some times, like with her house, that it has to get worse before it can get better. Sure, tearing down walls [both literal and figurative] can be a bit painful, but it’s necessary at times for growth, for renewal, for hope.

By the time we were finished with our work hours, we walked downstairs to find the lower floor cleaned up, the kitchen almost back to normal [minus the obvious lack of ceiling], like we were able to put back if not just a small, piece of every day life.

After spending some more time with the chickens and the donkey, we finished packing up our tools, accompanied by a gradually emerging sun.

A musical drive home later, we got back to the church and moved to prepare dinner, this fabulous pesto chicken, green beans, baked potato, and salad [if you couldn’t tell I really love food so this inclusion of detail is rather necessary].

After dinner, we headed to the common area for some relaxing floor yoga, conducted again by one of the other mission leaders, followed by our nightly Compline. Let me just say that I love the combination of physical relaxation directly followed by spiritual relaxation.

We ended the night with yet another late night stroll on the beach [I honestly could never get enough of those¿¿]. The water was still so warm, and it was great to put our feet in again.

We’ve got another day of work planned for tomorrow, followed by some last sightseeing in the downtown and a visit to the nature reserve. Every day I wake up here it seems, I’m reminded of my blessings, the goodness of this life.


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