Our group of Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) men from Maryland in Puebla for the 19th consecutive year on a construction mission always join the Hananeel congregation in their Sunday service and it is invariably a memorable experience.
These folks love to sing, their band members know their stuff and the congregation lets loose. It’s all in Spanish, of course, and I’ve always had trouble picking up the rhythm of the language. Slowly but surely, I think I am getting it.
Regardless, these people sing to the Lord with joy and adoration and they can carry you along.
I love to hear the singing but the best part of Sunday is going around to each Hananeel member and greeting them before the service begins. There are lots of young couples with small kids, elderly couples, singles of all ages and many of the men with whom we will be sweating this week. Their hospitality and warmth is simply amazing.
About midway through the service at Hananeel, Mark Klimovitz, who is associate pastor at Friendship Baptist Church and treasurer of the 52-Week Ministry Foundation behind HillFaith, and I headed over to Prince of Peace Church, about a 20 minutes drive.
I spoke briefly about Ephesian 2:10 and what it teaches all of us about God having a unique purpose for every life, but then Mark delivered a tremendous sermon from Luke 9:51-59. That’s where Jesus lays out the true cost of being one of His disciples.
Just as the Hananeel congregation is incredibly warm and welcoming to us, so are those at Prince of Peace. Hananeel is in a section of Puebla that is anything but affluent, but grinding poverty in the neighborhood surrounding Prince of Peace is simply heart-breaking.
We have two major projects on which to focus, starting tomorrow. As you can see from the photo above, the second story of the sanctuary building needs a roof. We hope to make major progress on it this week.
Then there is the courtyard, which in years past has been the staging area for all of the work. We will be preparing the ground to be covered with pavers that will allow it to be used as a small parking area in the future.
Something else important will resume tomorrow and that is the remarkable communication between us, none of whom are particularly competent Spanish speakers, and the Hananeel men, whose English skills are about as sterling as ours in their language.
Guys who speak the same language and have known each other for years don’t always blend together easily as a team and there are often clashing personalities that require “adjustments.
We get to spend a week each year with the Hananeel men, but in five years I don’t recall a single incident of friction. There is so much hard, physical work to do and guys just seem to know how to make it all fit together.
Gonna be a tough week, but God has blessed me with the opportunity to be here again. More to come tomorrow.
Above photo by Mark Klimovitz at Prince of Peace.