Tuesday, day three, at Hananeel Baptist Church in Puebla, Mexico, is a beautiful, bright, comfortably warm day and the Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) mission team is making good things happen.
Check out, for example, the progress being made in turning that construction staging area seen in Monday’s post into a beautiful, peaceful courtyard that will become a place of serenity and prayer in the midst of the very busy streets of Puebla.
As you can see in the photo below taken this afternoon by my colleague Blair Radney, nearly half of the area to be covered with pavers is now in place and is receiving the final sanding that fills the cracks. Things went a little slowly at first Monday, but now it appears the job will be completed by the time we leave.
A few of our FBC team members have construction backgrounds or careers but, for the most part, we are white collar guys who have also done a lot of manual labor in our lives.
Many of our Hananeel colleagues, however, are actively involved in the construction trades. That’s an important reason why it’s so encouraging to see our two cultures meld together to get good things done.
Also did a lot of cutting and bending rebar for the roof columns on the second floor. Got myself a good start on a sunburn as did colleagues Mark Klimovitz, Thom McKee, Blair Radney and Austin Massey. See the roof photo at the top of this post.
But the most important event of the day was visiting two wonderful Hananeel friends I first met two years ago, Mateo and Maria Anton, when they were new members at Hananeel.
Mateo and Maria are both fighting serious health issues that have prevented them from working. Mateo faces major surgery in a few weeks and his care is almost Maria’s entire focus.
Hananeel has become the Anton’s extended family, just as the new churches formed in Jerusalem in the wake of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection was for the disciples and the thousands of new Christians who began joining following Peter’s remarkable Day of Pentecost sermon.
We shared an intensely emotional time of reunion, fellowship, consoling and encouragement. I shall never forget Mateo’s embrace as we prepared to depart. I was reminded of Acts 20:37. There is nothing so difficult on a mission like this one as visiting friends who are in dire straits and coping with so many needs.
The one missing element was the Anton’s daughter, Gemma, who was unable to join us. Gemma is studying international relations and I have no doubt that she will achieve great things in that field.
Tomorrow, more rebar bending, going to the market up the street from Hananeel and who knows what else.