Turn on a cable TV reality show about home remodeling, customizing cars or rescuing animals and odds are good there will be an episode that revolves around having to get something done by a deadline.
Miss the deadline and bad things will come to pass. It’s all faux drama, of course, using a corny plot device to, hopefully, keep viewers’ attention focused on the program long enough to impact ratings and advertising sales.
Here in Puebla, Mexico, on Day Two of the 20th annual Friendship mission trip week, there was genuine drama with a real deadline and costly consequences for failing to get a crucial task done within the available time.
That crucial task was moving 40 insulated panels, including 18 that were 40 feet in length and 12 that were 22 feet long, from the street level courtyard of Hananeel Baptist Church to the top of the third floor for subsequently being moved into position to form the roof of the main sanctuary building.
Why the great challenge and impending deadline? The panels were very heavy, quite awkward and difficult for six to eight guys to maneuver manually out of the courtyard and around the corner to a crane.
All 40 panels had to be moved out of the courtyard and then lifted to the top of the third floor, where they had to again be manually positioned by six or seven guys standing on the purlins 10 feet above a concrete floor.
And it all had to be done today. Puebla is in the midst of a construction boom with more than half a dozen tall structures going up and innumerable smaller ones throughout the city.
All of these projects require cranes and other mechanical equipment, which means there is a heavy demand for crane rental scheduling, which isn’t cheap and can not infrequently be unavailable when needed.
That meant all of the panels had to be moved and lifted today. The shorter panels were supposed to be delivered today, too, and they were, but on the bottom of the pile on the truck. There was no telling when panels that didn’t make it to the third floor today would ultimately get there because of the cost and uncertainty of crane availability.
But the Lord worked it out perfectly and all 40 panels were on top of the building by the end of the day. You better believe there were a bunch of worn-out guys this evening after manhandling those steels panels all day!
The Puebla mission isn’t solely construction and several of us spent much of the afternoon in a distant village up in the mountains that surround Puebla.
As a result, several dozen adults and children received basic medical assistance at an impromptu free clinic overseen by FBC’s Carol Palmer, and a soccer clinic for local kids run by FBC Youth Pastor Nevil Johnson.
We also visited a beautiful family that included three teens and a pre-teen, plus a grandmother with some serious health challenges. We had a wonderful hour with them, sharing prayer, spiritual encouragement and scripture with them.
One sees lots of unexpected sights in Puebla and its surrounding suburbs and rural exurbia. Today was no different, as seen in the other photo accompanying this post, the one showing cattle being driven up the main street of the village as we were leaving late in the day.