Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Answered prayer in Los Ranchos, Honduras.

The following reflection from pastor Ellis Boughton of Yellow Creek Church of the Brethren in Pearl City, Ill., is excerpted from his report on a short-term mission workcamp in 2008 led by Bill Hare, manager of Camp Emmaus in Illinois and Wisconsin District. Hare regularly leads the annual workcamp experience:

"Our mission was to build 14 houses, working with masons who spoke Spanish and no English. This was not the first year that the village of Los Ranchos had construction crews on site to help raise its standard of living. In past years, a water supply storage tank and delivery pipes had been installed, water storage containers were provided, and latrines were constructed.

"During our mission trip, construction teams were formed to work at each site. Everything was run in a very organized and democratic manner. Nothing happened without a vote taken. The owner of each house was required to have enough sand, rock, and gravel ready before construction was allowed to start. Each house was allotted a certain amount of cement and steel, and those materials were moved to the site only just before construction began to prevent theft. Materials were inventoried with precise detail. Even our tools were counted and stored so that they would not disappear.

"One afternoon, three homeowners started to load cement and steel onto the truck without getting approval from the man in charge of materials. The homeowners had loaded nearly 90 bags of cement at over 100 pounds each, when the man in charge stopped them. I had just come over to get a drink of water when an argument started in Spanish. I sat on the ground with my back to the disagreement and prayed.

"The dispute got louder. It became apparent that the homeowner--who was mentally challenged--did not understand that he could not take materials for his house without permission. Soon the men started to unload the cement bags from the truck. Our Honduran construction leader joined in the argument, and it intensified. Even the children began to taunt the mentally challenged homeowner.

"Finally the men began to reload the truck. They had handled the 100-pound bags three times by then, and I thought the argument was over. I turned around to see the homeowner standing by himself, with his fists clenched at his sides. I could see how all alone he was, so I walked over and hugged him.

"It was like hugging a steel column, he was so rigid with anger. I held him for what seemed like forever. After a time, he started to soften and I could feel the anger slowly ebb away. Finally he hugged me back, and smiled and kissed my cheek. He now had someone standing with him and he did not feel alone.

"Ernie, the Honduran construction leader, told me later that what I did was extremely dangerous. The homeowner had threatened bodily harm by way of a machete. Ernie added, however, that what I had done probably saved the project from falling into chaos, as fragile as it was at that stage. I told Ernie that the Holy Spirit indicated to me that the homeowner needed a friend to stand with him. It was answered prayer on the spot.

"And for the rest of the story, that same homeowner was given special help from the rest of the villagers to get rock, sand, and gravel to build his house. When it was finished, he danced inside and exclaimed, ‘I have a house and now I can get married!’"

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline

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