Work Team 2001

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  • Work Team 2001

Four men from Illinois and Ohio, representing some of our supporting churches spent most of the month of July helping with our housing additions and the foundation of a two-room school house. Here Bob says goodbye to Old Pastor Moses on our Chageen airstrip. The team of men worked hard physically, but were also able to experience Chadian culture and contribute to the ministry in Chageen through some of their other talents. Bob, the musician, organized the six of us in a choir for the three Sundays. John, the soccer coach, gave pointers to a local soccer team and shared the Gospel with them. 

Back in 1995 when I built our house (right, with the outhouse in the foreground), I calculated that it took me approximately four months to build spread out over an entire year. At the time, it cost my supporters back in the States about $1500 a month to keep me here in Chad, so you could figure that building that house cost about $6000. For the same money, about three capable tradesmen could have come out to Chad and probably finished the work in about a month to a much higher standard than I could, and let me get on with the translation work I came here to do. Such a calculation does not even begin to address the cost of the project to my sanity and health, which was considerable. I resolved back then that never again would I attempt such a project on my own without some help.

So it was that earlier this year Diane and I sent invitations to four men from our four principle home churches to come out and help us build a much needed addition to our house, as well as help out with several other projects in the village, including the construction of a new school house for the public school. In the event, four men heeded our call and came to Chageen for the month of July for what turned out to be a very successful and enriching time for all of us. 

Bob Abel (here taking pointers from Diane on an indigenous guitar) came from Dekalb Wesleyan Church and has known Mark since his high school years. He teaches music in the Sycamore, IL school system and thoroughly enjoyed "jamming" with our Kwong musicians, as well as trying (not so successfully) to make musicians out of the rest of us.  His background of having repaired his flooded basement on several occasions, served as a salesman for an electrical distributor and employee of Lowes, and all-around handyman with a very wide range of knowledge made him a tremendous asset to us all. 

Fred High (here with Old Moses) was a stranger to us before now. He took the place of one of the men who was not able to come on our invitation and represented First Baptist Church in Sycamore. He read about the project in a brochure, and didn't think that he could offer a whole lot since he wasn't a mason, but a professional cement layer. Wouldn't you know it, but Chadian masons did all the masonry and guess who was our main-man in the cement department? He also supervised the goat department (we slaughtered two) and had us all very much impressed with his versatility with his hammer and a marvelous little doohickey called a "margarine trowel." 

Mike Lopez hails from Springfield OH and is a professor of Communication Studies at Cedarville University. Diane lodged with the Lopez family frequently when she was still single, and shared roots with them at Heritage Fellowship Church, though now they represent St. John's Missionary Baptist Church. Mike and his wife Shelly have been restoring a Victorian townhouse for many years which, besides training him with a wide range of skills, has imbued him with the patience for tedium which is pretty much the lot of anyone restoring a Victorian wreck. And so it was, that when he wasn't helping out in a myriad of other ways, Mike cleaned cement off of bricks - thousands of them - one brick at a time, and left us with some of the best-looking construction in Chad (right, though in fairness to Mike this is a "before" shot). 

John McGillivray and wife Bonnie are old friends of Diane, as well as Mike's colleague at Cedarville in the Phys Ed department. He works in a machine shop during his summer months, and goes through life by thousandths of an inch, a habit which came in handy when we set him and Mike to work trying to make geometric sense out the the windows a certain Chadian welder had screwed up for us. His background as a soccer coach opened some unique opportunities with the young fellows in the village (right, with Mark translating). 

We had quite a number of projects going all at once. We built a storeroom, guest room, water tower, and outhouse.


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Last modified: May 25, 2011