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Yesterday was a big work day. The cement mixer was working constantly. Today on the work site, the group had to finish laying the rebar on the second step of the platform as well as on one long side patch of the church sanctuary. Once the rebar was put into place, the cross sections of the rebar had to be secured with wire. The team used big pliers to tie each wire by hand. Once the rebar was secure, the cement had to be poured. Again, this process takes hours. The sand is in one big pile, the rocks are in another big pile and the cement bags are off to the side. We have buckets that are filled with the sand and the rocks and Rich is in charge of making sure the right number of each are poured into the mixer. If you see pictures of him with his fingers up, that’s him counting and showing how many buckets of each the sand and the rock have been poured into the machine. Then the water and the cement are added and the machine does the mixing. We are SO thankful for that machine!

Once the mixing is complete, the team lined up with wheelbarrows and the mixed cement was taken to either Edwin or Alejandro to pour into place. When the machine is moved to pour, the cement starts to fly. We all had big blogs of cement on or clothes and some of the clothes are so badly covered that we ended up just throwing them away. They were beyond saving! Robert had two big blobs of cement land in his eye. One of the funniest pictures on the trip was of Robert having his eye washed out of cement. He didn’t laugh at the moment but afterwards he laughed until he cried at that picture.

This cement process was repeated for hours. We took a short break for water and salteñas and then went back to work. Once we started pouring the cement, we couldn’t stop, so we worked pretty much straight through until a late lunch time at the church. Our cooks, Maribel and Alejandra are amazing, both in character and in talent. They are fantastic cooks and we are so honored to have them cooking our lunch meals each day. We took a late lunch and then we clocked out early yesterday to spend one hour to do a little shopping.

We went to the center of the city where there is an area where local artisans sell their items. There are some really beautiful items and we were able to get whatever souvenirs we needed for our families. A lot of us left some very important little kids at home whom we try to FaceTime in the evenings when we are back at the hotel. Those precious kiddos are very much a part of the team and they are paying a price as well as they are left at home. There have been some tearful phone calls with my own kids some days. They are very much on our hearts and our minds while we are here and it’s important to take a moment to get something for them so they know they are a part of it all. They have precious items they will get from Bolivia and it’s our prayer that it will cultivate a heart for missions and a love for the country they have never seen but have supported over the years through their time spent away from their parents.

After shopping we went out to a very early dinner. Meals here take some time and we love the relaxed, laid back meal time. The wait staff will keep caring for you and return to your table but will never bring the bill for the table until it is asked for. There is no rushing people out of the restaurant and they truly give you as much time as you would like. We ate early and we were the only people in the restaurant. We had the wait staff all to ourselves! We ate quickly and then we were on our way to the church again for their evening mid-week discipleship service. Pastor Gil gave another good word for the Faro del Cielo church and Jim translated. The church was full of people who had come to hear a word from the Lord and we are all encouraged to see their hearts for the Lord.

After the service there was a bit more fellowship time with our lovely friends at the church and then we went back to the hotel to go to sleep. One more work day to go! This week has gone by quickly and we are encouraged to see what God has done during our time. God does an amazing job of infusing laughter into our days and making our time together fun in the midst of hard work. We are thankful for people who love humor and who are quick to laugh. It is the best medicine and we are so blessed to have laughter-filled days. God is good and we are so very blessed to be a part of what He is doing here.