20 Things About Our 2012 Mission Team

by Phillis Seitz

  1. We worked, prayed, danced, and played together to build God’s house for San Marcos.
  2. During our stay the ceiling/floor of the second floor was completed by putting in the re-bar and laying the cement.
  3. We were there to learn and not to teach them how we would do it in the USA.
  4. We ate together.   Learned about their foods.  We don’t care foreating chicken feet and the Dominicans do.  Their fruits were especially good.  The noon lunches were prepared by the church families and brought to school to be eaten.
  5. We learned patience as we waited for an opportunity to discover how we could be of assistance in the building process in this country.
  6. We learned that our priorities certainly are not always their priorities.  There is a reason for mixing the cement in small piles with many workers.  The cement will not dry out before it is put into place and more workers/volunteers were “working” together. The cost is greatly reduced and large pre-mixed cement trucks delivering yards of cement are not available in that neighborhood.
  7. Waiting for a new work opportunity allowed time for the boys to play ball and/or to juggle or rap with their counterparts.  Or was it a chance to get out of the sun?
  8. We reflected on our progress and the “little bits of success” we had each day with each other at meal times and in the evenings.
  9. We learned how important it is to drink lots of water as we perspired during those sunny days.  The Dominicans could work longer and perspire much less than the “gringos”.  We needed clean at least one liter water or gatorade each morning and each afternoon to prevent dehydration.  Getting and paying for drinking water is difficult for the Dominicans.
  10. We learned a little about how the high building costs can prevent progress toward completing the church in San Marcos.  The weak economy means many unemployed workers.  Food costs for a family are very high and may be the biggest expense for the poor.  We did not learn about their medical costs or the availability of medical services for the poor.  So much more to discover.  What are their challenges and dreams?
  11. The Dominicans are a very proud people who seem to share the joy of family and family experiences as well as neighborhood and extended family support in their everyday lives.  For some of us at things seem to be more important than family.  Volunteers, especially young men worked day after day to build their church.  The priest encouraged them to be there.  If the boys were there, they weren’t getting into trouble. Smart man.
  12. We joined hands to pray together with everyone at the work site in the beginning of each work day.
  13. The need for water at the new church is essential and we dug a 6×6 hole or was it 8×8 hole behind the church?.  The large 7 foot deep hole was dug with pick axes.  The loose dirt was thrown from the hole with shovels.  The work was very “back breaking” and was shared between the Dominicans and us.  However the school volunteer boys would work long after we left the site..
  14. A clean work site was important to Americans who did not shovel.  We packed the trash into garbage bags and placed it in a small room in the new church.  Trash disposal is difficult.  The next day we noted that the Dominicans had burned all the trash,  the site was as clean as possible.
  15. Humidity allowed us to work more slowly or to find a cement block to sit upon to take a break.  There are not trees at the work site but the cover over the first floor is wonderful for shade..
  16. Perfection and inspections are important but a margin of acceptance appears to be built into this church,  God will provide what is needed.  Is He the final inspector?
  17. The Dominicans can teach us lots about how to celebrate our relationship with God in our lives at the church services.  They shared services with us twice during the week.  At the smaller neighborhood church when the people first came together they sang for about 45 minutes.  Maybe that was to remind the local worshippers that it was time for church.  Families came.  Children were everywhere.  Dogs visited too.  Jesus is alive in their hearts,  We ate with them.  The power of the Holy Spirit was amazing in both services.  We took flashlights.  The electricity came on when the service was half finished.  The mystery was why and how did the electricity happen to work.  Did  the lights came on because the local people felt the need to impress the Michiganders and Texans and stole the “juice” from the nearby wires or did it just happen. Our team members participated in the actual worship service.  Both groups had translators and used them as needed. The rest of us spoke with our eyes and our hearts.  It was a wonderful experience.
  18. We visited a local cafe and had sodas, watched the pig head and feet being cooked for the noontime customers, and relaxed for a bit.  That family operated business was raising two baby chickens as pets.  One chicken was painted blue,  The logic escaped us. They have few material possessions and we have so much.  Everyone was happy.
  19. It was special to know we have a common God and a common form of worship that is meaningful to all.  Thanks be to God.
  20. The work site for the past two weeks meant there were paid workers and volunteers building God’s house from two countries.  The common goal was inspirational to everyone.

Look what amazing things have resulted when many hands help God build his church in such a short amount of time.