We visited Thomonde in early April and it was determined--by the pastor--that one of the many projects that the church needed completed was they needed new benches for their sanctuary. The ones that they had weren't sufficient for the congregation anymore. A normal church service here is 2-3 hours long. Imagine sitting on benches that creak and crack hen you sit down, standing for the entire service, or carrying your own chair from home to make sure you get a seat. Benches are a huge blessing for the pastor and the congregation.
The team that was partnered with this church raised more than enough funds for the benches, but how much could they get done in a week?
Time for the creative juices to flow freely! While, sometimes, it is good and healthy to give all of the money designated for work projects directly to the pastor to take care of all the pre-work for the team, this pastor desired some extra assistance. Al cared enough about the pastor and the relationship he has with the team to help him make the most of the financial and time investment the team was making.
To make sure the mission team is able to accomplish something in the way of construction--which is something this team wanted to do--we had to brainstorm ideas on how to make the best use of their skills and abilities. We didn't know if there was a skilled carpenter on the team, so we had to prepare for untrained willing workers. For Al, that meant getting the benches to a point where the team could finish with sanding and varnishing while they were here.
He built them here, at our house. 10 beautiful benches. He figured out a good design and ran with it. He worked hard. He worked fast. When he was done with his part, he sent them on a 4 hour journey to the church where they waited for the team to come and do the finishing work.
The team enjoyed working on the benches (among other things) this week and the partnership church congregation has been encouraged by the team's presence and their willingness to work with the kids of the community. This relationship has been strengthened for the glory of God.
|Old benches on the top, new benches on the bottom.|