Blood, Sweat, Tears, and More
Our fall 2010 trip can be summarized in five words...
Blood, Sweat, Tears, Joy, and Relief!
But without a lot of explanation, you probably still won't really get what went on, so we'll try to provide that explanation on this page.
This Fall 2010 trip has been full of blessings, surprises, and a lot of aggravations all rolled into one. We always start with a plan, and hope to accomplish certain goals. Unfortunately, we are rarely able to accomplish those specific goals.
As you explore this page, I trust you'll come to understand why this is true.
Our main goal for this Fall 2010 trip was to finally get the permanent power on in the building. We started working on this the first day we were in Mayaguez. We terminated the cables in the main distribution panel, and tested all the breaker feeds going to all the sub panels.
We then had the work inspected and approved by the power company, and paid our connection fees. They informed us it would be hooked up in the next week.
The week passed and nothing happened. After about two weeks of trying to find out why they hadn't hooked up the power as promised, we were informed that we could not tie into the power lines in front of the church, even though they were the exact power we needed, 208-120V three phase transformers.
They told us that this pole, and the transformers on it, was a secondary pole, and was dedicated to the restaurant and motorcycle repair shop across the street, so we couldn't hook on to those lines.
The power company then informed us they would need to set a new pole for us and pull a new three phase cable from several blocks away. The problem with this was it was the wrong voltage configuration, and they wouldn't be able to do it until sometime in the Spring of the year.
The power they are now willing to supply us is three phase 240V, so we will have to find a three phase 240 V primary transformer with a three phase 208-120V secondary transformer to make the power useable for us. It will have to be found, bought, and installed before the permanent power can be finished.
The church is trying to find a used refurbished one, since this will cost a lot less than buying a brand new one. But the problem is we will need to find it soon, and that may not be easy to do.
This was a real disappointment. Once again, after doing all the right things, and being told we were ready to go by those in authority, they changed the requirements. I could give a long drawn out explanation about why this is happening from a human perspective, but it would just take more time.
The bottom line is, Satan is using the power company to hinder and slow the completion schedule for the building. This situation provided plenty of aggravation and tears for our Fall 2010 trip.
Blood and Sweat
Two days after our arrival, we had a very heavy rain, and the roof on the old part of the church was leaking. In fact, it was coming in, in several solid streams.
The week before we arrived there was a team that repaired this roof, thinking they were taking care of the problem. However, unfortunately it never rained the whole time they were there.
When it rained we discovered, the part they repaired wasn't the part that was actually leaking. So even though they did a great job, they didn't fix the problem.
We worked on this roof for about a week replacing corrugated panels, putting on new flashing, and sealing everything with several gallons of caulking.
This was work that James and I probably shouldn't have done, and probably won't do again. There are several reasons why:
- We are both too heavy to be working on a metal roof.
- We both have bad backs, so we shouldn't bend over and work in the positions needed to get the job done.
- I didn't bring the right type of clothing to be doing this work...
That's where the blood came in. The first two days I scraped the back of my legs at least a half dozen times, and the third day I cut my leg on the ankle all the way to the bone. After a whole month, it still has not healed completely as of this writing, leaving me with an open wound.
The sweat, of course, is always a given on these trips, since we are working in tropical weather, inside a building with very little ventilation, and with humidity levels that are usually 80% or above. I always lose many pounds from all that sweating, but to avoid dehydration, I have to drink enough to gain it all back. Sometimes life just isn't fair!
The trip in Pictures
Joy and Relief
Although we were unable to accomplish our planned goal for the fall 2010 trip of getting permanent power on in the building, we were able to accomplish many other things that needed doing. The outside lighting was installed on the building as well as the emergency exit lights throughout the building.
I was able to clean up small problems throughout the building that I hadn't had time to get to on previous trips, such as straightening box covers, replacing those that were broken or inadequate for the places they'd been installed, and straightening wiring to some of the panels that was very disorganized. There is more of this type of work that needs to be done, but at least I got a start on during this fall 2010 trip.
The joy we experienced was the realization that close to ninety-five percent of the electrical work on this building is now complete.
Although we long to finish entirely, it is a blessing to realize the progress that has been made, and a relief to realize that even when we can't accomplish the goals we set, the Lord is still in control, and we can rest in the Biblical truth "His ways are perfect".
We are relieved, as well, to be home now, where we have comfortable furniture, and the opportunity to recuperate from the trip. It always takes a few weeks to rest up, and with the holiday season already in full swing before we reached home, it has taken a little longer than usual this year.
Challenges and Prayer Requests
Dennis wrote the first part of this page, but I, Sherilyn, wanted to contribute as well, so the rest of the page is my take on the fall 2010 trip.
We didn't leave Puerto Rico until December second, so we got to see the decorations before we left. I probably enjoyed the decorations more then he did. For me, it is always fun to see them.
This trip was particularly challenging for us, because we were on the island almost a full week longer than we've normally been there. We actually spent Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico. Since these aren't pleasure trips, this was unexpectedly difficult...
We were invited out for a delicious meal, but we found it difficult to relax since the apartments aren't designed for comfort, and we are there to get a job done. So, we just continued to work through most of the holidays.
I was impressed anew with just how much we need prayer support on these trips.
Dennis mentioned one cut to the bone, but there were actually two during the first week of the trip. The first was on his finger and it healed nicely. The second, on his ankle, also started to heal well, but when he spent a full day on a ladder installing the outside lighting, the constant climbing broke that cut open, and it didn't finish healing until after we got home.
Additionally, within a day of reaching home, Dennis developed a high fever which he kept for about a week and a half. I'm not sure exactly what he was sick with, it wasn't really quite like the flu, nor a cold...
I suspect he may have had Dengue fever, but we can't know for sure without a blood test. We're planning to have it checked out the next time he sees a doctor.
Shortly after he recovered from the fever, he bit into a piece of chocolate and half of a back molar broke off. He thinks he cracked it in Puerto Rico.
Anyway, it will have to be capped, which will require about three trips to the dentist, and close to a thousand dollars.
We are thankful we have a heavenly Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine. Please pray with us that He will continue to meet every financial need he allows in our lives, and that he will enable and strengthen us for these short term trips.
The church in Mayaguez wants to dedicate the new building in the fall of 2011. Please pray with us that in His will, the Lord will bring this to pass.
We were very happy to reach home on December 7th, and have appreciated the Lord's blessings in a new way, as we enjoy the comforts of home. As we realize how greatly the Lord has blessed us with comforts here, we can hardly wait to get to our heavenly home.
Maybe this coming year of 2011 will be the year the Lord returns. Then all we who know Him, will get to go home to be with Him!
Now that is something to look forward to! That trip will truly be out of this world...Let's pray together for Christ's soon return.
Return from Fall 2010 to Puerto Rican Mission Trips
Return from Fall 2010 to Electrifying Mission Trips