October 12, 2008

The Latest from Bob the Builder

The Warehouse
While we were in the States, Craig Hanscome did a great job of keeping the warehouse project moving. Between running out of cement and figuring what to do with the rain water until the systems to handle it are in place, he was able to oversee the finishing of the walls inside and out. Plus much more.
Ever since our arrival we have been working on the steel trusses for the roof and how we will get them up. You can see in the photo that we have been able to get the first 2 up. The biggest job is always establishing the technique. Once that is established my very capable crew here takes off and does the same thing over and over again. Yes, I have to keep track of the quality but they do a great job of that also.
We have 3 teams coming to help with installing the 300—6 meter sheets of roofing and the 6,000 bolts to hold it all on. Please Pray for their safe travel and their safety in working with sharp steel during a rather warm time of the year. The teams that are coming in the next 2 months and their dates are as follows:
Christ Community Church, Omaha Nebraska October 6-17
Shawnee Alliance, Lima Ohio. October 20-31
First Alliance Church, New Castle Pennsylvania November 4-14

The Morgue
I arrived to work in the usual way this day. On my little Yamaha scooter like I do most every day. And on most days many of our workers are already getting things ready for the days projects. They may be watering new bricks or cement that was just poured the day before. There are always many tools and supplies to prepare for the day’s projects.

Here in Mali it is good to get going a little early to get a jump on the heat. There are 4 seasons in Mali, they consist of warm and dry, really hot & dry, hot & wet then there is really hot & dry. I know I said that before but it is sooo hot during that season that is worth repeating!! But today was different and I wasn’t exactly sure why. Everyone was just standing around my shop and not really appearing to be doing anything. This was puzzling but with a scan of the area it was evident that we had visitors this morning and it didn’t take long to figure out why.

There was a Muslim van backed up to the warehouse project which, at this time, had some walls up on one end. They were using the privacy of the space between the rear wall of the property and the warehouse wall as an area to wash and prepare a woman’s body for burial. It was what you would expect around a construction sight, scaffolding, bricks, steel, etc, and none of it in an orderly manner. It was a mess! But there they were! Carefully preparing the body of their loved one who would most likely be buried the next day or even the same day.

As soon as the realization of the situation sank in I did the only thing I could. Expressed sympathy to the family and then cried. I seem to do that a lot here. Tears come easier all the time for some reason. And so does the phase “But for the grace of God, there go I”. While traveling down the road I see village after village and wonder, “Do they know?” ‘Who will tell them?”. Who will tell them that Christ came and died for us and rose from the dead to pay the price for me, you and them. Not only that life eternal is ours and theirs but life in abundance here on earth also simply through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The peace that surpasses all understanding!! We don’t have to kill anyone or sacrifice anything on an alter to obtain a place in heaven. It is already there, in a better state that we can imagine.
So we are building a morgue!! The phrase I have heard time and time again is “They don’t care about what you know until they know that you care”. So we are trying to help bring some dignity into an already difficult situation. All of these side projects cost money and detract from the main building projects but they are needed none the less. Please pray for the finishing of this building and also the funds to help pay for it. Pray also that those who pass will ask questions as to why and that we would again have an opportunity to share Christ’s Love.
Please pray also for the evangelization of Mali.

I need older style waterbed thermostats to build baby warmers for premature babies. If you have one stored some where, please contact me. bbraafhart@gmail..com

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