"In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us." Nehemiah 4:20
It was only mid-morning and all of us were soaked with sweat. The high for the day was around 85, full sun, no shade, and the worst part—no ICE to cool down our drinks! There I found myself with four of my youth students, working on a mountainous hillside, hauling wheelbarrows full of rocks up and down the same old trail hour after hour. Our job was brutally simple: unload the wheelbarrows of the rocks we’d shoveled into a rather small (12’ x 12’) cemented frame to lay a foundation for future houses to be built by the next team.
After several wheelbarrow loads back and forth, and seeing the anti-climactic results of dumping one load into the foundational frame, one of my youth students (a junior in high school) looked over at me, sweat running down his face, and discouragingly asked, “Seth, what’s the point? Why are we doing this?” I had found myself in a teachable moment. I walked over to him and suggested we take a break for a few minutes. We sat down on a hill of dirt looking at these foundations in the gorgeous countryside of Ganthier, Haiti. I said to him, “Don’t be discouraged; do you realize what we are doing for the people who will live here one day?” He shook his head no silently. “We are preparing the foundations with these rocks for houses so the next team can come and pour concrete, haul up wood to build the framing, and build these small homes for people who have never even had a home. The foundation, though not seen, is the most important part of the house. You are getting to be a part of that.” I could see the lightbulb go on, and slowly, joy came across his face. He understood at that moment what we were doing. I looked at him and said, “This is hard work; it takes time, but the reward is great. It’s worth it. That’s why we work together and do what God has called us to do—this is the reason why we came to Haiti.”
For the rest of the week, I watched him share the same excitement with the other youth students and their hearts were changed. They knew we were going to face trials and opposition during our time there (hot climate, curious bystanders, greedy Haitian co-workers, theft, violence), but as long as we worked together and didn’t lose focus on the task at hand,
“God would strengthen our hands” (Nehemiah 6:9).
This Sunday at New Covenant in morning worship we start our next preaching series on the book of Nehemiah. I encourage you to read this exciting book! See how God’s people came together through opposition to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem like it once was and strive to make it even greater than before. As believers in God and as a part of New Covenant’s church family, we strive to work together and dedicate our lives to God through everything we do (I Corinthians 10:31), like we did last month for families in need in Baton Rouge. Our Lord God gives us strength and Jesus is our foundation, the solid rock on which we stand for all trials and seasons of life. “The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, but it did not fall.” Matthew 7:25
I encourage us all to work together and dedicate ourselves to being a Christian (James 1:22-24). Enjoy the calling God has given you to be a part of something bigger—something that never expires or washes away: the family of God.
For pictures from our work in Baton Rouge, visit our Photo Gallery.
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