On Tuesday, November 10th, at 9:00am, I had scheduled my blog update to post on my website.
It was a positive post with a mention of the “Gift a Goat & More!” fundraiser and an update about the water pipeline.
I had written the blog update the night prior and scheduled it to post while I was going to be working in the jungle.
Around 9:00am, while my update was posting and being emailed out on schedule (telling everyone the project was going well) I was listening to the community leader tell me that the project was failing. He said there wasn’t enough water so he cut small holes in the pipe with his machete to “see the water” and “check pressure.”
The leader cut holes in the pipe that we carefully installed and buried over the past 2 weeks. He actually had to dig out some of the sections of pipe from under the soil before drilling the holes in them. The system isn’t meant to have holes in it – holes actually release the pressure.
The day got worse on from there. The men decided they wanted smaller pipes even though I tried to explain that the smaller pipes would not give them water as far as we needed it to travel (2,400′). They started changing the project without even giving me a chance to finish the design we started.
By 4:00pm, the new pipe was cut completely off in 3 locations and I walked home, defeated and in tears.
A lot of thoughts went through my head during that long day – most of them focused on my inadequacies. “I wasn’t good enough.” “I wasn’t cut out for this work.” “I was too weak.” “I wasn’t smart enough.” “5 weeks of hard work, $2000 wasted because I failed.” “I should just go back to the States.” My thoughts focused all on me during that chorus of insecurities bouncing in my brain and it shouldn’t have been. Why? Because working out here is not about me at all.
The truth is-
I am weak.
I am unable to do this type of work alone.
What I failed to notice on Tuesday afternoon was that-
- I am made strong in Christ (Isaiah 40:29; 2 Corinthians 12:9).
- I am not alone (Isaiah 41:10).
What I also didn’t realize (until I couple hours after I returned home and prayed about the day) is that the state of the project is not the most important part of my existence. I work in these communities to help people achieve healthier lives, but it isn’t just about their physical health. The most important thing I try to do is influence their spiritual health by my actions and interactions with them. Safe water, latrines (toilets) and hygiene education is a medium for sharing Christ’s love within the villages.
I don’t know how this will all end. I don’t know if this water pipeline will last 1 year or 50 years, however I do know that God has called me into this work to be an example of Christ. To love people where they are at – even if the place they are at is cutting up the pipeline we worked so hard to install.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:8-11)
*spoiler alert: God has provided water by changing hearts and providing strength and I will finish the story tomorrow (because it was too long to share all at once…I can write many many pages to describe the week of trial and blessing from last Tuesday to this Tuesday 😊)
…To be continued.
Verses referenced above:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
9 thoughts on “9:00am (Part 1)”
This post touched me deeply. May the Lord continue to bless and strengthen you, Caitlin, and save souls through your witness and work.
Thank you so much, Dotty. Thank you for your prayers and support 🙂
This post is overwhelming to me..not just your words but the faith you have despite the numerous problems you have faced. It gives us all courage and where to focus our energy and gifts. Praise be to the GOD who encourages, supports and enables us….and loves us!
Linda, thank you so much for always being prayerful on my behalf. I can’t wait to see you when I get home and give you a super big hug!
Cait, this problem you had with a $2000 water pipeline also happens with a $3,000,000 electrical substation! When the owner thinks he knows more than the Engineer, there is nothing you can do. You just have to back off, recognize that you gave it your best shot, and move on to your next project with higher expectations. It’s never easy to back down, but sometimes you just have to …
Love you like a Daughter, Cait … you do amazing work!
George, I am happy this wasn’t a $3,000,000 job! I know there might be some days that I have to walk away, but I am grateful that this wasn’t one of those times 🙂
Yes, it is very gratifying when the owner sees the light and realizes that we (the engineer) really are trying to help him and make his and his people’s lives better! I’m glad it seems to be working out …
Cait, the one who serves the Great! You, my friend are right in the palm of His hand and He smiles when we rely on Him. Keep on keeping on, you are doing His work and are exactly right when you say that it is not about water or toilets or hygiene it’s about His glory being seen by how you love these people. Yes, sometimes we are disappointed or frustrated in our humanness but how you continue to love people through Christ brings us ever closer to Himself. Be encouraged Cait, you are loved by many, but more importantly you are loved by the who is love! I can’t wait to hear how God will be glorified in all this. Hugs!
Jim, Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! Everything you wrote is so true and so applicable in this time – on this project. Thank you 🙂