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-
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)