A smaller group of us also went to “the blue church” to help them with a project as well. Crowbars and hammers in hand, our simple instructions were “Tear down the church!” The church is expanding, with corrugated walls and roof being replaced by block and cement—the walls of which were already constructed outside the existing building. Deconstructing a church is a weird thing…and not very easy as it turns out. Even stranger was, well, destroying the elevated alter area. With the new, larger footprint, it was in the wrong place, right in the center of the building. So we took sledge hammer, pick, and shovel to destroying the spot from which we’ve seen many a stirring message. Just unsettling really.
At lunch, we had another great meal delivered at the school. After that there was “bible story” under the big tree with the biggest attendance we’ve ever seen. The local missionaries told us that the kids have been asking about us for weeks (we’re a couple weeks later than in past years), afraid we weren’t coming and confessing that our visits are the highlight of their summers. When we moved into playtime, it was like all the kids in the neighboring towns arrived too, out of nowhere. Suddenly hundreds of kids and most of our group played in the field for a couple hours before heading back to lay the pipe.
So…and scouts honor this story is true…a couple of our big swinging axe ringers were enjoying a well-deserved nap in the school, it happens when big guys work hard in the heat then carb load for lunch. The problem this day was that a local dog decided to chase the local alpha rooster, and we’d left the doors open to get a good breeze flowing through. Let’s just say John Smith was understandably shaken and confused when he awoke to a chicken running across his chest being chased by a dog on the hunt. Just plain old funny, and one of those stories you can’t make up. We also had a wonderful opportunity present itself, when we were able to provide treatment to two very ill children and a couple members of our group shined through with loving grace.
Mark 10: 42-45 was our text passage this evening as we discussed our “unvacation” in small groups. The normal idea of a vacation, especially to the type of resorts that dot the Dominican coast, is be served. To not lift a finger, drop all our cares, and reap the rewards of the hard work we’ve left at home by basking in the opulence of indulgence. So then, the unvacation is the opposite. We leave all the comforts, surround ourselves in squalor, and we focus our entire visit on serving others. So it’s not about me…it’s about others. The passage instructs us from the mouth of Jesus that this is the way we should live! Christ, the king of all things, gave up everything to come and serve. Even to the point of giving his life in exchange for ours. We are to model that, not to deny who we are and what we’ve been given, but to realize that we should be willing to lay it all down, give it up if necessary, in the service of others in Christ’s name.