Day 3- Teams form, assignments given, time to build our first stove
by Gladden Lawrence
Day 3 in Paquixit — Today was not unlike the first day of work at Joy in the Harvest in Kigoma, Tanzania in 2009, when a team of us were going to help some locals erect a roof on a 2-story community building.. I had no idea how it was going to be done, who I would be working with, or even if I could measure up to the team’s needs along with adding value to the overall project.
Today, as it was 8 years ago, I fell back on Philippians 4:6 where Paul so appropriately instructed; ‘Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.’ I’ve never built one of these stoves, nor have I ever worked with this team of experienced stove building missionaries. Dependence on the provisions of God where going to get me through this first day.
The schedule included a short 45 min drive by bus up the side of a mountain to a small Guatemalan village named Paquixit. After a brief meeting to assign homes to each of 4 teams, we were off down the mountain on foot. My team had the home the farthest to walk so we filled our water bottles and followed our stove builders with no expectations of who or what we would find as the location of our very first stove,
We were not disappointed. The 6 of us met Mikelia and her family with smiles and handshakes. Her home was small one room home with the fire from the morning meal still smoldering on the floor. The roof on the inside of her glistened with black soot and tar resins from years of cooking in an enclosed area with little or no ventilation. Her white walls had blackened from too much smoke filling her home and no where to go.
The good news for Mikelia is today would be the last day she would have to cook her family’s meals over an open fire on the floor inside her home. She would have a new stove to vent toxic smoke from her wood fire outside her house.
So with cinder blocks, fire bricks, mortar, concert stove pipes, 4 willing volunteer servants, and 2 master stove builders, the new addition to Mikelia’s home was built. We left the house to have lunch and attend a church service for the villagers anxious to know who the group was who invaded their village building stoves and showing the love of Christ.
Anxiety prayers answered. The team spent the better part of the morning in somewhat of a spiritual silence, focused on the work of the Holy Spirit. It was a great day of service in the name of Christ.
What experiences have caused you anxiety recently?
How did you overcome the anxiety?