The Broken Fan - Guatemala 2015
June 30, 2015
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
Roosters crowing, dogs barking, bugs flying everywhere, and sleeping under a bug net on a concrete floor. To some, it all may sound horrible. But to me, it sounds like home.
This past week, I was privileged to be able to serve alongside 15 amazing students and adults in Guatemala to install stoves and water purifiers for over 70 families. I witnessed the work of The Lord first-hand - not just in the families that we encountered, but in my fellow team members as well. With long work days, soccer games with the neighborhood kids, and too many jokes to count (IT’S FINE!), this week could not have been better. It was a very smooth-sailing week with very few complications that could easily be fixed, but we were all definitely tested in one way or another. One moment of flexibility for our entire team was the dreaded broken fan.
The house that we stayed in consisted of four empty rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. No air conditioning, just two fans keeping all 16 of us plus the staff cool on the consistent 95 degree days. We had a pretty good system for using the fans. Each room would switch off during the night, and we would set the fans out in the hallways during the day so everyone would get some use out of them. On our second day in Galvez, one of the fans fell over and broke. Sure, we were all pretty upset that we now had to share one single fan throughout the week. At first, a few of us complained and wondered how we were going to make it in the dying heat. You would have thought it was the end of the world. But actually, it’s quite the opposite. On Wednesday night (the night after the fan incident) I wrote this in my journal:
“It is day 3 in Galvez, and I am so impressed by the strength and determination of this team. We traveled to Villa Hermosa today where we had 30 stoves to build. We originally were going to split it up and aim to do 15 today and 15 tomorrow, since we only have 5 hour time slots both days. But today, we cranked out 28 stoves before lunch. We only have 2 bases, 4 chimneys, and about 6 fireboxes left for tomorrow. I honestly have no idea how we did it. This is such a God moment. Yesterday it hit all of us how tiring this work can be, and it seemed like a few of us were slightly discouraged. But the fact that we exceeded our goal for today shows me that God is working through this team and He is looking out for us. He has given us the strength and motivation to do His work, and today was such proof of that. I am so thankful for the unfailing love God has for this team and this community, because it has been a sure motivation for all of us to give it our best effort this week. I cannot wait to see how God is going to continue to provide during our time here.”
So even in a small moment of defeat, God used that broken fan as a motivator for our entire team. This reminded me of Jeremiah, who was a prophet to The Lord. He was sent to Israel to deliver some news that would make them upset, and he had no idea how he was going to do it. But The Lord said to him, “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you” (Jeremiah 1:19). Jeremiah didn’t let the people of Israel intimidate him, and we didn’t let that broken fan ruin the rest of our week. Instead, we acknowledged that God was with us and looking out for us. We knew that it would pose a small problem, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle. This week was one for the books, and I am so proud of our team and the hard work we accomplished. I am excited to see how God will use this experience in each of our lives in the days to come! #squademala