Work in Progress

underConstructionPounding hammers and noisy drills are familiar sounds around here nowadays. There seems to be no end to the construction work that needs to take place on the compound, not to mention our other church/school sites. I was reminded today that much of the work being done here during the last few weeks is much like the necessary work that goes on in our lives: work that’s meant to build character.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned:

  • The work will take longer than you thought
  • The work will be more detailed than you thought
  • The work will be more expensive than you thought
  • The end results will be different than what you thought

A simple depot, right? A large room for storage with an adjoining bathroom for our workers was the plan. Everything was going great until the funds slowed down. Yet, every day we determined some progress would be made, even if it was hanging a door or installing the sink. A little progress is better than none. We discovered the old toilet tank we were going to use from our previous house was cracked. This was an added expense of having to send Rodelin (our boss) to town to buy another one as well as a delay.

“Madame Pasteur, this bathroom would look SO much nicer if we put tile down here, don’t you think? The space is so small, so it really won’t cost that much.” (Of course, that’s easy to say when you’re not the one paying for it!) Yet, Rodelin was right. I don’t regret the tile, even if it did cost extra. At his own expense, he bought some green paint and painted the shower wall. Who could say “no” to the pretty white tile after seeing initiative like that?

One day, as the work team was pouring concrete in front of the depot, I noticed the spigot of a water pipe sticking up from the ground. I asked, “Is that water pipe going to stay like that, jutting out of the ground?” (I’ve discovered men often look at functionality before they consider the aesthetic effect.) For some reason, due to the angle at which the pipe was laying, the water spout on the top would not be impaired if it was left above the ground. Yet, in my eyes, it was just plain ugly and would be easy to trip over in the dark. “Rodelin, is that the only option we have? Can’t we do something else about that pipe?”

“Yes, but I’ll have to break up the concrete right now before it hardens and lay another type of pipe in there.”

A matter of seconds passed in my mind as I weighed the added expense of having to buy another pipe, plus the extra time it was going to take to get it done.

“Let’s change it,” I said, knowing I didn’t want to see a pipe spigot every time I came around the corner of the house.

All in all, I’m very pleased with our team’s work. They work hard, plus at times have been very patient with us as they waited another day (or two) for their pay. They all have their own families to care for. They’ve since completed the depot and moved on to the little mission house next door.

Delays, mix-ups, expenses, and other unexpected “flies in the ointment” often serve as the hammer and drill God uses to forge our character. We can allow these things to make us more patient, loving, kind, and forgiving. Yet, without yielding to the tools he wishes to use on us, we can become a work of disappointment, bearing no resemblance at all to what he had intended us to be. Yet, if we allow him, he works to chisel and mold us into the image of his Son. This he does, even if it takes time, detail, and expense. In the end, the results will be much different than we ever thought.

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