This week has been a challenging week. With a couple of late nights always followed by early mornings. I was tired from about 5 o'clock Monday afternoon until I went to bed last night. I was having a hard time keeping up with this large team. The thing is, they were the oldest team that I have worked with. While there were many young and middle aged, there were several in their 70's and one, at least that was 80.
While the work went on this week, some of the older people were being worn down by the physical nature of construction work here. Everything is done by hand. They completed a pad for a play area and re dug the footers and poured them for the last of the first floor classrooms and the school office. They built columns and a cabinet and many smaller projects. It was a week of hard work.
The thing that stood out to me though was one man on the team. He is 80 years old, has had major heart surgery and both knees replaced. There were times when he would sit in a chair on the job sight and fall asleep. One day, he was shoveling sand into buckets for cement and could not stand so he sat in the chair and shoveled, taking about twice as long as it took anyone else.
He has been faithfully coming to Guatemala for 14 years, working in Zapote and Membrial. I was wondering when do you say enough? By the end of the day, he could barely get in the van with his surgically repaired knees. What keeps him coming back when obviously he does not have the stamina for the work?
On Friday, I got to drive him along with about or 9 others out to Zapote without any other members of the Church team. While at the school in Zapote, which this man helped build, I got a better picture of his motivation. He sponsors 6 children in the school and knows them all. He has been part of the work in that village since it began. While he was there, each of the kids was pulled out of class and brought to him. He had gifts and pictures for them. He also told them about his family and thanked them for their letters to him. he showed them the heart of a grandfather for the grandkids that he did not get to see often enough. His love and concern for them was genuine.
The reason that he keeps coming is because it does not matter how old you are. When we allow God to give us love for people, we love until there is nothing left of us. He may not be able to do all that he once did but he showed the love of Jesus as well as I am guessing anybody could. He is not going to quit demonstrating God's love to these children until he has no breath. Of this I am convinced so I just want to say "Thank You Dale for teaching me a valuable lesson this week."