It was a warm summer morning. About 100
It was a warm summer morning. About 100 miles from the equator in Quixeramobim, Brazil—A city about the size of Joplin, Missouri, with the population of Chicago crammed inside.
The smell of mortar permanently imbedded into one’s nose. It is the smell of a construction site that one only must pass through while driving down the road because the company is redoing the parking lot—not be in for days straight. Three days into building a church by hand. It is the calm before the storm of a heavy/busy/nonstop workday. At the end of the eight hours in the sun my skin will be dyed grey from slapping mortar onto each brick and trying to make it stick perfectly straight on top of the brick that was laid crooked before, creating a cycle of a leaning tower of bricks; however, it still manages to look okay and like a normal wall. My shoulders ache from an almost 3rd degree burn of being out in the sun nonstop laying bricks.
My mouth will crave clean, cold, purified water. This is all worth it. Every salty taste of sweat after licking the top of my lip, every scrape of blood from hitting the brick too hard—it is all worth it because it means the people of Quixeramobim will have a place to worship and come together. The team of eight American volunteers, 2 Brazilian translators, 4 Brazilian teenagers, and 3 Brazilian volunteers circle around in the only open space of a soon to be standing building. One side has a complete tin roof now providing shade for half of the circle.
¾ of every wall has bricks aside from the very top where a make-do scaffolding is still needed to complete. One of the Brazilian translators has a guitar. This brings all the village kids and moms running into the church-aside from there being a bunch of white people trying to build something. A few silent strums to get the tune right. Then he starts singing-more of a whisper sing- how great is our God.
All of us circled join in, still whisper singing. As we are singing the children from the village are playing are on the ladders and scaffolding behind me, picking up hammers, doing whatever, no one cares because that’s normal in Brazil. Tears fill up my eyes as I look around and see half of a complete church. I feel a fresh breeze cross my face and as it runs through the braids in my hair, I look up at the semi-complete tin-roof realizing that this is the first cold breeze there has been in the past 3 days. The translator starts singing the song in Portuguese. The locals that were all gathered in the building join in and sing at the top of their lungs. Us workers stand with our jaws probably open wide, tears filling our eyes, the cry where snot is coming out but not like a full cry yet.
We are all in awe of what we have accomplished in just three days. My mom is standing across from me, her hair is ever so curly and frizzy from the South American humidity. She has it trying to be tamed with her favorite yellow sun visor with cats on it. She whips out her phone and records this special moment. As I, no longer dreading the hot day ahead, choose to enjoy the moment.
Being a part of something so special, no matter how gut-wrenching hot it was. How bad there was a craving for clean water. It is so rewarding to know that there is a brick building now somewhere where there was not shortly before my arrival. It can now be utilized however need be.
The community felt an impact of the mission team being there; however, the mission team felt the greater impact.