Our team set out early Tuesday morning to the beach town of La Libertad, which is about an hour outside of San Salvador. We were anxious with anticipation in meeting the Hernandez family of five (including three precious girls ages 14, 11 & 5) and building them a 20'x20' solid and secure concrete house, a new home. Their current house is a wood slat shack that has poor insulation, subject to rot in the sub-tropic environment and does not compare in stability to the concrete block construction. Our team would be building this three room home from foundation to the peak of its roof.
I did not realize the time it would take for the entire team to be invested in the digging and preparing of 1-meter deep, four-sided 'footings' of the house. Over the first four hours in 90F+ temperatures (and equal humidity), our team of 20+ motivated & unified missionaries & translators dug and removed by shovel & bucket brigade over a ton of dirt and rock from the construction site. Meanwhile, another dozen team members cut, bent, twisted and wrapped rebar with hand tools to manufacture the cages that would be placed in the bottom of the footings. Trenches deep enough and laid with meticulous detail, the foundation was ready now for the loads of mixed concrete to be wheel-barrowed and poured into the footings - the key component of any structure's solid construction if it is made to last for any duration.
Jesus himself used the analogy of the importance of a home's foundation in demonstration of of the parable of the wise and foolish builder. In Luke, chapter 6, he is quoted, "Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it." We heard this verse used on Sunday morning at Iglesia Monte Calvario. The pastor was using it as reference to standing on the rock of God's Word in spite of the commotion and upheaval of our culture. Only through a firm foundation in Christ and the Bible will we be able to stand fast during the storms of life that will be upon us.
A few times through the hot day, I watched Mrs. Hernandez in the doorway of the wood shack, her daughters leaning on her, all intent on watching us and all the activity right outside their door. Although they were smiling and readily engaging our workers, I was wondering if ever they might be anxious about the actual job we were doing for them: would the new house be a home in which they would be proud? Did these people really care about the quality of their work? Would the walls and roof of the home contain a safe place for many years of storms and earthquakes (a pretty regular occurrence in El Salvador)?
Oh the importance of the foundation - the foundation for our life or for a small family's home. I am confident in the diligent work our team did for the Hernandez's home foundation. Let the picture of those deep concrete footings be a ready picture on how we can and should rely on Jesus and His Word for our lives.