Hey family and friends! I just wanted to get a quick update to you so you know what’s going on in this side of the world. We have been so incredibly busy these past couple of months and there has been a lot of change! God is really moving and expanding this ministry. Growth is good and we are learning how to manage everything but some days are certainly better than others.

            We have started construction on the training center this week after we paused to gather more funds and it has been quite the adventure thus far. Building projects are expensive, there always seems to be something popping up that you have to deal with and it can be exhausting. I sit here and laugh to myself about it because I just keep thinking of the movie, “Money Pit” with Tom Hanks. We started this project with an estimate of $8,500, which that doesn’t sound too bad right, ha? Now that we have exceeded that budget I am feeling compassion towards Tom Hanks character. Let me share some complications that have come up this week.

            We had windows and doors made for this training center and when we received them, they were nothing like what we had ordered. I had requested black doors with gold accents and he gave us brown doors with silver accents, literally almost the complete opposite of what we asked. He also did a completely different design than what we had requested and when we talked to him about it he said the reason it was not what he had asked for was because he forgot the order, so instead of calling us, he just kinda did his own thing. I have no idea why he didn’t pick up the phone and call us to ask us, it seems like such a simple solution but since he didn’t do that he is now facing the consequences of his actions. He had to come to the site and repaint every door and window, and he has to come to the site and fix the metal to the design we requested. This means we have to pay for electricity out at the site since the windows and doors are already installed and cannot be moved. That’s really a huge bummer for us because we were holding off on wiring the building to save money. So his one mistake inevitably cost all of us a lot of money, since he also lost money for doing a poor job.

            To add on to this “Money Pit” we found out that the foundation for part of the building was not built correctly so half of the building is sinking into the soft soil when it rains. Right now, we are in rainy season and let me tell you, it is raining a lot!!! So to fix this problem we have to install gutters to channel the rain so it stops affecting the foundation, which gutters were another part of the project we were holding off on installing to save money…..I really feel you Tom Hanks, I feel you brother. We have hired a plumber to go out to the site and install the gutters so we are fixing the problems. We purchased iron bars to build into the walls so that basement doesn’t pull on the other part of the building since there is already a small crack. Good news is most of these are fixable, and by golly we are fixing them!

            Now, I’m not telling you all of this so I can complain to you how hard it is to build something or how incredibly frustrating it can be when there is always something that needs to be fixed. If you have ever built anything in your life, you already know that. I know that there is a deeper meaning lying beneath the surface. In life, it is incredibly important to not cut corners and to take every precaution so you can try to prevent these complications from happening. With the foundation we could have built a ground beam and installed hardcore so it would be a strong sturdy foundation. Since we were focused on other things we made a mistake and now we are paying for it. We caught it early but how many times in life do we miss it completely until we are dealing with a huge mess saying to ourselves, “how did we get here?”

            I know that I personally have found myself in situations like that where I am sitting there having a conversation with God asking him to deliver me from this situation. Unfortunately it happens to all of us at one time or another and what I have taken from these experiences is that, like a wise Rafiki once said, “Oh yes, the past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it.” The mistakes that were made with the training center can be a huge lesson for us, but it’s having the wisdom to see past the situation and learn from it is what we need to practice. I could sit here and let the frustration fester and grow into anger, or I can choose to see the problem, search for a solution, act on it and make a difference in my circumstances and learn from it.

            I’m learning a lot out here and I know that it’s because I am challenging myself to remain in Christ’s joy. I listened to a sermon a couple weeks ago and the wisdom I took away from it is that joy is a choice, and it’s our responsibility to choose it. Once this training center is complete and its been standing for 10 years, no one will remember the stress or frustrations there were during its construction. However, what they will see is a safe building that allows people to be connected, to draw closer to Christ and each other. They will come here and they will learn skills and trades that will give them a hope and a future. I could halt construction and say I’m done, this place is a “Money Pit” and it’s draining me emotionally and financially. Or I can say Abba this place is yours and today I choose to not give Satan a foothold. I declare your joy today over this place and am excited to see your glory revealed through this building. Joy is a choice people. Choose to remain in Christ joy and place your hope in him, he won’t let you down. We’ve all got a “Money Pit” in life, don’t let it be the thing that defines you or robs you of your joy.