If there’s one thing that construction workers hate worse than a hot sun, it’s rain.

As morning dawned in Misahualli on Day 6 of our mission trip to Ecuador, the skies were filled with charcoal clouds and sporadic drips of rain.  By breakfast, the inconsistent drizzle had blossomed into a full-blown thunder storm, complete with work-stopping lightning.  The nice thing was that the deluge gave us a few extra minutes in the morning to have some devotional time that we missed the night before.

Once the rain lightened and our time together was completed, we piled in the bus and made our way to the Jungle Kids campus for the fourth day of construction on the new house we’re building.  The house will be used for a missionary family that is moving from Georgia to the jungle for at least a year, maybe more, and this will be a place for them to call home.

As we kicked off the day, the rain returned with a vengeance, drenching everything not covered by the roof, which was still only 75% complete.  Even the roof wood got soaked with the downpour, forcing the construction team to switch gears for the first half of the day.  Instead of roofing, siding rose to the top of the priority list.

The nice thing about siding was that there was plenty to do for the whole team, and since everyone was busy we made rapid progress.  Even better, a little before noon, the rain finally stopped and the site and materials began their long process of drying out.

As the day progressed into afternoon, we’d done a significant amount of siding, and more importantly, the roof supports were dry and ready to receive the coating of sheet metal that had been waiting since the previous day.  With much pushing and pulling, the sheets of metal were place across the waiting wooden supports and bolted down securely; another fine job from the Gateway crew.  By the end of the day, we were able to look at what had been an empty square of dirt with some concrete pilings in it and rejoice over an all-new structure with floor, ceiling, roof and a good chunk of siding complete.

It was a little bit bittersweet to say goodbye to the kids, not knowing if we’d see them again.  For me, it was also compounded by the fact that I had the chance to play guitar and sing with them and teach a small Bible study for three of the days I was there.  Seeing them all over the campus during the days and having them sing our song definitely tugged on my heart strings.

It had to be done, though, and as we drove off in the bus to head back to the hostel we did so both with joy and accomplishment at a job well done and a twinge of sadness to be winding down our time with them all.

One good antidote for sadness, of course, is good food, and once again our hosts and the Hostal Paisano did not disappoint.  Sauteed shrimp with rice and beans and an avocado salad were a great main entree, and dessert was a special fruit found only in Ecuador: “babaco”.  It tasted delicious, but had a little surprise on the other end.  Several of our team who ate it after dinner had a few more bathroom trips than usual that night and beyond.  Thankfully they were able to get some medicine that helped with the problem and calmed things down later in the day on Friday.  It was nice to have been able to go almost the whole trip without anyone having digestive issues, so this little bit wasn’t too bad and everyone took it in stride.

Thursday night was the last night we would have a devotional time after dinner, since Friday night we knew would be either an early bedtime or devoted to packing.  Because of this, we invited two other mission groups to join us for a time of singing and testimonies of what God has done so far in the jungles of Ecuador.

It was over an hour and a half.

What a blessing to sing as a united body of believers!  What a blessing to see how God is working through other people in other places and yet bringing it all together under the banner of Jesus Christ!  It was great to see people young and old from different places and backgrounds all praising the Lord together.  For me personally, it was one of the highlights of the trip.

At last though, we had to call it a night.  Knowing that morning would find us hitting the road for some special excursions, we knew that sleep would be crucial, and we were definitely ready for it anyway.

It had been a day of worship: first through work, then through song.  As the last note faded into the humid night and the last light abandoned us to the amber glow of the streetlights, we slept and dreamed of hammers and saws and children and smiles as the jungle rain returned to tuck us in again.