They say the best way to learn a language is “cultural immersion”.

If that’s true, then the second day of building in Misahualli was a perfect learning experience for the construction team as they found themselves immersed in what the Ecuadorians call “lodo”.

In English, we call it mud.

An all-night rain that carried on into the morning had prepared the building site with a slick layer of well-watered topsoil.  Though conditions were improved with a few strategically placed boards, slipping was still a real danger.  Undaunted, the team continued on and made great progress through the sporadic rain, and was rewarded with clear skies from mid-morning onward.

Not all of the team had to brave the rain right away.  While Daniela and Abby Schwartz spent the first half of the day visiting the little town of Pusuno, it just so happened that the night before, Roberto Davalos had asked me (Phillip) if I would mind singing a few songs and sharing a short devotional with the kids at the school.  Thanks to a borrowed guitar and some great assistance from Jessica Eyre and one of the missionary teachers, the morning devotional time with the kindergarteners was a resounding success!

We taught them one of our kids’ songs, “Stand up and Sing it” and got to learn two of the Spanish songs they sing.  Our lesson was from Mark 4:35-41, about how Jesus calmed the storm, and the rain falling outside was a perfect tie-in to the story.  After a couple of hours of kids’ ministry and writing/uploading for the folks back home, I went out to the work site to join the construction fun.

For the majority of the team, most of the day was spent finishing the floor, a project that involved carrying, cutting, laying, drilling and nailing the wood.  Two teams developed and a little friendly competition ensued, but both sides were so close in the end that it didn’t really matter who won.  (However, if asked, Cameron Schwartz, Mike Arcentales, Scott Menard and the writer of this update would be happy to tell you who did 😉 )

As the floor progressed, Marcos Araya and Chris Schwartz began the difficult work of preparing the roof.  Heavy lifting, lots of cutting and plenty of work above the ground made for a grueling task, but as the rest of the team joined in after finishing the floor, the rafters began to go up quickly. By the end of the second day of construction, the floor was done and close to half the rafters were in place, setting the stage for a great third day of building on the campus of Jungle Kids for Christ.

After a short bus ride back to Misahualli, the team got showers and took some time to walk around town before eating. Dinner was later than usual due to a visit from some special guests, Roberto and Charmai! Coming in from the Jungle Kids property, they joined us in eating and talking and stayed afterwards to participate in a time of testimony and praise.

After singing and sharing, the thing on everyone’s mind was the same: bedtime. With full bellies, clean bodies and happy hearts, we settled in for another early night, ready for another early morning in the little pueblo nestled in the heart of the jungle.

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