“Praise him! Praise him! All the little children. God is love. God is love.”
Both Mary Lou and Gary sang these words as little children attending Sunday school classes. Throughout our 25+ years in Colombia we have had many opportunities to be involved in Sunday school class teaching, teacher training, curriculum development, etc. But we had never quite had the unique experience of this past month.
Last January, when Gary was visiting in the Covenant Church in the El Hato neighborhood of San Carlos, Córdoba, pastor Franklin mentioned that he would like to build a Sunday school room onto the Adonai Covenant Church. But, the unique aspect of this Sunday school room was that it would be a palm thatched roof rectangular kiosk—a design somewhat unique to the coastal area in Colombia. Gary had never had the opportunity to participate in this kind of a building project and Pastor Franklin invited him to come back and help him build it. It took a while for it all to come together, as the Adonai Church gathered the necessary funds for the project (they were in a church remodeling project at the time which would determine exactly where the Sunday school would be built). Gary was also looking for a way to involve other partners in the project.
It all came together when Gary’s sister, Becca, and his brother-in-law, Jim, planned a mission/visit trip to Colombia. Jim is a roofer by trade in Colorado and Gary offered him a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to build a “real roof”, not just one of those roofs that all of you are accustomed to seeing. Gary offered Jim the chance to build a Sunday school area where it would be “Palm Sunday” all year around. So, Jim and Gary participated in all the aspects of the building – digging out the wooden tree trunk columns, building the frame, and gathering and tying the palm “roofing tiles”. All of this was done with a post-hole digger, a shovel, two hammers, a saw, a measuring tape, a ladder (missing the top and bottom rung), a chair, and nails (all used in many ways that Jim had never thought to use them before). We joined Franklin, José, Fernán, and Leo in the project. We didn’t finish the project in the four days we were in El Hato, they still needed to cut more palms and finish off the floor area, but the children of Adonai Covenant in El Hato will soon begin “Singing Praises Under the Palms”