Last week we were in Tshikaji, and had the opportunity to worship with the Lubi II parish. Another phase of the construction of their building has just been completed, and we wanted to see it. For a little background, there was a devastating tornado in the village of Tshikaji in August 2010. The roof of the Lubi II parish blew off, killing one child and injuring a couple of others. We worshipped with them under a plastic tarp the following month, and Bob preached a message from Esther that God can turn our mourning into joy. Several churches and individuals in the U.S. contributed toward the rebuilding in 2011 – about half of the budget. Construction began – foundation laid, walls were built, roof was put on. However, we realized that the roof was not secured well – partly because there were not enough bricks and cement for the walls to reach the roof. Then, in 2012 there was a bad storm, and some local workmen realized that there was significant risk of the new roof blowing off, partly because the temporary support beams were being eaten by termites. In late 2012, two churches, Myers Park Presbyterian Church and Culpeper Presbyterian Church, responded to the urgent need to secure the roof. The walls were extended to the roof, and the roof beams secured. A cement finish was also added to the inside of the church walls. It looks great, and we are much relieved that it is now sturdy and ready to withstand the spring rains. Here is a quick progression of the events in photos:
September, 2010: The original structure, days after the roof fell
October, 2010: Worshipping under the tarp
January, 2012: First phase of construction on the new building completed
We are excited at this process, although we are not yet through with this journey. They still have a dirt floor, no doors, and the cement finish could be added to the outside of the walls to help extend its life. We were encouraged to see the vitality and energy in their worship. They have saved the temporary support beams to use as benches. However, because the church does not have doors, some of these have been stolen. To mitigate that, they store them high on a makeshift “shelf” in the church. One of the youth climbs a pole to get to the shelf on Sunday morning to retrieve some of the boards to use for benches.
Pastor Jonas (below) catches boards as they are lowered by the
young man above to be used for benches.
Sunday morning worship – a full house! The choir singing was a visiting
choir that walked more than 5 miles each way to be with them.
We were also happy to be able to have Bibles to sell at the subsidized price ($4 instead of the $10 retail price). Four people in the Lubi II parish got Bibles during the week that we visited them. The Bread of Life is so much more important than a building…but the building is a huge help for facilitating worship, learning, praying, and the life of the church. When will the journey of this building finish? Only God knows! If you have an interest in helping the Lubi II congregation to finish the construction of their building, instructions for giving are on our projects page. About $7,000 is needed to finish the building.