We have known Doña Irene for over 20 years now. She has worked with us off and on over the years in different ways at Quinta Havilah (Open Hearts headquarters, where we live and host teams that come to work with us in ministry). Last month, she asked us to help her build a bridge. She shared how she and her family have to drop down into a dry river bed, then back up the other side every time they go to church. I think her direct quote was “Can you build a bridge so my mother and I can get to church, our old bridge was wiped away last rainy season?” How can you say no to that?! Krista and I love these type of opportunities the Lord just brings to you randomly. It was a chance to really bless Irene and her whole community.
The problem is we have zero clue how to build a bridge, LOL! So, I went and visited to talk with her and her husband Arturo at their house. They showed me the place where the bridge was washed away last rainy season. You can’t really tell from the picture but it is a good 12 foot drop into that river bed. Irene shared a little more, explaining how it wasn’t just her and her mother that use the bridge. All of the children pass through on their way to school to avoid having to walk an extra mile the long way. But, in the rainy season without the bridge it would be so dangerous. And really, even though it is on their land, she said this path is used daily by everyone in their community.
This pile of rubble is all that was left of their old “bridge”. They had basically used old materials to create a bridge over the ravine, but as you can see it is surprising that it didn’t fall sooner, and a miracle nobody was ever injured. After talking with Irene and Arturo we realized they had welders and masons ready to do the work and had a plan, they just needed financial help….prayers answered! Because, we were wanting to help financially but had zero idea how to even plan a bridge. It was a the perfect match…a real God moment! Here is a picture of the plans they drew up.
So we prayed together, talked over the details of how it would all come together, and we pulled the trigger to go for it! It was so fun because we started getting text messages from other people we know who live in her neighborhood. They were saying how excited all their kids were, how thankful they were, offering to help in any way…it was a very encouraging experience.
It was one of those moments for us when we realize that there is ministry we run on a daily basis that God has called us too. But, there is also the simple fact of us just being here where God wants us to be. And that allows us opportunities to be used by him in very random ways…..like building a bridge! Praise Jesus!
Once we got the ball rolling it only took about a week to build the bridge. It was pretty amazing. You can see in the picture that it isn’t the largest architectural feat in all of human kind, but it was a first for us. It was really special to be a part of this…and if you are reading this we hope you are encouraged too. Your prayers for our family, your prayers for God’s guidance, your financial support, and your continued encouragement and affirmation to us personally….you helped build a sweet little bridge!
We are about to enter the rainy season, so the timing could not be more perfect! Irene and her mother will be able to walk to church with ease. Children will able to get to school safely during the heavy rain storms. Friends and neighbors will be able to visit each other with ease. God is good, in so many ways. We were so excited to help Doña Irene and Don Arturo bless their neighborhood!