“Heavy lifting” for vocational skills training!
The maintenance facility saw significant progress this past month and although lots of work remains, the most challenging and daunting part of the job has been accomplished! The over one ton, 14 meter long, steel I-beams were assembled and installed and the 10, eighteen meter trusses were manufactured and erected with part of the roof already on. Besides this a significant part of the electrics are also installed.
Rick Cogbill of Mercy Tech Missions was joined by Bob, Bob and Don from the Summerland Baptist church. Before coming on this trip, these already capable guys went to the extra effort of learning how to weld (or at least improving their welding skills) with the help of Sherwood, a welding instructor from their hometown of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada. Those skills paid off as they faced a mass of steel waiting patiently to be made into trusses and beams and purlins to hold a very big steel roof in place over the maintenance shop. Although progress was slowed by unforeseen challenges and obstacles faced, their accomplishment was nothing short of amazing. An added blessing was that no one was injured (at least no one fessed up to being injured), or became too ill during their entire month stay!
Don is an electrician and had requested two young Mozambicans anxious to learn all he could teach them while he was here. Although language was an issue, Revi and Vasco were able to communicate well enough in English to learn a lot about electrics and installation. Since the electrical supplies were delayed by almost two weeks, Don had time to teach them some theory as well as do some assessment of the present electrical system here at the mission. You may think balancing your check book is a challenge, well try balancing the electrical load on a plethora of connections going every which way from a generator room in the middle of Mozambique. Well Don did an amazing job of teaching, balancing and at the same time exercising tons of patience since he was never certain if the electrical supplies ordered would arrive in time for him to install. Many people were praying and finally, due the generosity of ACDC in Nelspruit, Provisao in Maputo, and Servir Mozambique (a trucking service) all the electrics arrived at a significant discount and the transport was done for free! There were even additional tools and kits for the guys who were to be trained donated by ACDC…what a blessing. The grin on Don’s face says it all!
Bob was able to focus some of his “spare” time providing further training for our two carpenters on the lathe! Besides Bob’s other hobbies (like collecting stones), is turning wood bowls. He is also a member of a wood turning club in Summerland. The club has been involved from the beginning of this project and this time they sent a donation which purchased a bench grinder to sharpen tools for the lathe. They also donated a bunch more lathe turning tools.
During the visit of another cooperating mission, it was discovered (by the cooperating mission) that we had a very capable lathe and it just so happened that they had just been given a contract by our National Wildlife Park (Gorongoza) to turn wood stools. “But we don’t have the capability to do it, could you do the work for us?” “You bet we can try,” was our reply! So Bob helped Gabriel and Pindurai get stuck into the project and the Park loved the stool. We now have a contract for 20 more and who knows what more may develop. Here is a perfect example of how giving Mozambicans a skill enables them to earn a living and make a difference. Our dream is for Gabriel and Pindurai to become proficient and start to train other young people.
Although the four “heavy lifters” are now safely back in Canada, we are so grateful for their time out here and momentum gained on these projects. Please pray with us all as we fund-raise to finish the construction of the maintenance shop and as we explore the way forward to provide systematic mechanic training with discipleship. This past weekend we had a visit from a commercial farmer in our area who asked if we would be willing to serve him and his maintenance needs. Another perfect example of how this facility can be used to earn its keep and provide sound Christ-centered training!