That’s a wrap!

This article is shared with the permission of Shook Construction! We were so honored to have this company and this team share an amazing time of building buildings, and more importantly, building relationships. Shook is an amazing company with great people and with an incredible passion to make a difference in their world! During their time in Mozambique, they built accommodation units for three teachers at our school. A sincere thank you from SAM Ministries’s board and our entire team of supporters, staff and missionaries along with the good people of Mozambique who you  came to serve!


Hello, Shook family! Although the final leg of our Dayton crew’s journey to return home from Newark, NJ was reminiscent of the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles with the great John Candy and Steve Martin, the entire Mission Trip team did finally make it home to our families late Friday night. While it was fantastic to be reunited with our loved ones, it is safe to say that we will never forget our new friends in Mozambique.  


Many of you have asked me how the trip was, and my response has been that every hope and expectation I had leading into the trip was exceeded. I absolutely fell in love with the people of Mozambique. Those that we were around were the kindest, happiest, and most generous folks I’ve met. They were quick to flash a smile and wish you “Bom Dia” (Good Morning) or break into a song and dance. The land itself was breathtakingly beautiful, with gorgeous wildflowers, lush forests, and granite mountains jutting up 5,000-feet from an otherwise flat landscape. However, there was also extreme poverty which, despite our best efforts, we were not truly prepared to witness. The hardest part for me was reconciling these two realities: the beauty of the people and the land, and the heartbreak of seeing people who have nothing and must live hand to mouth every single day.

I’m proud that our team was able to not only complete the construction of the teacher’s dormitory as originally planned but also finish a room addition to an existing dormitory; this means we built a total of three bedrooms in one week! The best part of the construction was working alongside our Mozambican counterparts who quickly became our friends. These men were extremely skilled craftsmen – Lance Harris told me he would gladly take any one of them on his crew. Their finishing skills with the cementitious parge coating that was applied to the block walls were particularly impressive. This was definitely not a case of first-world workers showing third-world workers how to do it. We shared things with them, they shared with us, and we truly learned from one another and developed into a strong, cohesive team by the end of the week.


There are so many people who played a part in this trip happening and in its ultimate success. I’d be remiss to not acknowledge them for their involvement, and would like to thank the following on behalf of our entire crew:

  • Bill Whistler – For putting international mission trips on the Shook radar. Without your vision, this trip would not have happened.
  • Chris Halapy and the entire Executive Leadership Team of Shook Construction – For your unwavering support, and for trusting the judgement of our Mission Trip Committee when we recommended a trip halfway around the world to Mozambique.
  • Dr. Roger and Katy Pacholka (In His Name Ministries) – For introducing us to SAM Ministries and holding our hand every step of the way. From the medical consultations to meeting us at the airport in Johannesburg, you said, “follow us” in your own gentle way and led us on a journey you’ve taken many times yourselves. Your kindness, grace, and love cannot be overstated.
  • Dwight and Lynn Lagore (SAM Ministries) – For being such phenomenal hosts and, more importantly, for unconditionally loving the beautiful people of Mozambique each and every day. You care for them exactly where you find them today and have the vision to see who they can become tomorrow. Your leadership skills absolutely blew us away, and our lives are far richer for having met you.
  • Our Missionary Friends from SAM Ministries (Andy Kuret, Shannon Weiss, Janette Stone, and Joao Benjamim) – For the passion you have for the Mozambican people and for dedicating your lives to being difference makers in the Mucombeze community. You are true inspirations.
  • Mercy Air (Jeremy Boddington, Paul Middleton, John Herbert, Holger Ziessler, and Joel Baertschi) – For safely transporting our team from Kruger to SAM Ministries and back again. Your love for the African people and for the work you do is quite evident. The tail wing of the Kodiak we flew in read “Wings of Love to People in Need”, and that says it all.
  • ManaVision, Inc. (Sam Manavis and Mike King), our video production team – For your dedication to capture as much content as possible before, during, and after this trip. I cannot wait to see the documentary that you will create.
  • Our Planning Committee (Randy Beck, Dan Wolking, Matt Gilroy, and Jeff DeRamus) – For all the hours of planning you put into making this trip a reality. It would not have happened without you.
  • Last but certainly not least, Our Families – For allowing us to go on this amazing trip and for holding down the fort in our absence. We love you and appreciate your sacrifice!
If you have interest in planning and/or participating in a future Shook Mission Trip please  Indicate your interest in planning, participating, or both.  If you are a field employee, please note that you are valued, and your skills are needed.  We would love more participation from our field craftspeople on these trips.