Friday, October 7, 2011

Helping Hands

It would be impossible to list all of the incredible people who need to be thanked for their efforts and sacrifices toward the building of Restore Leadership Academy. The contributions have come in many forms: hours of prayer, financial partnership, and even traveling all the way to the other side of the world to join hands in the physical work.

In July of this year, the Restore construction team welcomed Mike Wire, Kelly and Ryan Sumner, and Eric Ryan. Each of these men possessed unique skills which they employed with rolled up sleeves and willing hearts.

Mike Wire, Ryan Sumner, and Kelly Sumner stand over a recently poured slab for the girl's dorm

Mike, with a background in metal fabrication, helped design and make the metal forms which enabled for smoother mass production of monolithic concrete slabs for our foundations. He worked with Jack, an Acholi man in Gulu who owns the metal fabrication shop that produces our doors and windows, and who was excited to have the opportunity to work with someone of Mike's level of expertise.

Mike drilling holes in a metal form as Cosmos and Komakech assist and learn

Kelly Sumner, who has years of experience as a general contractor, and his son Ryan gave a monumental effort during their month in Uganda. They lived in the hut on the land, and grew close with many of the Restore construction team members as they worked together side by side.

Teaming up to lay A-98 metal mesh on foundation 4

Eric Ryan is one of those unique individuals who can adapt to incredibly diverse environments and rise to the challenges. Despite never having traveled abroad, Eric agreed to fly all the way to Uganda to help with the construction effort for 2 months. He had 3 days of training with me before taking the reins to cover a two week period when Shane and I could not be here. Imagine going from the U.S. to one of the least developed places in the world- struggling to adjust to the heat, dust, poverty, and shear shock of the new environment, as you drive a construction truck on the opposite side of the roughest road you've ever imagined to a project you're leading for the next two weeks...exhausted after finishing the day alive, you go home to find the power's out, and the generator is broken, making communication with the states you decide to go turn the shower on, and the water is out, so now you attempt to splash the dirt and grime off yourself using bucket water from the bore-hole which your neighbor fetches for you... Eric did an incredible job for those two weeks, and the rest of his two months with us in Uganda. He continues to assist with communications, logistics, and finances from Goff & Dewalt's offices in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Eric Ryan hammering away with the assistance of Cherobino

Each of these men would express deep appreciation for the dedication, hard work, and welcoming spirit of the men of the Restore construction team. As I thanked Eric, Mike, Kelly and Ryan for their efforts and sacrifices, without fail they mentioned what a privilege it was to work with the team, and what a blessing their efforts are for the future of Restore Leadership Academy.

Restore construction crew mixing cement for the pouring of the girl's dorms

So we're pressing on here, facing new challenges each day, but asking God for the strength and grace to pursue this endeavor He's given us.