Over the past 15 years, I have seen many structures get built to further equip and advance programs at international mission points. The excitement to construct for a worthy cause drives many to volunteer and sacrifice financial resources and time. Yet, as a missionary working full time in Honduras for many years, I found more excitement in building relationships between brothers and sisters brought together through construction project activities. As an architect, I discovered the privilege to work with Honduran building professionals, tradesman, and material suppliers. They also listened to a call to sacrifice for a facility that would serve their community.
One of my richest experiences centered around the electrical installation of a 20,000 square foot medical facility serving the Department of Olancho in the Central American country of Honduras. This activity brought together two men who shared not only a trade, but a God who brought them together to share friendship. Don Felix was a strong Christian man in town known for being fair and reliable to many homeowners and small businessmen. As I interviewed Felix for the electrical installation, it was obvious he did not have knowledge of the systems that had been designed for this modern facility. Yet the values he held high as a professional and person of faith were very needed on our job site and would be essential as this building began a life cycle with anticipated maintenance and growth capacity.
An electrical contractor, Mike Sasser, from the Atlanta area had already participated in the design and material estimating of this intricate electrical installation. With commitments pulling at his time, he still agreed to come and help make this happen with some time in the field. Yet, the installation would take weeks and some parts would have to be separated into different stages of the construction in coordination with floor and ceiling installations. Using the flexibility of both tradesman and the common desire to sacrifice for this building that would serve thousands over the coming years, they agreed to work together. Mike came and worked with Felix and crew to layout one of the circuit panels implementing alternative methods, materials, and safeguards. Felix worked without pay for that week, while learning from Mike. Many laughs, cokes, and tricks of the trade were exchanged as a relationship was built. It was a week of great edification, strengthening the faith of each person involved.
Don Felix would go on to use new knowledge, methods, and tricks to install the other 7 circuit panels with his crew. It would be a project he and his crew would be proud to have in their portfolio. It would further develop his professional growth as an electrician and permit him to obtain bigger projects. Yet, it served most to strengthen his understanding of his purpose as a child of God and the relationship with his brother Mike.