Dale's blog

Work Crews, Construction, and the Cabin Project

This morning (6.10.11), at 12:20A.M., our most recent work crew boarded a bus and headed to Bogotá to catch their early morning flight back home to Kempton Christian Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This is one of Martin Sander’s supporting churches and where my nephew and niece, Patrick and Sasha Gilson are members. Sasha served as our intern at the school a couple of years ago and organized this work crew. They arrived ten days ago and Martin and I had accompanied them down the mountain where we settled in at the church camp and began working on different projects.

The Cabin, Co-Workers, and Work Crews

This past week I was in Villavicencio, sleeping in my tent, and helping a dear friend and a great co-worker with his work crew. Martin Sanders, whom we have known since his childhood, is a great friend and co-worker here in Colombia. He had a work crew in last week and I took time to go down to Villavicencio and help him manage the logistics for the work crew. It was an honor and a privilege to do so. This week he has another group coming and and once again I will head back down to Villavo with them.

Under Roof

The first cabin is under roof now. With a very heavy rainy season hitting the eastern plains with a vengeance, it has been very difficult to work on the roof. Many days the workers would sit under the eaves and wait for the rains to stop. Something on many occasions they never did. As a result, the work on the first cabin has moved at a snail’s pace. But this past week, the final sections of the roof were put in place and the builders could work for the first time even when it was pouring down rain.

Infrastructure Milestone: The installation of Electricity at the Church Camp

This week at the camp, we took a huge step forward in making the land addition usable for camp. A good family friend in Colombia, who happens to be an electrical engineer and has frequently done work for the electrical company, spoke with some friends in the administration of the electric company and smoothed the way for our license for installing electricity to the new camp property, which we had approved a few weeks back. It had been languishing in the electric company office for months with no apparent progress. This long time friend stepped in and got things moving.

Deaf Camp

At the end of April we were able to help with the deaf camp here in Colombia. The deaf church continues to grow and one project dear to their hearts was to realize a deaf camp. We encouraged them in this project and agreed to subsidize several campers. But other than that, the deaf church leaders did all of the planning and organizing for the event. This was a major event that involved a great deal of planning and organizational structure.

Camp Update: The Roof Goes On

This week the workers began the process of installing the roof on the first cabin of the church camp expansion. This is a major step as the rainy season is beginning and the roof will allow them to work inside on the days that it rains. Early in the week they were putting the preservative on the wood and by Thursday the wood was finished. They installed the roof on the garage area of the cabin and on the first of the week they will finish the rest of the cabin roof. By early next week, the entire cabin should be under roof.

Camp Progress With Electrical Service Approved!

This past week I was in Villavo for our first week of deaf camp. Too many deaf wanted to go and so we could not fit all into one week. As a result, we decided to have a mini-camp for the four days preceding the big week. We took the American work crew and a group of the deaf to Villavo to see our camp project and the current facilities. The time was one of rich fellowship and great fun as we tried to understand one another as we worked and played together. We all enjoyed the time very much.

The Cabins are Going Up

April 11, 2011: This morning I saw Gordon Clifford, of Christian Mission Press off at the airport. He had come to Colombia to bring in a load of material and to visit the work. I had taken with me to Saravena, after explaining the risks to him. When we returned from Saravena we immediately took off for Villavicencio the next morning. All week I worked on the the cabin project at the church camp expansion. I made trips to purchase materials and talked over decisions about the construction with the builder and the different sub-contractors and suppliers.

Annual Learning Difficulty Conference

For the last week, Paul Odham, Mindy McCumber taught our annual conferences on identifying and helping children with learning difficulties. We held the sessions in our Christian School and in a large government school in Villavicencio. In the morning we would do diagnostics with a group of ten or fifteen school psychologists from different schools in the city. Then in the afternoon we held training sessions. We did a basic conference and then an advanced conference on applying the methodologies for remediation. One evening we held a training session for parents.

Serving Amid Conflict

This past weekend I made a trip to a small town in the northeast of the country on the Venezuelan border. Since Venezuela continues to arm and provide safe haven for the guerrillas, this continues to be one of the most dangerous and conflictive regions of the country. Where many other areas are now quite safe for tourists and foreigners, travel to this region involves significant risk. But more than a month ago I received an invitation to teach a class to a large group of leaders from this region. The Colombian Christians advised against the trip. They felt the risk was simply too great.

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