Wow. There's so much to write. Brent and the men came back with so many stories and testimonies of GOD's sovereignty. Here are just a few.
1.The few days before the trip I spent hours and hours calling consulates and embassies trying to find out how they could bring in a Dingo (mini back hoe) so they could dig the foundation which was full of boulders the size of small cars. Basically the final word was that they couldn't bring it without paying exhorbitant duty fees. And, if they did attempt it, they could face imprisonment! They had felt like God had assembled them to do all the blockwork since they had skills that the other groups didn't have. Yet, it seemed like all they would be spending their time doing is digging out boulders with shovels and picks since they couldn't get any heavy equipment down there.
Well, the NIGHT BEFORE they left, Chad left a message on our answering machine that God had provided a back hoe! The Presidente of San Rafael decided he liked Chad and wanted to support the work he was doing and sent a back hoe to him! When the men all arrived in Mexico, the foundation had been dug! God is so Awesome!
2. The last of the Passports finally arrived the DAY BEFORE they left! God's timing is not ours!!!
3. Going through the border was very intimidating and uncertain. God provided a way to allay their fears, though. There were 2 missionaries in El Paso that met them and helped them cross the border. They actually rode in the vehicles and helped them fill out their paperwork. That was such a huge blessing since none of the men knew how to speak a lick of Spanish!
4. When the trailer with all the tools did get searched, the border guard seemed bothered by the tools. He was saying something in Spanish but Luke just shrugged and said "I don't know. No. No." And he let them go through!
5. While they were doing all the concrete work, God provided them with energy and strength to dig the sand and gravel out of the river to make the mortar. They only had one hand mixer so one of the evenings when they had walked up to Divisidero they saw a mixer in the parking lot of the big hotel. They asked the owner if they could borrow it and he said "yes"! That made the work go so much faster.
6. Each day it rained in the afternoon causing them to have to stop their work. By Wednesday they had run out of concrete bags and were expecting the last truckload of concrete. It didn't come. Still later in the day it had not come! They stopped and prayed that God would provide the concrete in time so the rain would not cause them to stop. They weren't going to be able to finish before they had to leave for home. Brent said he fully expected to see the truck pull up shortly after they finished praying to build their faith. But God didn't see fit to allow that on Wednesday. The rain came, and the truckload didn't come until the end of the day. They weren't able to do as much as they had hoped but they were able to take a trip down into the canyon and visit a small village of Tarahumara children. This, it seems, was the highlight of many of them! But, the most amazing thing happened on Thursday (their last day)! God provided them with tons of supernatural energy and they poured more concrete than the other days combined! AND, as Blake pointed out, IF they HAD received the concrete on Wednesday they would have poured it and it wouldn't have had time to dry before the rain came in the evening and it would have been ruined! Amazingly, God in His ultimate sovereignty didn't allow it to rain Thursday- at all! They only day it DIDN'T rain! They were able to finish the whole floor and completed so much more than Chad had hoped!
7. The trip out of Mexico was a lot longer than they had planned. This was because Chad's truck broke down part of the way (he was heading home to Colorado for a few weeks) and they had to pull it behind one of their vehicles. If the men hadn't been there, Chad would have been stuck trying to get his vehicle fixed on his own!
8. Since they lost about 8 hours dealing with Chad's vehicle, they decided they didn't have time to stop at a hotel as they had planned. So, they chose to drive the 52 hours straight home! But, God provided them with energy and alertness to do it! And, they were able to arrive back to church shortly after the Sunday service was over instead of at midnight! There was a huge group of friends and family to greet them!
These are just a few of the many stories they told of seeing God's hand in the trip. Brent said it was an incredibly spiritually growing time. The men's hearts seemed to really go out to the Tarahumara people and they are hoping that God will provide a way to return next year to serve Him there.