Engineering work is rarely seen as something that can bring people to tears...
...but that's what happened as I talked with Les Peters, Field Director and founder of Impact Ministries, during a video interview last month. To be fair, it wasn't the plans or the calculations or the renderings or the report that brought Les' emotions to the surface.
I had a lengthly 40-minute chat with Les about eMi's involvement in designing a new orphanage in partnership with Impact in Tactic, Guatemala. It had been 8 months since our team was there, but Les' memory was sharp. After all of my questions, I asked him if there was anything else he'd like to share.
"Yeah...ummm...I guess I would just add one more thought..."
Les' expression had changed. As he thought back to February, his eyes began to water a bit. He collected himself and shared his experience of our presentation to the orphanage committee on our last day in Tactic.
"I recall the last meeting that the eMi team had with our national board. It was about a two-hour meeting, and it was honestly the most remarkable thing I've been involved in for a number of years..."
He went on to describe how eMi was "dreaming with" their Guatemalan staff.
"We felt their hearts," he said, referring to our team, "and the Guatemalans were so grateful."
He continued on, describing how he felt as had observed our two groups - the eMi team and the orphanage committee - come together to create something real out of the vision that God had given the committee.
"...it was just one of those remarkable moments where you say 'THIS is God at work'."
I got chills when Les said this. I've experienced it over and over on eMi trips. We get to hear the visions and plans that God has for these ministries and those that they serve. They have so much faith, so much hope. I love being present for their reactions when they first see a tangible version of what they've had in their heads and their hearts for years.
These visions are dreamt up by the ministries. The reports and plans are completed by trained engineers, architects and surveyors. But one thing is undeniable. It's not the ministry at work. It's not our team at work.
THIS is God at work.
See below for a video of Les' interview
Giving Voice to Vision - eMi & Impact Ministries
Liz and I are still working hard to reach the goal we feel God has given us in our support raising.
We've learned over the last few years that this is an ongoing process. God changes our circumstances and adjusts our goal to match that.
To be sustainable in ministry, we believe God is continuing to call more people to join our support team. Given the fact that our family is not likely done growing, and uncertainty around what Liz will do when she is done maternity leave, continuing to grow our support team is urgent.