On day 3, I worked with the construction team in the girls’ dorm. Ryan, GYC construction coordinator, said “You can start with sanding the wall.” I was like, what’s that? I had no idea walls need to be sanded, and I thought I was supposed to rub sand on to the wall.
Oh, with the sand paper. Doh.
So for the entire morning I sanded walls. Dusty job, for sure, and hard on the ear. Face mask, goggles, gloves were all employed. I was doing the top half of the walls, so I was up on the risers and beams. To stretch, I would hang to the scaffolds of the roof. I was getting a full body workout that day. It felt great.
During this process, I got to think a lot about faithfulness. The tasks in the kitchen yesterday and sanding walls seemed like menial ones, but they were true tests of faithfulness. I was reading in Education about Elisha and Paul. It says about Elisha,
By faithfulness in little things, he was prepared for weightier trusts. Of a meek and gentle spirit, Elisha possessed also energy and steadfastness. He cherished the love and fear of God, and in the humble round of daily toil he gained strength of purpose and nobleness of character, growing in divine grace and knowledge. While co-operating with his father in the home duties, he was learning to co-operate with God. Education, p. 58
And about Paul,
The greatest of human teachers, Paul accepted the lowliest as well as the highest duties. He recognized the necessity of labor for the hand as well as for the mind, and he wrought at a handicraft for his own support. His trade of tent making he pursued while daily preaching the gospel in the great centers of civilization. “These hands,” he said, at parting with the elders of Ephesus, “have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” Acts 20:34. Education, p. 66.
In the kitchen, in construction, I wanted my work to be excellent. There was not going to be a spot un-sanded in my sections.
I also realized that these tasks were forms of ministry as well. These buildings were for the long-term ministry of VIDA to the people of El Suyatal and surrounding areas. They were just as important as the direct ministry that the medical team did. One was public and one was more private. These were the quiet and unseen ministries, and we are not to be faithful only when our ministry is visible and public.
In sanding and painting these walls, we were ministering to the students who would live there soon. When we do a good job, it saves VIDA from worrying about paints flaking off the wall and repainting it again. It would make the students more comfortable.
We should never consider any task too low to do. Education often causes us to think that we’re too high for certain important work. But true education is about faithfulness, even in the lowliest of duties. In fact, the highest education is achieved when you descend to the lowest position, the best place to serve.
I ran out of steam after three hours and switched to painting. We made good progress that day though. At the end of it, I was covered in dust. Good thing we had showers.