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Honduran Project Reflects the Lord in the Ring

Work teams from miles apart witness the Lord’s presence in a missing ring.

By the Rev. Neal Sadler

 

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The sun was hot, our clothes were drenched in sweat and our bodies were covered with dirt. The trenches and adjacent piles of dirt revealed the fruit of the day’s labor, our first day’s work at the Habitat site in El Progreso, Honduras. 

It was 5:00 and we were ready for a shower and a good dinner. Our brigade felt good about this first day until Joe realized his wedding ring was missing, undoubtedly buried somewhere in the many piles of dirt. Finding the ring seemed an impossible task, and we had no time left in the day for a search.

That night as we reflected on the day’s events, the loss of Joe’s wedding ring seemed to cast a cloud over our brigade. We offered the ring to the Lord, asked for God’s comfort for Joe and prayed that if possible the ring might be returned.

As we arrived at the work site the next morning, refreshed and eager for another day’s work, the neighbors were there to greet us. One of the young women smiled, approached Joe and placed his wedding ring in his hand. For two hours the previous night, adults and children in the neighborhood had searched through the piles of dirt, and right before dark had found Joe’s ring. We all celebrated.

Our brigade was overwhelmed by the love and caring of the Honduran people. We had known them only one day. Yet, they cared for us so deeply that they eagerly spent hours sifting through piles of dirt to find the ring of one of our members. Habitat brings people together, people from different countries and cultures, into one community of faith.

At the end of Chapter 12 in the book of Romans, the apostle Paul gives wonderful counsel for Christian community. He writes, “Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.” Christians share one another’s joys. We share one another’s burdens. The work of Habitat not only provides simple decent housing, it provides opportunities for persons to experience the blessings of Christian fellowship. 

Rev. Neal Sadler is the senior pastor of the St. Matthew United Church of Christ in Wheaton, Ill. He has led teams to build Habitat houses in the United States and in Honduras and Costa Rica.