20 April 2006

He is Risen!

Today is the big day! He is Risen, He is Risen indeed! This morning when we got up were just a little bit tired out from all of the activities leading up to this great day of Easter but as ever thankful for what it means to each of us to know that the King Lives!

Being into the kingdom building stuff let me give you a run down on our more recent activities. Angelika has been running flat out for a week preparing and helping teach girls at a retreat for young women which was held at our church over this weekend. The retreat was the first of its kind ever to have been hosted at our church in Bouaké and it was a hit! About 35 girls arrived from the surrounding region for two days of cooking, teaching, singing, drama, and all the other stuff young women like to do when they get together. Needless to say, my involvement was at a distance trying to support Angelika as she jumped into it with both feet. What a woman, that one! I couldn’t believe it when I saw her load up a stove and haul it into the church to teach the girls how to bake cakes and cookies. Now, you might think that I got some of the goodies; after all, it was my stove they took! No way! I think that the only thing I got out of the deal was a clean stove. Don’t be feeling sorry for me though, I really don’t need all that cake around here. Angelika was thinking about me after all!

While Angelika was busy with preparations for the girl’s retreat I have been busy cutting and welding steel to make a gin pole of sorts to help lift heavy trusses. This is in preparation for a church roofing project which some of you have been following in recent months. The church in question is in a village called Sepikaha which is north of Bouaké about two and a half hour’s drive north. Sepikaha has had walls built for over 10 years and they have been asking and waiting for technical help on how to build the trusses for their span and then lift them into place. We will be hosting a team of 8 young men who plan to arrive in Sepikaha the 2nd of May. We will work for two weeks and hope that within that time frame we will be able to get the trusses built, place them on the walls and put up the roof.

It sounds easy enough when you think in terms of cranes, rental lifts and building supply stores in every town. Our problem is that Sepikaha is a long way from a building supply store and it is impossible to rent a lift or a crane for raising trusses. Therefore I find myself cutting and welding steel these days with the hope that what I am building will be useful for many different church roofing projects. In the end what I am putting together will be a cross between a "pole derrick" and a "jinniwink" according to the US Army FM 5-125 chapter 5 "Lifting and Moving Equipment". I plan to mount an 8000 lbs truck winch (donated by a friend in Medford, Oregon for this purpose. Thanks loads Jim, it works great!) at the base for lifting purposes routed through a pulley at the top of an 8 meter long and 18 cm steel "I" beam pole. My counter balance is a 14cm steel "I" beam which will be chained to the 8 meter pole as well as guyed to a 5 ton in-line cable come-along. All in all I think it is going to be able to lift a fair amount and for a good while. The plan is to set it up next week and have the French military engineers look it over for problems and then try it out. I figure if it can lift the front end of one of their trucks we should be in business. No, I will not try it out on my truck first!

I hope to include some rudimentary drawings of my invention which might help you pray more intelligently for this fool and the gang that is coming out to work with him! Those of you who know the fool well know that this is one of those things that I get a kick out of. So far I have scrapped only one job but if I think and draw and plan any more I may start all over again. After last week and the sore muscles I am hoping that this plan is for good.

Oh yes, I have now over 10 bee hives with colonies in them and they are getting active this time of year. The other day the Catholic sisters from down the road were by and they asked if they could purchase two of our hives. They have had some more colonies move in and apparently need more place for them. They have agreed to trade wax foundations for the hives which will be great for me having started to mess around a bit with the European style hives. I have certainly enjoyed the hood and smoker I got from South Africa. They are so much better than the stuff we were using. It is reassuring to know that no matter how angry the bees get they just can’t get to you. Of course anyone else in the vicinity not so well protected can get the ride of their life if they are not careful. So it is with the bees.