Tuesday, May 1, 2007

When is a Brick More Than a Brick? (FBC, Greenville, SC partnership)

A partnership is about more than bricks and mortar. Thirteen men from FBC-Greenville traveled to Kekcse, Hungary the last week of April and put aside their trowels, shovels and wheelbarrows whenever approached by curious Gypsy kids or adults wishing to communicate. The result of the week was not only a new fence surrounding the church, a new concrete pad for outdoor activities, new guttering, a new outdoor toilet and new roofing but new and personal relationships with Roma church members as well as community residents. Every team member took with them faces and names that they will long remember and for whom they will often say prayers.

Having previously provided the funding to buy a used house, FBC-Greenville sent a skilled team to renovate the church property. The Roma folks willingly joined in the labor with women and girls carrying buckets of water for the cement mixer, kids hammering nails into the new WC, young men shoveling the gravel and cement mix into the mixer. Ladies prepared typical Roma meals for lunch for the hungry crew and the leftovers provided meals for nearby residents who were struggling to buy food at the end of the month.

The team also led worship in four Roma churches with testimonies, preaching and blue-grass music including guitars, a banjo and a dobro. One highlight among many was the presentation of a communion table, hand-crafted by team member Danny Butcher. Clapping and shrieks of joy accompanied the unveiling! This table had been dedicated the previous Sunday in the worship service at FBC-Greenville. There were many fingerprints and smudges following that dedication in Greenville as members prayed over the table but Danny chose not to wipe them off – deciding instead to let the Kekcse Roma know how much love and prayer accompanied the gift.

The bags of team members were lighter on the return flight what with having giving away hats, work gloves and tool belts. There were some scraped knuckles, sore muscles and sunburned arms. Most of all there was a sense of joy at having joined with Roma Christians from Kekcse and local CBF field personnel to strengthen the witness of God’s love in a remote village in eastern Hungary. That’s partnership!

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