WHAT’S LEFT TO DO?
Some of you have asked what’s left to accomplish concerning our house. Although the inside was liveable when we left, there are several things to be done when we return. The biggest thing to do is build our kitchen cabinets. Daniel is hoping to take this task on as soon as we get to the village so that when language study starts, he won’t have that monkey on his back. I wish we could just go to IKEA and import our favorite kitchen cabinets and install them ourselves. Alas… Instead, we’ll have buy our own lumber (more than likely imported from another country since Burkina Faso doesn’t really have too many hardwood trees), set it out to dry on our roof for a few weeks (so it doesn’t warp after building the cabinets), then make the cabinets from scratch. Daniel is ready for the challenge. I’m sure I’m ready for how much time that’s gonna consume 😉
Here’s a little to-do list for your personal enjoyment:
- Buy wood, dry wood, build cabinets
- Screen in our space on the roof where we’ll sleep during the hottest part of the year. We’re looking forward to hanging our Brazilian hammock up there! (Thanks Thais!)
- Try to find some way of waxing our tiles to replace grout and put a shine back on them.
- Use acid to scrub concrete and paint off our our tiles in the bathroom and all floors
- Due to security protocols we’ll need to reinforce the windows in the boys’ room and make sure their metal door closes appropriately
- Make sure our water pump for our well is functioning properly
- Move some furniture we bought off of missionaries leaving the field from the capital to our village (9 hours away)
- Get the homeschool room ready and organized (Gag!)
- And I’m sure I’ve forgotten tons of stuff that we’ll end up doing once we get back.
So if there’s anyone itching to come over and help with any of these items on our to-do list, you’re more than welcome!!
CONSTRUCTION PAUSE: I thought I would give you an update about where we left off with our house before we left on furlough (although most of you know from facebook). I wish I had taken better pictures before we left. We were in such a flurry with packing and taking care of our visitors (my Grandma and her friend) that pictures were an afterthought. We stayed in our new home all of 8 days before leaving and enjoyed every bit of it. What a blessing to be in a bigger place…with ceiling fans!! We got both porches screened and the inside painted. The courtyard wall with gates finally got finished 3 days after we left.
These are the best “inside” pix we managed to remember to take. (See my Grandma in our kitchen?!) Despite the flaws and unmet expectations, we LOVE our house and are excited to get back and finish it and make it a home. We still need to screen in our porch on top of the roof and more importantly, build and install kitchen cabinets.
Currently our coworkers are living in our house while they build theirs behind ours. When we first found out we were expecting baby Joanna, we were bummed that we’d have to take off so soon after moving into our house, but God knew in advance that our early departure would allow for our coworkers to move in and be onsite for their house construction. We continue to pray that they will have the means to finish their house by the time we return at the end of the year. Pray for them as they go through the headaches of networking and building.
We want to thank all of you again for giving so this dream could become a reality. We only had 1/5 of the funds when we started and God was faithful to bring in the necessary funds each month to keep the ball rolling. We are humbled by your faithfulness and count it a privilege to be partners with you. We trust that God will use this home for His glory and that it will be used to reach the Bolon with His message! (Scroll down to the bottom and read back up to follow our construction from the beginning!)
NOVEMBER UPDATE: It’s that time again folks…another construction update. I wish I could say we’re ready to move in, but, alas…tis not so. There has been some progress, however small. This biggest change has been that one of our masons almost died on site due to some poor life choices, but we rejoice in God’s mercy and protection. Our second mason had to return to town for the birth of his child. All of this halted the work for a bit. Now we have a crew leveling the floor (which wasn’t done in the beginning as it should have been) and then they will tile the floor. After the that we’ll have a crew come in and paint. And at some point during all this, the windows will be getting installed and the porch walls and screening worked on. Now the pix…
Daniel has worked hard at cementing in our septic holes. Chipping away at the rock is HARD work!!
Our courtyard wall is going up!! We had to move the dirt road a little to the right so we’ll have a little of the rocky road inside our yard. But at least the yard will look more like a square 😉
The front and back porches are halfway done! They still need a low wall around them and screens put in.
Our roof porch has gone up too! This is where we’ll be sleeping during hot season. We get a nice breeze up there. It will also have to be walled and screened. We’ll install our solar panel system on the right side of the roof.
It’s not all work and no play. There’s snack time when the Fulani women come around with their curdled milk. Yum 😉 Just kidding…we don’t drink/chew that stuff, but the locals love it. Micah found a hole in the wall that soon got plastered and filled. We try to go out to the work site at least once a week with the kids and count our blessings as we see the house take shape. It may not be going as fast as we’d like or looking exactly like we’d planned…but it’s OUR future home that GOD has blessed us with. And HE WILL continue to provide!
OCTOBER UPDATE: Since last month’s house update was so nice with all the pix and videos, I felt bad having to delete it to write a new one. Unfortunately with the wordpress account I have, I can only have one “blog” like page that allows for new updates while archiving old ones. So, excuse the clutter on this page 😉
I wish I could say that our move is imminent. Alas, it feels as if time stands still over here. We’ve had several mishaps that have delayed progress. I’ll list a few.
After picking out tiles in the capital and paying to reserve them, they were sold to someone else. This in turn meant that the ones that got shipped to us were not ours…not even the same color! Wow. So we had to wait two weeks before being able to deal with this issue face to face. There were no apologies, no explanations. I was flabbergasted. But, this week, the situation was resolved and I ended up with a “cousin” of the tile we’d originally chosen AND paid for. Hmpf.
Next, there’s the issue of our front door. After drawing 3 designs, confirming with more than one worker, and multiple telephone calls…it was built incorrectly. Now we can’t just go purchase a metal door here. It has to be welded from scratch. Instead of being up front and explaining the hold up…we found out in a round about way that the owner was waiting for someone else to purchase the messed up door so he could then use that money to repurchase the materials to rebuild our door. Ugh. The realities of business here make deadlines IMPOSSIBLE to set, much less meet. Just breathe, Stef!
Then there’s the plumbing… Daniel left a blueprint with our foreman who showed it to the plumber and explained what was to be done. The plumber simply did his own thing and said that our plan didn’t make sense and therefore he wouldn’t adhere to it. Awesome. This meant having to have a “heart to heart” with the plumber (from a distance because we were in the capital at the time) and giving him the opportunity to redo the work correctly and earn his wage. We’ll find out this week if he did just that.
I’ll stop there so not as to stress some of you out. As you can see, we might need a vacation when this house is done! We might just move in and hide for a week, ha! But let’s end on a good note. Here is where we’re at right now in the construction:
- We were able to purchase the materials to build our front and back porches that will hopefully be built this week.
- Daniel should finish up the plumbing this week.
- The doors and window bars should be installed by the end of the week
- If #3 is done, then the window guys can come from town and install the windows next week.
- Then we’ll be left with tiling the floors and painting the house 🙂
I dare not speculate on WHEN all of this will be accomplished…but I’m hoping to be in our new home by mid-November. Hey, a girl can hope and plan, right?!
PRAY that we get a few more brick cutters to help speed up the construction process. We still need more bricks for our courtyard wall and storage building.
Plastering the walls and ceiling
Slowly but surely…
We’re SO thankful for being able to purchase solar panel equipment via another mission who shipped stuff over on a container (boat)! They even allowed us to finance the materials for up to a year! We not only loaded up our stuff, but also another team’s materials too. (So no, all of these aren’t for us. We’re not trying to power the whole village…although it’d be a nice gesture 🙂
It was quite the project to get these fragile panels the 6 hours to our closest town. We were able to ship the batteries on out to the village in a truck bed of sand 😉 Now we have to figure out a way to safely get the panels out.
PRAY that God would continue to provide financially for us to keep our agreement and pay things off within the year.
Thank you all so much for your financial and prayer support! We couldn’t have gotten this far without YOU!
PS The mystery meat in the September update below was DOG. Yuck 😦
SEPTEMBER UPDATE: Well, we’re almost in September and we’re still not in our new home. The new projected date is “by the end of October, I promise Madame!”. Since I updated last though, our roof has been poured! It needs to sit about 2 more weeks, so in the meantime the porches are (hopefully) getting worked on and fruit trees holes are being dug. The ground is super hard! There have been so many frustrating moments that God has turned into joy either from teaching us a meaningful lesson or simply working a situation out as only He can. Although this phase of life isn’t without its heartburn and headaches, God continues to be a faithful Father. So, where are we with the progress?
The electrician has come out to look at Daniel’s blueprint and has begun installing tubing for the light switches, outlets, and ceiling fans. That’s right. We’re gonna have ceiling fans!! And there’s nothing more frustrating then having a ceiling fan in the center of a bedroom. Who puts their bed in the middle of the room?! So, we’ve tried to think through where we’ll be putting beds to maximize the air flow of the fans. So much to think about…
Then we paid for eucalyptus trees to be cut down to serve as poles for holding up the wooden box the cement roof was to be poured into. (How do ya like those laymen (wifey) terms?!) What a job! About 140 trees were cut from this man’s tree farm. What a smart guy! He knew people would need these trees for construction jobs, so years ago he began planting. This is his livelihood…just like some folks are welders, carpenters, etc. Neat, huh?! (Too bad there aren’t any koalas in our neck of the woods 😦 )
Next they built the wooden frame (held up by the tree posts) and started laying the planks on top . JJ loves going up on the roof. He doesn’t mind the shaky ladders. Elijah and I don’t need that much excitement in our lives 😉 Thanks, but no thanks.
Then we called the metal worker to come back and begin laying down the rebar that will help hold the cement in place and make for a sturdy roof. I bet you’re wondering how they mix the cement and get it up top. No cement mixer here!
Here’s the key to this whole process: backbreaking work!! This guy’s hat had me laughing! See the bear ears? He and his partner up top had a nice rhythm going. He was actually throwing the cement bucket up to his buddy. Watch the video!
There can be a LOT of people on the worksite on any given day. Hardworking people get hungry. And they may or may not decided to eat… I’ll let you take a guess at what domestic animal that is 😦
The semi-finished product!! YAY!!
Keep praying because there’s still so much left to do! (Fruit tree hole diggers below)
We’re still trying to decide on floor tiles, wall paint, windows, etc. There isn’t a Lowe’s Hardware store around 😉 These windows have to be welded from scratch. We need metal window frames, glass put in them, a metal frame with mosquito screen, and anti-theft bars on the outside. And they’re not cheap!
Pray for the safety of the workers, machinery, our vehichle, etc. because rainy season comes with its share of difficulties. One of which is the overflow puddle from the little dam as we cross a river on the way to our village. Feel free to lift your feet with me as we cross “our” Jordan! I do it every time…as if it helps keep the water out of the motor 😉
Although often we feel like we’re just holding on, along for the ride, we know that God is going ahead of us and paving the way. Pray that we can ENJOY THIS JOURNEY, right here and right now. Sometimes the stress of everything can be defeating. Pray that we can rest in Him and His timing and not get bogged down with the missed deadlines and the unmet expectations. Although the ride may be bumpy…it’s our road to travel. And we will praise Him along the way!
We are grateful to so many who have given towards this project so far. We’re trusting God for the rest of the funds to come in. We’re also counting on God to build relationships and keep us sane throughout this process!
It’s exciting to think I’ll eventually have a guest room (for YOU) and a school room for the boys! So, when do you wanna come visit?
Would you consider partnering with us in this project?
PRAY–The closer we get to making over FINAL MOVE, the more the enemy will do whatever it takes to prevent it. Pray for continued favor among the Bolon and for open doors for the Gospel. There are those among the village council that are nervous about our arrival out of fear that we would cause division by speaking God’s truth. Pray that the funds will be there to finish the house over the next 3 months. Pray that we’ll be able to find suitable building materials that will last.
GIVE–– Right now we have around $35,000 out of the $50,000 estimated total. This total would be enough to dig our well, clear the land, and build a wall around our property. Would you consider giving towards our roof? Our well? Our solar equipment?
You make give online at http://usa.ntm.org/missionaries/daniel-and-stephanie-dias Just make sure you designate your gift to go into our housebuilding project fund. You can also write a check to New Tribes Mission 1000 E. First St. Sanford, FL 32771. In the memo section you will need to write: Daniel Dias-Housebuilding Project
All donations are tax deductible.
Send us an email at email@example.com to let us know how you’re planning on participating!