This week Allen visited two churches, which had asked us for help with their construction projects.
The first project, shown in the following pictures, is located near the town of Belen.
There are certain things we look for, before we consider helping a church financially, with their construction project:
First, the land must be owned by the church, not by an individual.
Second, the church must have enough congregational support to get the foundation and walls constructed without our help. Most of the churches in the rural areas of the mountains are constructed from adobe bricks, and this type of construction isn’t expensive, but it is labor intensive. By the time the congregation has achieved this much of the construction, they will truly feel that the construction of the church is their project, not something the gringos have given to them. Sadly, when outsiders completely give a church to a congregation, it isn’t rare to find that the congregation expects outsiders to pay for ongoing maintenance and other expenses, too. We feel it is important for the church congregation to have full ownership of their building – we just help out some in the process. We’ve also had instances where, when we’ve helped finance an early stage of construction, the churches were slow to continue the construction, seemingly waiting for us to do more. By helping with the roof, we guarantee that after we’ve helped, the church will at least have enough of a structure completed to hold services in.
The church near Belen has fulfilled the first requirement, and they’re on their way toward the second. Allen was able to give them some helpful pointers, on ways they can improve the wall construction, during this visit. Once the walls are completed, if we have the funds available, we will purchase supplies needed for the construction of the church roof.
I plan to post about the second church construction project tomorrow.