Raising the Roof in Nicaragua

| |

Every January you can find a group of dedicated volunteers from DeMotte, Ind., somewhere in Central America, building something.

They are members of Christian Reformed churches in DeMotte, and they have gained a reputation for excellence at welding and working with steel over the past 15 years.

Bob Gabrielse, a DeMotte attorney, and his wife, Arla, organize the trips. They meet each year with a representative of Worldwide Christian Schools to find out where the team’s skills can best be used.

“We are a goal-oriented team. We bring welding equipment, saws, grinders, and lots of other equipment on the plane,” Bob Gabrielse said. “Projects like this must be highly organized.”

This past January nine men and six women traveled to Managua, Nicaragua, to build a two-story church that will be shared with neighboring Gamaliel Christian School.

Local workers took down the old one-story church. Paint, steel, and roofing materials were on site when the DeMotte team arrived.

The women painted numerous steel beams and moved scaffolding, while the men put together the beams, welded them in place, and put on the roof.

Meanwhile, team artists painted three murals on the courtyard walls. The local church will put up the concrete walls of the church building.

Each DeMotte volunteer pays his or her own way for the trip. Offerings from the four Indiana Christian Reformed churches involved paid the $17,000 for project materials. “The offering is always exactly what we need. God provides,” said Gabrielse.

About the Author

Ruth Moblard DeYoung, a former Banner news correspondent and teacher, writes children's books. She is a member of Hope Christian Reformed Church in Oak Forest, Ill.