My last post was almost a year ago, and I am sure you are aware that construction resumed in October pushed by by the optimism and strong faith of the Solid Rock board. As the one year anniversary came around and then again as we approached welcoming 2019, I thought I should post something - my how times flies and priorities shift!
My daily time is focused on my business, soliciting for new work and getting projects fully orchestrated well ahead of their start dates, and I must admit it has taken some time to get "back in the saddle" and aclimate to our American society and it's pace!
I also spend time regularly on the Revolution project working on construction detail drawings, cost and scheduling issues along with twice-weekly phone calls with the amazing members of our Dominican construction team in San Juan. Frank Beltre is just an amazing person God selected to be in his position with the project, a person of more integrity you will not find. It is always a pleasure to talk with Victor our builder/engineer as well as his co-workers and other Dominican engineers and workers who share Solid Rock's vision of an efficiently built Christian facility.
When we pulled up our stakes in the DR in October of 2017 and moved back to Roanoke I did not think I should continue to be considered a missionary and asked the church to stop listing me as such. Stacy and I are extremely grateful to the church and those of you who supported us prayerfully and financially. It was a life-changing time and I am grateful that I still often find myself considering life's issues from a different vantage point with priorities re-arranged. So I now consider my involvement with the project as that of a consultant as I do receive pay from SRI for time spent working or travelling on behalf of the project. Being self-employed is wonderful but also stressful, and I thank SRI for compensating me for my time.
Stacy and I have been back in our old home since December of 2017, and we have a renewed desire to make this "wonderful drafty old house" as up-kept as it deserves to be. She now works some at local plant nursery, and is very happy to back with her wonderful friends here in Roanoke.
As far as the project, I am probably as optimistic as I was four years ago when things were just ramping up. I feel so confident and grateful for the people working at the project site, it could not be in better hands. There is a whole lot of bad potential in a developing country, so having these great guys involved is heaven sent.
I sent an update to Shannon for her to post on the official project blog site, this summary is below. I cannot overstate my appreciation for the thousands of you who have taken time out of your lives and offer your talents, abilities and sweat to the people of San Juan over the last 30 years. As I state in the update below, the new building will be a vehicle for people to serve others - Solid Rock International is exactly the same - a vehicle thru which people are able to serve others in need.
Thank you for your interest, prayers and support for the Revolution Project. It is amazing that SRI is approaching the $4 million mark raised from a wonderful collection of individuals, families and churches. We still hope someone like Bill Gates will step in, but really it means even more that simply many of you have been so generous and share Solid Rock's vision. It is easy to be pessimistic of a project in a third world country, but as someone who lived there for three years I can tell you that the need is real, there are amazing people in the mountains of the DR and Haiti who are in need and have nowhere to turn, and thru this project we are collectively carrying out our calling - to help those in need.
We continue pushing forward with construction and are making good progress.
The concrete roof is now on approximately 90% of the building, and plastering is not too far behind.
The plumbing and electrical crews are working to get their rough-in work completed, and we hope some of the volunteer construction teams will help with painting.
We also plan to have construction teams begin working on the front wall of the property, with the plan to finally make the property look nice from the highway (much to the dismay of many Dominicans, we did not begin the project by completing a beautiful front wall - which is what you often see here in the DR ... and years later the only thing built on the property is that front wall!)
It will be exciting to get the front wall built and then allow some of our garden-friendly volunteers to help add some low maintenance landscaping along the highway! We will also be final-grading the expansive front area so that work can begin on the parking and entrance areas. This will really make our progress stand out!
Many of the "guts" of a facility such as the 30,000 gallon cistern, a second septic tank and the installation of the power lines are being worked on, and we look forward to having some sample floors installed so that we can finalize our selections for the 46,000 square feet of flooring!
We are blessed to have such wonderful and sincere Dominican professionals involved with the project who are trying to help get things done as cost-effectively as possible. Dominican engineers are helping finalize structural plans for the roof structures at the main entrances and over the ambulances, and others are helping find building system components (such as electrical items) at discounted cost. I am now travelling to the project for a week every other month or so, and the thing I enjoy most is getting together with this group of Dominicans - they are great people. Frank Beltre is our onsite "conductor" and he is just amazing.
Challenges remain, as all significant purchases of items must still go through the lengthy tax-exemption paperwork process, and this has forced us to look further for suppliers who will meet the tax-exemption requirements - as both purchaser and supplier must be in good-standing with the detailed requirements. Frank continues assisting ACPSI (our Dominican partner) to push this process and stay on top of regular paperwork submittals. He will have put many miles on his truck travelling the 3+ hours to Santo Domingo to see that the bureaucratic paperwork moves along!
We hope to hear in the near future that the test shipment clears customs with import-tax exoneration, and finally issues with the Public Health department requirements seem to be getting clarified.
The goal in all of this of course is to simply try and meet what Jesus asked us all to do - help others who are in need. It is far from a simple step, but worth striving for. For 30 years thousands of amazing people have come from the US and Canada to San Juan de la Maguana offering their talents and love - this building is simply the vehicle that can help this amazing history continue for another 30 years and beyond. God is great.