Kotobi Church #3 - The Last Week

Luke is putting together box-forms for pouring the bond beam. Doesn't he look nice in this picture? (He is in real life too :)

Here you can see a lot of different things going on. The pre-fabbed trusses are lying in two halves on the ground in preparation for being welded together. The bond beam on top of the walls is finished. And the little boxes on top of the pillars are Luke's ingenious solution to our problem of having trusses wider than our foundation (and thus, walls.) Rather than building a complicated form to go around each of the pillars, we just poured an extra level of beam on top of the pillars, connected with rebar 'S's to the main beam, and sunk the metal sleeves (for holding the tabs on the trusses) into them, centered on the pillars, rather than on the wall. It was a little tricky because the sleeves had to be spaced pretty precisely in order for the trusses to fit into them. Thankfully everything fit perfectly!

The day came when we needed to weld the trusses together and get them set up in place in order to stay on track for our opening Sabbath on January 22. The only problem was that we had been unsuccessful in our attempts to obtain a welding shield. A search of our container turned up some strange things but no welding shield. A subsequent perusal of the Mundri shops, following rabbit trails all around town, turned up only some sunglasses and a welder who had a pair of slightly darker goggles, but wouldn't loan them to us. Next we heard that there was a welding engineer at the Oxfam compound just outside Kotobi who might have a shield he'd loan us. Luke headed over to follow up on this rumor on his motorbike early that morning, only to find that while there had indeed been an engineer who did welding there, he was long gone, and all his equipment with him. So, dead end, right? Not with Luke on the case. He proceeded to beg several pieces of broken plate glass off of our new Oxfam friends and smoke them over a kerosene flame, producing a highly functional, if somewhat bulky and fragile, welding shield. He then cheerfully held it for me as I welded all five trusses together, tacked them to their metal sleeves on the wall, and them put braces onto the system to keep the trusses from swaying. It was definitely a bush solution, but it worked!

This is the view from the church, looking down the hill to the main road. The trees on the left are on Paul's compound, the church elder who helped spearhead the project.

And this is how the church Thursday morning, right before we started putting on the roofing sheets. The whole last week was an extraordinarily busy time. We'd been busy before, but this week we worked until well after sunset almost every night, trying to get things finished enough so we'd be able to worship in the new building on Sabbath. Thanks to the hard work of Sylvester and Estban (our masons), Sabit and Immanuel (assistants), and Paul, Julius, Phillip Muhammed, and many other church members who came to the church workbee on Friday to clear brush away around the outside and sweep, scrape, and mop the inside, and the tremendous blessings of the Lord, we met our goal and had church together that Sabbath.


  1. I like the picture of the kids playing! And I'm glad you took welding - that skill has come in handy on many a mission trip :)

  2. That first picture is a good portrait of Luke. Your church building pictures are making me a bit jealous. Maybe I could slip in a welding class before I leave...

  3. Lol I like your guy's genius idea for a welding glass. ;) use what you got.

  4. I'm extremely proud of how you both were willing to work very hard, using all your talents, to cooperate with God to accomplish the construction of this house of worship He had envisioned!


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