Day 8 started with a team meeting to try to resolve yesterdays crisis for good. I wanted the guys to know that our forgiveness was not dependent on someone owning up and taking responsibility. I shared the parable of the unmerciful servant from Matthew 18 and made the point that because i have been forgiven much by God i will forgive others. Conflict, whilst never pleasant at the time, is always a great learning experience and was inevitable at some stage on this trip. Through several discussions to resolve this one issue we have had the opportunity to talk about team-work, loving each other, the value of honesty and trust in relationships and the consequences of actions. It is unlikely now that anyone will come forward and own up for damaging the chair and so we have fined everyone 500 Kenyan Shillings (£4). As leaders, we have agreed to also pay the fine to reinforce the value of 'team' - if one hurts then we all hurt. This penalty has been accepted by everyone and the money will go directly to Stephen and Angelina as a gift! We have told all the guys that we want that to be the end of the issue and we do not want this to fester and effect the unity of the team. The rest of the day was spent working hard down at the school. The building work is progressing very well and we are on schedule to complete our target by tomorrow. I got to spend most of the afternoon building a gable wall by myself which was very rewarding. I think because manual work is so different from my norm i am enjoying it all the more! The temperature has been very warm the last couple of days, at one stage reaching 35oC. There is a Kenyan builder called Zach who overheard Mapper singing 'I wanna dance with somebody' by Whitney Houston the other day and has now been singing that song regularly ever since! After dinner we invited Stephen and Angelina to share their story with us of how they have ended up in Tuum and managed to live here now for 23 years. This was a fascinating time together with many of the guys interested in asking questions and probing them further. The conversation explored issues of God's will, love, grace, forgiveness, acceptance, death, heaven, spiritual warfare and church. I have had much time to sit and talk and listen to Stephen and Angelina and have found them to be among the most godly, wise and humble people i have ever met. I have been abundantly blessed in my own faith through these conversations.
Day 9 got off to a slow start as we arose to heavy rainfall - first time it has rained here in over 3 months! Within an hour it had eased off and so we headed down to the building site to finish off the work. I finished my wall with the help of some other team members and within 2 hours we had completed our goal of ring-beam level. This was a great encouragement for all the team and morale was very high! The local builders were delighted with the rapid progress we made with the brickwork only taking 4 days! I can't wait to get a few pictures stuck up here when i get home. Not one of us left the site with our t-shirts as we gave them away to our new friends! In the afternoon we got to have a short camel ride! This was hilarious but very uncomfortable! Evenings are great here as we sit around outside and drink Milo (hot chocolate) and chat - no Coach or Banville or TV or music and the boys are all happy! I'm looking forward to church Kenyan style tomorrow! I'm not sure if the boys really know what they are in for but they are intrigued enough to want to be there for at least an hour - sometime it can last up to 3 hours! Please keep up with the prayers!