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Portland Team Returns to Build Church
By Rod and Sherry Boyd

Portland CC at St. LibradaThirteen months ago we had a great construction team from Portland Christian Center in Oregon. They built 3 classrooms and a teacher’s room, poured the second-story floor, and laid the banister block at the Canaan El Buen Pastor School in Santa Librada. They also spent two days at another school laying about half of the block for two classrooms. They also attended services at the church, which is located about a mile away. Afterwards, they asked about the land across the street from the school. This old lumberyard was in the process of closing. The Lord began to speak to the group. They challenged Pastor Julio and the congregation: “If you buy the land across the street, we’ll build you a church.”

Portland CC at St. LibradaThey arrived on March 17th this year to do just that! We had 16 the first week. Two left and 13 more joined us for the second week, including Pastors Bill and Joy Wilson. Most had been with us last year. They were surprised at the progress this school had made. After they left last year, the team from Agawam MA finished the chapel on the second story, poured the third story floor, built the stairwell and two restrooms. This year the school divided the chapel into three classrooms, put a roof on the third story, built a large kindergarten classroom and play area, continued the stairwell and finished the restrooms.

Portland CC at St. LibradaThis year the school has more than 400 students. The principal of the school, Ana Taju, had thought about using the third story for a chapel. But it would be too small. Our intention was to build the church sanctuary large enough to accommodate all of the children in the school.

As Julio was designing the new sanctuary, he started with a smaller building. But the Lord spoke to him to make it larger. The sanctuary would be an 80-foot by 90-foot hexagonal building. The group was overwhelmed by Pastor Julio’s faith, but they were up to the challenge.

Portland CC at St. LibradaThe team started strong, laying more than 400 block the first day. The work became more difficult as the 17-foot walls climbed. Block work on the sanctuary had to be suspended the second Monday due to the raising of the five trusses by the boom truck.  The team moved to the third story of the school and laid six courses of block, making the space safe and useable by the school. The third story will be converted into classrooms next year.

Portland CC at St. LibradaThe team worked long hours to lay block and pour the two bond beams on each wall—one at 9 feet and the other at 16 feet.  The group watched the progress of the roof as the pearlings were welded. The group finished the two sidewalls and the back wall. They were tired but didn’t want to stop that last day. They completed about 75% of the front wall including a six-foot square glass block window—a beautiful signature to the group’s work.

Portland CC at St. LibradaThe team met with all the children of the school in an assembly the second to last day of work. It was an opportunity for the team to see how many children are being touched by the ministry of the school. Different members of the team were able to share their testimonies. Laura, who teaches Spanish in public school, taught the children a couple of new songs. Pastor Bill had a devotional for the kids. Mostly, the team was ministered to by the worship of the children and staff.

Portland CC at St. LibradaThe church and school held a banquet in our honor the last night. Afterward, we had the farewell and dedication service. It was an emotional service. Pastor Bill shared about the essentials of a good church. The Panamanians who were leading the service all talked about the miracle that had taken place. God had blessed us with two great weeks of work. The Panamanians, all volunteer for this project, had worked side by side with the Portland team. Good-byes are always difficult. But this one seemed extra special. One Panamanian brother came up to us and embraced us and just cried. About 15 minutes later we saw him again. He started to cry again. He said, “I just didn’t think it would ever happen.”

Thank you, Portland Christian Center for blessing us. Thank you Pastors Bill and Joy for sending us the team and coming to be a part of it. Thank you David Martin for your excellent leadership. And to each member—Debbie, Vic, Kevin, Jack, Sherry, Don, Alex, Jim, Nate, Joyce, Don, Norma, Ken, David, Randy, Lynne, Sherry, George, Shelby, Ole, Sandy, Laura, Jillian, Michael, Mike, and Trish—we pray God’s richest blessing on you. We also want to say a special congratulations to Michael and Laura who became engaged during the trip! Come back soon!

Portland CC at St. Librada

Portland CC at St. LibradaPortland CC at St. Librada

Portland CC at St. Librada

Portland CC at St. Librada

Portland CC at St. Librada