Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A River Runs Through It

I always try to talk to my students about helping others who have very little. The following, from July 28, 2006, is about several bridges I helped, even with limited construction gifts, build in Honduras.

I've always had this recurring death nightmare. In condensed form, I'm driving over a very high bridge above a river when my car plunges over the side into the water far my demise. When living in Tennessee, I drove several times per year to my folks' home in St. Louis. The last stage of the journey included traversing the Jefferson Barracks Bridge, which spans the Mississippi, crossing from Illinois into Missouri. I'm not saying I held my breath but that one minute drive made me extremely nervous. It's just something about bridges. There have been some great bridge movies, usually with a war theme; The Bridge On The River Kwai, A Bridge Too Far, The Bridges At Toko-Ri, The Bridges Of Madison County. (My bad- chick movie!) In war, bridges are strategic. In love, they are sentimental. In real life, they are essential.

I helped build two bridges last week in Honduras. Well, let me clarify that. On one I tightened about fifteen nuts and washers but they had to be tightened by somebody. On the other project, I performed my usual jobs; shoveling sand, mixing and carrying concrete, and hauling rocks. The leader from our Shine
Mission team on this particular effort was Mac Hughes, a contractor from Nashville. Mac can visualize the unseen and bring blueprints to life with sweat and the right materials. We dug where he told us to dig and we poured concrete where Mac said it should go. We weren't attempting to recreate the Brooklyn Bridge- our structures were only eighty-five and one-hundred-thirty-five feet long, respectively... but they mattered. The terrain around San Marcos De Colon is wooded and hilly. The great majority of people travel on foot or by animal. I witnessed few vehicles on the very narrow dirt/mud roads. During the rainy season, downpours turn babbling brooks into raging torrents. Normally, these creeks, which intersect the road at various points, are easy to wade through. After the cloudbursts, however, they become impassable. Of course, there is a ripple effect. The kids can't get to school because of the streams flooding the roads so the schools have to shut down on a regular basis. No school- no learning. No education- NO CHANCE. These two foot bridges which run adjacent to the roads and span the streams will allow the children in these isolated areas to pursue their studies in spite of inclement weather and poor road conditions. The money for these bridges was supplied by our group which simply responded to the opportunity the Lord afforded us to help our Honduran brothers and sisters. Some might argue that building a couple of foot bridges in Central America does not constitute true mission work. I would reverently assert that it does. In John 14:6, Jesus referred to himself as "the way, the truth, and the life." Sometimes, the way leads over a rain swollen creek in southern Honduras.

Applicable quote of the day:
"In the rainy season, sometimes to get to the first lesson, we had to run really quick because we had to cross the river to school and we'd have to go up and down the bank to find a place to cross because there is no bridge."
Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopian world record distance runner)

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at


Jon said...

Thats a very wierd dream.....

Volleyballs said...

Helping others is great Coach Hawley! You are a great person!