Around hour 3 was when the fatigue and heat began to hit.
We spent a couple hours digging up rocks to build a house, then another good chunk of time digging up massive bushes in a field to build a playground. Progress was very slow. The tools we used were of low quality, and we only had a limited number. The strong men on our team attacked bushes with countless blows from a shovel, and the only evidence of their work was the blisters on their hands and the dirt on their faces.
Every attempt to dig up a bush was denied as the spiky needles stabbed our arms and legs. We did our best to keep our spirits up as we realised clearing this field would be no small feat. I was making the long trek to the car to fetch clean water when frustration began to creep in. We’d worked hours and hours in the heat, yet had little, of anything, to show for it.
Just as I was thinking this, I hear the most precious voice yell, “Bekah! Bekah! Bekah!” I turn around to see in the distance a 6 year old boy from the township running towards me at full speed. As he reached me, he jumped into my arms and gave me the biggest squeeze his tiny arms could muster. Any sense of disappointment I had about our day vanished immediately.
I decided that all of the blood, sweat, and dirt was TOTALLY worth it.
I imagined the joy that a playground would bring to this boy in my arms, and to the other children of this community. Later that day, we gained 30 more tiny helpers who joined us in clearing bushes and trash in the field in between playing games of rugby with a plastic bottle. They also made us beautiful bracelets out of the same bushes that had stabbed and enraged us only hours prior. I realise I have a lot to learn from these children. They have nothing, yet are the most joyful people I know.
They live tough lives, yet a smile will never leave their lips as they praise God with their whole hearts.
I could have continued that day with a stinky attitude, but God used a small child to remind me why we’re here, and why we do what we do.
by Bekah Waterhouse
YWAM Newcastle Staff