Stop me if you've heard this one...
An engineer is walking along and finds a talking frog. He quickly plucks it up and the frog says, "Give me a kiss and I will turn into a lady -- but not just any lady, I will be the best girlfriend you could possibly imagine." The engineer shrugs, stuffs the frog in his pocket, and continues on his way. When he arrives home he sets it on his counter. He leaves the poor creature there for several days, always passing it as he comes and goes without so much as a nod. One day the frog confronts him.
"Dude. I told you all you had to give me was a kiss and I would become the girlfriend of your dreams, but you've pretty much ignored me for a week. What gives? " The engineer replies, "Look, I'm very busy. I work 80 hours a week. I just don't have time for a girlfriend. But a talking frog...that's pretty cool!"
If you have ever known a few engineers you can relate to this - - most are not known for being extroverts or people-types (yes, there are exceptions, Kevin being one of them). So you might have also wondered if a ministry called Engineering Ministries International has much of a human impact. Does the work we do only serve to create buildings and encourage infrastructure or is there a relational side? Do we parachute in, whip up some lovely architectural renderings and schematics and jet back home without hugging necks or sharing the Gospel? Of course not.
During our trip to Honduras in 2012 we experienced this for ourselves. While we both spent many long hours in front of computer screens (Kevin engineering stuff, me editing video), we had plenty of time to build relationships. Getting good photos and video footage requires that you first spend some time getting to know the people you want to highlight. In fact, it's about the only way you can hope to create an image that is a true reflection of the soul inside. And if you (I mean Kevin) are going to spend two days with a new acquaintance riding about 18 miles on horseback in an unfamiliar country, not only will you have time to get to know each other but it is imperative. I mean, you want this person to trust and like you enough to not leave you stranded and lost in the middle of tarantula/drug lord/howler monkey territory.
But that was just me and Kevin on ONE project trip. While we were at orientation we heard story after story of how God used staff members to build bridges, both literally and figuratively. We heard of how design teams created such a picture of Christ's love that local people drew near and asked how to find this God they represented, of how clean water projects became the spring of living water and changed eternity for entire villages.
So yes, EMI projects go far beyond the scope of meeting physical needs. In the coming weeks I hope to share a few more of these stories, but meanwhile I leave you with this video from the Halle Project, highlighting one example of our work. Also, click here to see photos and read stories from some recent EMI projects around the world and get another glimpse into the REAL impact they make.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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