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Report on Exploratory Trip 2016

One member of our board traveled to several countries in South America to evaluate possible projects to do in the future.


The church is growing and is in a neighborhood that has no churches. The 150 year old adobe building needs replacement and they have grown beyond what they can do. They used some of their money to put up a chain link fence as there is not a major theft problem and it will allow the neighbors to see what is happening, and they will help watch the property. There is an old swimming pool that needs to be removed, and then a building needs to go up quickly so it can be occupied and taxes cut. The hope is to get in a foundation before we arrive so that the concentration can be on metal columns and roof. Perhaps we could coordinate with the Canadian Team Workers to have back to back teams to accomplish enclosing the building. An architect is available from two hours away to help with the project. At first they would only be doing the bathrooms, a dining room, and a reduced auditorium. The team could stay in individual homes or at the chapel, but transportation could be a problem as most families only have one car, so would not be available and we would need to rent transportation. The chapel can only accommodate 12 with tight arrangements. Laundry and meals would likely be provided. Mostly the team will be laborers, but a welder would be an advantage. There are 50 people in the assembly and are very frugal with their money, yet seem to have enough to make a very good start. The cost has not been completely determined, which they will send to Tim, and it is expected that an assembly will send money for material. They seemed to be easy to work with and willing to listen to suggested changes. Tim did speak 4 times in the 5 days there.


Tim was able to speak 5 times in 7 days. There was a young married conference where 40 couples filled the old church building, which is 40 foot wide on a 50 foot lot. The warehouse they have spoken for will eventually seat 5,000, but they are wanting to start small, using movable walls until they grow into it. The upscale neighborhood had appreciated the improvements being made and they appear to be a growing, vibrant church, with a couple people in the neighborhood creating problems. A lot has been done to improve the building by cleaning, painting, removing graffiti, and rodents. More plumbing, mostly faucets, are needed. Tim helped to put up a wall between the bathrooms and the auditorium, and helped replace 3 of the 6 skylights by using flat acrylic for a total of $750 instead of domed replacements similar to the originals that cost $550 each. The roof is the main problem as tile cannot be found and the membrane is not sticking to the current tile a lot of which are also broken. There are several hip roofs, so it may be able to be done in sections. The building needs to be usable so they can sell the old facility for money, but don't want to improve too much or the purchase price may increase. They have a two year option to buy, so we do not want to get involved until they get a signed purchase contract.


As mentioned previously, there was a visa charge to enter the country. This was a surprise as there was no note ahead of time and then no direction where to pay. The good news is that the visa is good for 10 years. The government is anti-American, but the people are not. Being socialist, the people have little incentive to work and know less English than the other countries visited. Of the three assemblies near Santa Cruz the one contacted is located in the country outside of town next to a camp, and is about 3 years old. The camp had been turned over to one of the other assemblies and this newer one was asked to leave to facilitate camp usage expansion. There is a radio station and tower on the corner of the camp that will be returned to this assembly if it were to ever stop operation. The assembly is looking to put up a house to house guards, since they have been broken into. The radio has a structure up, but needs a sound room for the deadening of sound in a concrete and tin structure. There is also a need for air conditioning to control the heat from the equipment. The assembly is given over to working with the locals, and has been asked by World Vision to help in the feeding of some 250 children. They have also built some houses for people in the area. Results have been observed from these various ministries. They also see the need of building more classrooms for the increased number of kids they work with. A team of 6-12 could stay at the camp, when it is not the camp season, but would find it more difficult as it is hot and humid, even at night, with no relief from air conditioning, and there is no internet available. Tim had stayed in a New Tribes guest house, where a team could also stay. It is 45 minutes away. If lodging is done at the camp, there would be minimal outside contact. Food is cheap, but service is lacking and may be very delayed. A couple interpreters would be important to have. There is a master plan and much could be accomplished with little money. The projects we went to look at are building a guard house, the ceiling of the church building, and the construction of additional classrooms. There did seem to be a change in emphasis or importance while there.


Tim met with Jesse Mattix and Micah Tuttle in Tarapoto, Peru. He found it amazing what has been done in the last 6 months as they have revised a building into living quarters for both families, with dorms for the Bible school below. There is a need for an addition to the girls dorm. Micah goes into the jungle, where several assemblies have been started in the last 9 years, and they need buildings. Because it is the rain forest, there is a need for buildings with roofs. These would be very elementary buildings as most material is 6 hours away. It would take a very rustic mindset to make the trip to work in the jungle as it would be hot, wet, and many insects, including poisonous ones. Both the jungle and the Bible School would be sustainable works as there is little to maintain once erected.


All these projects would be viable to get involved in. It is suggested we set a priority to the projects, look for a team leader, set a time frame to go, get out some pictures to promote, and put on a calendar. To set priorities, Chile would be first; Bolivia second, needing a radio sound studio and an acoustic engineer to direct; Peru would be third with helping the jungle assemblies, and possibly the assembly in Tarapoto; Argentina will need to be put off a couple years. November would be a good time of year to go down, but January would be a more likely time.

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About TeamWorkers

TeamWorkers Abroad was started to assemble teams of believers from U.S. assemblies to work on building projects for assembly missionaries. While TeamWorkers Abroad’s focus is primarily on teams of skilled workers, there are opportunities for unskilled workers and young adults on most projects.