By Randy Grieb
We have long supported the ministry of David and Debbie Frank at L’Arcada in Spain. Fair Oaks has sent several work teams over the years to help prepare the camp for their summer ministry. There have also been a number of the youth from Fair Oaks that have gone to L’Arcada as summer camp staff.
I had considered going on previous work teams to Spain but there always seemed to be something else that was in conflict with the trip. Now that I am no longer working full time my schedule is more flexible.
In the past I have been on work teams with the Fair Oaks Youth to Mexico a few times and to New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. I have visited some of our missionaries abroad but had never been to L’Arcada. This year when John Henry was organizing the work team from Fair Oaks I thought it would be a good opportunity to see first hand what we had seen and heard through missionary reports for many years. However, I didn’t make much of an effort to make it happen.
Then, one day Carol and I were talking about it and she said, “You could go.” And I thought, “Well, I guess I could.” By then it was pretty late in the planning process but fortunately I already had my passport and John Henry, who had gone the previous year, was going again and had done most of the preparation. We joined a work team from Tyler, Texas and met them in Barcelona.
John and I flew in a couple of days early and had a chance to see some of Barcelona and adjust to the time change before connecting with the rest of the team and heading out to L’Arcada with David Frank.
We stayed at a house adjacent to the camp where we were well taken care of by the housekeeper who was also from Tyler, Texas.
We arrived at L’Arcada on Saturday evening and spent Sunday attending a local church followed by some sightseeing. Work started on Monday. Each day, after breakfast at the house we went to the camp to work on projects. Lunch was provided at the camp and we returned to the house each evening for dinner. The exception was on Wednesday when we stopped work before lunch, and spent the afternoon with more sightseeing.
Some of the projects which the team undertook included installing siding on bungalows built so the camp can be used during the winter, painting the bungalow interior, installing a door, finishing a floor, building a lumber storage rack, building a fence to separate the maintenance area from the adjacent buildings, and building a stairway between the dining area and the bungalows. John and I were assigned to building the lumber storage rack, building the fence, and installing a door and frame.
It was amazing to see how God is in control. Much of the work we were doing was outside, power tools were outside, lumber was outside, building siding was being installed on the outside, and the stairway was outside. The ground was clay and would have been a mess if it was wet. Each morning I looked at the weather report. Each morning the forecast was for rain all day. Except for a few sprinkles it stayed dry the entire week except during our sightseeing trips. On the last day, after we had all of the tools put away, it began to hail with hail the size of marbles. Following the hail came the rain. It created a torrent which flowed down the hill and through the dining facility. God’s timing was perfect. If the storm was during the week we couldn’t have worked.
The trip was a great experience and I would highly encourage others to participate in work teams in the future. If gives you a chance to see our missionaries on the field and be a part of the mission. When you participate they are no longer just names and places. You have a better appreciation for the work that the missionaries do and can relate better when you read their prayer letters.
When an opportunity for a work team presents itself in the future, and God (or your spouse) prompts you to go, listen, and say “I could do that.” You will be glad you did.