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by David Bethany

This story begins like all good fairy tales…

Once upon a time, in a land far away…. Well, actually this story began 17 years ago in Tijuana, Mexico, when a Men of Vision Evangelize (MOVE) team built phase 1 of Open Bible’s missions base, Puente de Amistad (Bridge of Friendship). What started as a one-time commitment for a 35-member MOVE team to build as much as possible in two weeks soon became a two-trip odyssey of bad weather, personal loss, steadfast endurance, and amazing spiritual victory. In the process a sizeable, two-story missions base was built.

The MOVE team in front of the newly-remodeled Puente base.

The MOVE team in front of the newly-remodeled Puente base.

Fifteen years later – after many other MOVE projects – I received a phone call from Global Missions Executive Director Vince McCarty, asking if the base could be enlarged and whether that would be a good project for MOVE. My wife, Carla, and I traveled to Tijuana to connect with missionaries Mike and Cathy Brandt, the base’s directors. Both ends of the base’s building were one story, though the foundations and structure had been built to support a second. Thus it was a natural to add on two second-story wings to accommodate the growing needs of the ministry. And, yes, it was a perfect, yet challenging project for MOVE. After drawing plans, taking two scouting trips, and establishing a budget, we assembled our team.

The MOVE team began the journey in picturesque San Diego on a mid-April afternoon and then traveled across the border to the harsh poverty of Tijuana. If the men were shocked by the contrast that day, their expressions did not reveal it. They reveled in renewing old relationships and starting new ones.

We removed the existing roof structures over both ends of the building to construct the second floors and walls. We then completed the new roof sections and built two flights of stairs, all while installing windows, doors, exterior siding, and electrical and plumbing systems. Our men also insulated the exterior walls and ceilings, and hung the drywall throughout the new parts of the base: five bedrooms, five bathrooms, one large living room, two staircases, closets, hallways, and even an exterior balcony! God was faithful as our 36 men safely toiled through 11-hour days – mostly at 9 to 24 feet above the ground.

Mike and Cathy and the Puente staff provided plenty of food, washed our dirty laundry, and delivered and unloaded the mountains of construction materials needed to keep our large, energetic crew working.

Through all the sweat, sawdust, cramped quarters, grueling workdays and new experiences, the men ministered to each other through prayer, devotions, encouragement, and acceptance. God is “Building for Eternity,” like our slogan says. Our men return home better equipped to be godly husbands, fathers, and Christian leaders.

Thankfully this is not a fairy tale, but rather a testament to the growth and effectiveness of the Puente de Amistad ministry and of God’s faithfulness.

If you’re a relatively fit guy, trained or untrained in construction, and feel the call to join us on an upcoming MOVE adventure go to www.moveministries.org for more information.

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Dave-Bethany-authorbox

David Bethany is the Director of Construction for MOVE. He owns Bethco Builders, a construction consulting firm in southern California.

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