Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Contain Your Excitement

Contain your excitement! The much anticipated Sowers4Pastors’ shipping container has arrived. Yes, their ship has come in, you might say. Russell walked me through the process of getting the contents to their property. Whew! It wasn’t all smooth sailing!

Weekend Plans

When the container arrived at the port in Honduras, Russell went into high gear trying to get the duty-free paperwork completed, to process it. If things aren’t processed within about two weeks, the Sowers are charged for a fee for the delivery being overdue. (The paperwork process actually begins about two months before a container arrives in port, but it never seems to get completed, by the lawyers and the government, until there's almost no time left.)

On Thursday March 2nd, Russell received word the container might be arriving at some point during the weekend. When a shipping container arrives, it is only delivered as far as the city of Gracias. It’s up to the Sowers to bring the contents all the way up the mountain to their property. That meant Russell needed to line up two box trucks, which would be able to carry most of the items in the container. He knew any extra items would need to be transported in the Sowers’ two trucks.

The following evening, Russell got a call telling him the container could be in Gracias the next morning at 11:00. He had lined up the box trucks, but hadn’t been able to give the drivers a definite time.

One driver arrived an hour before the container arrived, but the truck was carrying a full load, which needed to be delivered. The other truck was carrying a load of rocks, so they didn’t have trucks for about an hour after the container got to Gracias. Russell solved that problem by taking the container driver out to eat lunch so he wouldn’t realize how long it was taking!

Lift with Your Legs, Not Your Back!

When the container was opened, the first thing they saw was four spools of cable, each weighing about 3000 pounds. In the absence of heavy equipment, they managed to move those mammoth spools to a box truck. The process took about an hour and a half.

Two helpers began taking loads to the Sowers’ property in their Land Cruisers and were able to make multiple trips before Russell and the other men got to the back of the shipping container. The back of the container held two washing machines, one refrigerator, and two huge batteries, which weigh 2000 pounds a piece. So much for saving the lighter stuff for last!

(Even Better!) Lift with a Backhoe, Not your Back

The exhausted men got to the appliances and batteries at the opposite end of the container and successfully loaded them. Then they prepared to make the twenty-five minute drive back to the property.  By that point, the men had been moving items for about six hours and they weren’t exactly feeling fresh as daisies! Russell could tell everyone was spent and he suggested renting a backhoe to finish the job. He made a phone call and found a backhoe, which was delivered to them. With the help of the heavy machinery, they unloaded the batteries and cables.

Russell explained that the box trucks and the shipping container were of similar heights, so they were placed back to back to make loading and unloading a little easier. However, when they got back to the property, they had to get the supplies off of the box trucks and down to the ground. Thanks to the backhoe, they finished at about 10:30 Saturday night.
Shipping container on the left, local box truck on the right,
doing direct unloading and reloading at the side of the road
in the city of Gracias

The Final Leg of the Journey

In coming weeks, the Sowers will sort through the color-coded boxes, which include items for the sponsorship program, Gifts for Gracias, things for other missionaries, used clothing, supplies for MK Camp, and personal items. They will do an inventory and get the supplies to the appropriate places. The owner of the appliances has already picked them up. Other missionaries will pick up their supplies. MK Camp supplies have been sent across the country to Rachel. The bulk of the items are for Gifts for Gracias, and these must be sorted and put together as gifts for pastors and their families. The heavy lifting may be over, but the fun is just beginning!
A special word of thanks, to everyone who helped make this shipment possible, including the donors, the Cofer family, Mary and Gary Richard, Fredericktowne Baptist Church, and everyone who came together to do the loading in Maryland!

 - posted by Christi

1 comment:

Jules said...

I'm so glad to know this has arrived!