You live and learn. Roofs leak, fences break down, wood rots, and paint fades, cracks and mildews in our climate faster than in most. I started laying cedar shingles for my dad when I was seven. I put down my first tar roof at age thirteen, started with steel in my teens, done everything from thatch, to rubber, to plastic, to cement, to tile ever since. We had over six miles of fence to maintain on our dairy farm, and buildings that constantly needed repair from wear and the elements. Somehow, I graduated from cows, to pigs, to kids. Now, that’s progress! I’m still not sure which life-form is the most destructive.
Our first steel roof in Cambodia had holes rusted through it in two years, thanks to the acid rain from China. We thought we’d found a winner with “fibro-cement” until we learned they were made with asbestos and had a tendency to crack under extreme heat and nighttime cooling. Our best solution has been with clay tile, if we can keep the wind off of them. Fences? They rust, sag, get cut and broken down by water buffalo. And paint? “Ten-year paint” means three in Cambodia.
With 106 church homes and numerous other buildings, maintenance is a constant challenge. Short-term mission teams are invaluable in keeping our buildings repaired, but even more importantly, they impart value to kids who feel discarded. We had two great teams in August. New Life from Everette, WA, USA gave the Tapang Prasat Church Home a new lease on life and Koininia from Hanford, CA, USA worked wonders at the Phnom Koul Church Home.
New Life from Everttte, WA