When our team arrived at the site of the future Iris church in Heliopolis, it was evident that we had a lot of work ahead of us. The site is located on one of the main streets of the favella, at the end of a row of barrack-style houses. We looked at the warped green pressboard walls, boarded-over windows, moldy fiberglass ceiling and the filthy interior, and realized that we had plenty of projects to fill the next two weeks. We went to work with good hearts, knowing that all our labor was a gift of love to the people and to the Lord.
The carpentry crew (Carl & Tyler) worked hard at replacing the existing side doors with two larger doors opening on to the main street. They labored over those doors for many days with one flimsy hand saw, until one day they were startled by the sound of a circular saw. They promptly made friends with that particular neighbor and were able to borrow the saw for the last work day and finish the project.
The paint crew, headed by Andy, painted the outside of the church a bright blue, and the inside a light sky blue, with white trim inside and out. Three murals were painted interior walls. The largest one, which can be seen through the windows and the doors as people pass the building, is of a waterfall. The rushing water and the words of John 7: 37b- 38 painted on the wall encourage these thirsty people to drink of the Lord’s endless streams of living water through the Holy Spirit. The team painted the church’s name “Casa de Jesus” above the new doors in white lettering, and painted the Iris ministries symbol on both sides of the doors, which shows a rainbow arching over a dove. It filled our hearts with joy to see the finished result of a fresh, attractive new church and the way our gift of love touched the people of Heliopolis.