Mission Accomplished

? the story of the beds

 

excerpted from Danny Jackson?s newsletter (used by permission)

January 2007 with a closing note from Robert

 

Mission Accomplished?

 

...but not how we expected. My expectations for bed production were cautiously optimistic. Fifty beds in 5 days might have been possible if we had 5 days and enough lumber for 50 beds. As it turns out, we had neither. God?s plans are usually not the same as ours despite how we try to make them so. The New Year Celebration in Russia is tantamount to our Christmas day, except it lasts for seven days. Most businesses close for at least five days beginning New Year?s Eve.

 

When we arrived in Voronezh on New Year?s Eve, Robert Fuqua had already acquired most of the tools we needed for the project, but had only been able to find enough lumber for 19 beds. We had promised 25 beds to the Similuki Orphanage and were able to complete those...almost. Between the scheduling, logistics, jet lag and shortage of lumber, we completed and delivered five beds by Friday. We opted to produce all of the bed parts in a single set-up production format so that all of them could be ready for assembly all at once. We were able to produce all of the parts for 19 beds and 90% of the parts for the remaining 6 before we ran out of lumber. Once we finished cutting out parts we started assembling the beds and were able to complete 5 of them by the time we had to start loading them for delivery to the orphanage on Friday morning.

 

Our plan vs. God?s plan

 

Our plan was to build 50 beds in 5 days. God?s plan was for us to cut the parts for 25 beds and assemble 5 of them in 3 days.  Our plan was to arrive in Voronezh to a fully outfitted shop, ready for production. God?s plan was for us to finish putting the shop together once we got there, allowing its users to participate in its setup. Our plan was to get the beds built and hopefully do some teaching at the same time. God?s plan was for us to do some teaching, and hopefully get some beds built at the same time. Our plan was to teach up to 20 orphanage graduates how to build a bed. God?s plan was for me to teach one - Vitaly...mission accomplished.

 

Vitaly

 

Vitaly is a twenty one year old orphanage graduate who has recently come to a saving faith in Christ as a result of his time at the You Are Not Alone Club. He has a natural talent for working wood, and now has 3 days of instruction under his belt from last week. He took to it like a duck to water. I could hardly get him started with one task before he was ready to learn the next thing. Vitaly, like most males anywhere is enamored with the tools of the trade!  At one point I had set up a cutting jig for him to cut all of the bed posts to length. I got him started with that and then left him to work on his own while I continued to work on some outfeed tables for our new table saw. I was attaching the tabletops with a nail gun and Vitaly?s curiosity got the best of him. He couldn?t stand it that I was using this really cool automatic hammering device while all he was doing cutting boards with a chopsaw. He stopped what he was doing to get his hands on another tool! I showed him what it was and explained how it worked. Suddenly the chop-saw had no more appeal. He reacted the same way with the unveiling of each new tool. The last thing we had to do before we could start cutting the big sheets of plywood was to polish the outfeed tables to a slick finish, so the sheets would slide easily across the saw.  I picked up the sander and attached the buffing pad to it, turned it on and started buffing the tabletop. Within seconds, Vitaly stopped what he was doing and came over to my side to see what this new magical buzzing machine was doing. He took it from my hands without my saying a word... mission accomplished.

 

The Beds

 

We didn?t finish the 19 beds we had the wood for, but we taught one who now can.  We didn?t deliver 25 (let alone 50!) beds to the orphanage, but we delivered the 5 that Vitaly helped to build. We were able to involve the the orphans themselves in finishing the beds - see below.  Robert and Vitaly will be able to finish assembling the rest of the beds, and will have the skills, tools and cutting jigs they need to produce as many as they can buy the lumber for in the future. The orphanage director left the door wide open for us to return in the future...mission accomplished.

 

What?s next?

 

Robert and Ann Fuqua have spent the last 1 years in language and culture school in Krasnodar, Russia. They will be moving within the next 3-4 weeks to Voronezh to live permanently at the Teen Transition Center.  My hope is that within the next few months I will be able to return to Voronezh to teach more woodworking skills to Vitaly and whoever else is willing. One of the long term goals in doing so is to help establish a self-sufficient business there in the club that could not only provide an income for the kids, but much-needed financial support for the Transition Center itself. One of the business model ideas that we talked about was to come up with a small wooden trinket that the kids can produce and sell to tourists. There is a gigantic market called Ismailovo in Moscow. We usually stay at a hotel adjacent to this market and the number of tourists, especially American tourists is astounding. And they?ll buy anything. Believe me, I know this to be true because I?m one of them! I think if we can produce something handmade by orphanage graduates, it will sell like hot cakes.

 

Words are not sufficient to express my gratitude to each and every one of you who has invested your time, treasures and prayers in this ministry. It would not be possible without you.  From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of Robert & Ann, Sasha & Ludmilla, the teens at the You Are Not Alone Club and the orphans at Similuki we say Thank You and God Bless You for your partnership with us...mission accomplished!!!

 

Note from Robert

Vitaly and I did indeed finish all 19 remaining beds and delivered them to the orphanage.  They were really pleased and proud of their new beds.  It was the older teens at the orphanage that got the new beds.  They were much stronger than anything they had had before and the new thicker mattresses the director said should be much better for the guys backs.  The old beds were causing them back problems.

 

But, the thing that I still marvel at, is how God used the sawdust environment of the workshop to soften the time-worn shell around Vitaly?s heart and opened up a relationship between us that, especially in light of my horrible language skills, constitutes a full-blown miracle.