Thursday, 19 January 2012

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Today the workmen arrived to start preparing our new house for us. Five young men in their twenties, in an old van, with rollers and brushes and great plastic buckets of paint. We are renting the house across the street for our own personal use, and keeping the present house as DVN office, guest quarters, conference room and lesson hall. All being well, we will make the move March 1st, by which time the goods we shipped from Holland will hopefully have arrived as well. The house across the street has one great selling point: room around the house. Where we are now, we are so close to the house next door that when the neighbour wakes up at 6.30, we can hear him brushing his teeth, by way of speaking. Where we are going, there is a garden all around; presently boasting banana, mango, avocado, and orange trees, and plenty of space for vegetables and a paillotte. That’s a thatched-roof shade hut where my afternoon nap will enjoy itself immensely.
But as I said, today the workmen arrived. The house needs to be finished: a paved driveway, ceilings installed, plumbing in the kitchen, and paint inside and out. You ask: but wasn’t all that there already? No, it wasn’t. The house has been empty for the past year. Before that, it was lived in, after a fashion. But it had never been finished. The present owner is an 18-year old student. His mother had had the house built to live in it herself; but then she died. Nd that changed everything. Lacking the finances himself, William was only too happy to find us willing to move in. An advance of a year’s rent was needed, however, to complete the necessaries: €1000. I wondered about that. Would €1000 be enough to do it all? Yes, it would. A tradesman here - painter, bricklayer, carpenter, plumber – is more than content with a day’s wage of 3000CFCA, or €5, I learned yesterday.

Marijke and I went over to make acquaintance. And to discuss the colour scheme. Bright and beautiful, that’s what we are looking for. And that was not hard to arrange. Friendly, cooperative workmen made sure they were clear on exactly what we wanted. Truth be told, what you discuss and decide upon here is not always exactly what you get. Gerrit and Titia, our predecessors, for instance, had a barbecue made for themselves. They took it along with them to Holland, so those of you who doubt my word can go look for yourselves. It really and truly was not intended to be the size of a small buffalo! But okay, this afternoon we decided on just the right colours.

And then I happened to mention that I was Pasteur. And the reaction humbled me. In that case, one of the workmen said, matter-of-factly, you can pray that all the painting and the other work is done well. And no, he was not joking. And no, he didn’t mean: pray and hope for the best. He meant: right now. So our work will be blessed.

The workmen put down their brushes and rollers. We stood in a circle in front of the porch. And I prayed to the good Lord who makes all things bright and beautiful. Even if the colours perhaps don’t turn out quite the way we expect, we got off to a good start with the house across the street.


  1. All things bright and beautiful,
    All creatures great and small,
    All things wise and wonderful:
    The Lord God made them all.

    Each little flower that opens,
    Each little bird that sings,
    He made their glowing colors,
    He made their tiny wings.

    The rich man in his castle,
    The poor man at his gate,
    He made them, high or lowly,
    And ordered their estate.

    The purple headed mountains,
    The river running by,
    The sunset and the morning
    That brightens up the sky.

    The cold wind in the winter,
    The pleasant summer sun,
    The ripe fruits in the garden,
    He made them every one.

    The tall trees in the greenwood,
    The meadows where we play,
    The rushes by the water,
    To gather every day.

    He gave us eyes to see them,
    And lips that we might tell
    How great is God Almighty,
    Who has made all things well.

    Enjoy the beauty of it all ♥
    love this song, and our kidlets in elementary school always burst forth with joyful renditions !

  2. I am so incredibly curious. And could you perhaps send the workers over to do some things we need doing in and around the house. And I'd be willing to pay them a bonus.


  3. Wonderful!
    Can't wait to see it all done!
    We should all be praying over our renovations, and other work done for or by us, much more often!

  4. I love that song! And I love that simple acknowledgement that the work we do stands under God's blessing. Alice is so right. We should do that way more readily! Coba

  5. What colors did you choose?? Send us pictures!!:)

  6. Reading these comments, I feel compelled to ask all of you to pray for us as well. Marchien & I will, the Lord (and the bank)willing, be buying a house in the coming weeks. That house also needs a lot of work to be done, including complete renovation of the ground floor. God's help and lots of faith that all will work out before we move in will be needed!
    I'm really curious about the colour scheme your new Beninese Palace will be adorned with! As for the banana tree, I'm afraid I can't do much more than quietly covet it, while I enjoy my "fair trade" organic banana, imported from somewhere far away (kind of makes you wonder what's organic about importing stuff halway across the globe).
    Okay, I'm starting to ramble, and seeing as I'm typing this on the boss's time, I'm going to stop. Time for the "publish" button.
    Love you very much!!!!

  7. Wow! ben zo benieuwd hoe het er uiteindelijk gaat uitzien!
    Maarten, praying for you guys! But I think you won't be able to do it for 1000 euro's! Haha....:)

  8. Prachtig verhaal weer papa. Ben erg benieuwd hoe het er uiteindelijk uit gaat zien!! En wat een arbeidsloon; voor hetzelfde geld start een bouwvakker in Nederland net zn busje voor je... Geef ze maar goed te eten, dat verdienen die mannen wel! Verzorg je werklui goed en ze doen je werk tien keer beter! ;)