A New Roof For Johel Before Rainy Season Arrives by Chris

 Costa Rica has a dry season from mid-December up until the end of April.  Then in May up until mid-December is what the locals call "winter" and is the rainy season where it pretty much rains every day.  I like to joke with the locals that they don't know real cold until they have felt the tears in their eyes freezing like we have in Michigan winters.  Also, in Costa Rica, there is a Costa Rican culture but within the larger culture of the country, there are also individual provinces that have cultures that are very unique.  This is true in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and pretty much every country that I have visited.  

We have met a man here in Santa Rosa that is named Johel (Joel).  Johel is originally from the province of Limon, which is on the Caribbean Sea's eastern coast side of Costa Rica.  The small town he is from is called Colorado. which has a similar name origin as the state of Colorado in the U.S. as it has reddish-colored soil, hence the name which in Spanish means, "colored red".  Johel was raised in a family that spoke English, Creole, and Spanish.  His English is really quite good and when I listen to him talk it reminds me of how I picture people from Jamaica talking (although I have never been to Jamaica).  His favorite phrase to use is a really drawn-out "aaaallllright" which can have many different meanings.  I first met Johel when he was on his bike in the street and he asked me for some coins.  As a rule as FMC missionaries, we do not ever give people handouts of money.  Instead, this presented me an opportunity to pray with Johel and he seemed really blessed with this.  I asked him what he needed the money for and he explained that he has not been able to go out to work as his house is not secured.  When he does try to go to work he returns home to find his house broken into and things missing.  I asked him if I could come to visit him with my wife and take a look.  He gladly accepted and told me where to find his house.

This is what Johel's house looked like when we first saw it

The first opportunity we had Karen and I set out to find Johel's house.  When we arrived, we found a very sad situation indeed.  Johel told us that a man from the U.S. used to live in a house built on this property and during one of his return trips to the U.S., he died unexpectedly and suddenly.  Since he didn't return, somehow (I don't understand the Costa Rican probate system) his lot was divided up and sold off.  Johel managed to buy the portion that had the remnants of the house on it.  All that was left was the original cement pad and the first few levels of cement blocks that go up about 3 blocks high on most sides.  The remainder of the previous house had been looted and the pieces were removed from it to build other people's houses.  Nearby, there was a defunct lumber operation that left behind a bunch of scraps of wood when it closed.  Johel had hand-picked pieces of wood to construct his little room in one corner of the footprint of the old house.  

This is where Joel sleeps and water would drip on him during the night

Johel is about sixty years old and he has the vision to have a home where he can take in a few older guys from the street that don't have anywhere to live.  Johel would take care of them when they are too old to take care of themselves.  He shared the vision with us that we would like to eventually add a few more rooms for these other guys to stay in.

This is Johel's simple little house on the other side opposite the bed
This is what Johel's old roof was comprised of....just a bunch of scraps

So, after seeing this situation, Karen and I were moved to help Johel to close up his house.  We purchased the "laminas de zinc" which are the corrugated metal roof panels used on roofs here in Costa Rica.  We also purchased a new lock for his door and for his window to make it tougher for someone to break in while he is off working.  We got to work taking the old roof of and one by one putting on the new panels.

Here is Johel up on top of his house helping us install the new roof panels
Karen and Johel putting on one of the new roof panels

Johel did have a few good roof panels so we decided to use those along with the new ones.  We also know that the roof panels last a lot longer if you paint them.  There are basically two paint colors that everyone uses here.  One is a reddish-brown that blends in with the color of the red clay that is all around us and the other is a green which blends in with the foliage of all of the trees and plants.  Johel chose the green so we went back a few days later to paint the panels so that they would hold up better during the rainy season.

Johel's roof extends out over the outdoor sitting area

Karen is up on the roof painting the panels with a special roller that is corrugated as well
Karen painted a special message on Johel's window that says "Johel, we love you!"

We have since asked Johel to make big crosses to give to other families during home visits

Please pray for Johel's health as he has had a lot of stomach problems recently.  He was trying a bunch of homestyle natural remedies from his native Limon which were not helping.  Finally, he was taken to the local health clinic where they diagnosed him with leukemia.  Johel is not sure he wants to undergo the treatment plan for leukemia.  The clinic was going to rush him off to San Jose to start the treatments immediately which he declined.  We ask for prayer for Johel's decision on how to proceed with his diagnosis.

May God bless you and your family, 

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