Lifting the Barn . . . Together

Lifting the Barn. Together we can do it.

Even if you skip today’s post, don’t miss this video of several hundred people moving a barn in Nebraska.

is my favorite “Pamoja” story:

Herman Ostry’s barn floor was under twenty-nine inches of water because of a rising creek. The Bruno, Nebraska farmer invited a few friends to a “barn raising.” He needed to move his entire 17,000 pound barn to a new foundation more than 143 feet away. His son Mike devised a latticework of steel tubing, and nailed, bolted, and welded it on the inside and the outside of the barn. Hundreds of handles were attached.

After one practice lift, 344 volunteers slowly walked the barn up a slight incline, each supporting less than fifty pounds. In just three minutes, the barn was on its new foundation.



It is summed up in this statement: I have to do this alone and I can’t do it by myself.


What does Africa have to do with a barn in Nebraska?

The principle is the same.

We’re lifted together.

Ministry in Chadan (South Sudan and southern Chad) is way too heavy to lift alone. It can be difficult, frustrating, scary, and wonderful.

All in the same day.

As you pray, you help lift the barn.

As you give through Lottie Moon and the Cooperative Program, you are lifting together.

As you send workers to this harvest field,  you are helping.

We often say, “Africa will never be Gospel-reached by white people.”

That’s true.

But I also believe we Westerners can, and should, be involved in reaching folks here.

You’ve helped lift and we thank you.

We’ve moved the barn part of the way.

There’s a great distance yet to be covered.

Can you hang around and help us move a little more?

I knew you’d say yes.






Pamela: Together! Michael Wango leads "Age Mate" Curt through Jombu Village, South Sudan
Pamoja Together! Michael Wango leads “Age Mate” Curt through Jombu Village, South Sudan

“I  have to do this myself and I can’t do it alone.”

What a paradoxical statement.

Today’s story is about the tension between owning a task and sharing it.

That leads us to  today’s word.


It’s my favorite Swahili word.

It means “together.”

A Pole Barn Church in South Sudan. Jombu Baptist Church pastored by Charles Remo.
A Pole Barn Church in South Sudan. Jombu Baptist Church pastored by Charles Remo.


You can read more on the background of the amazing barn move at



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