We are wrapping up day 2 here in El Mirador, and I think everyone on the team would say it was a great day. We started with a walk of the community, passing different areas we will be working on the trip. We found out our projects are more focused on home repairs rather than bathrooms. This excites me, as it will provide a lot of time interacting with the people that live there.
In the afternoon we put a coat of primer on the pharmacy, followed by the opening ceremony with the community. The community asked to have the ceremony more as a conversation with us. This was a really unique experience, allowing the team a glimpse into what their community meetings are like. We all introduced ourselves and talked briefly (some more brief than others). We got the chance to ask the community about their hopes and what their struggles are. So much of what they said revolved around lack of opportunities around them, rather than a lack of things. They want the chance to work in a stable and consistent job. Betsy had the great idea to have them write down what they want us to pray for so we can bring it back for our community to pray for. We will see what they write but we will share it for you to pray for them.
The day finished of course with time to play with the kids. There was an intense game of pato pato ganso (duck duck goose) which typically involves make the gringo chase you. My sponsor girl Maribella was playing, and she made sure to pick me every time with a smile. This was a big difference from last trip when she wouldn't even make eye contact with me. Its amazing to see how cultural and langues barriers eventually break down, and a great combined community ensues.
Tomorrow we will work more on some community construction projects, do some home and sponsor visits, followed by the start of VBS. Pray for the kids to be open to the messages that the team will give, and that God will continue to work through this community. We love all of you and thank you for your support!
We are wrapping up day 3 in El Mirador, and we all have full hearts. We started the morning with a great devotional time about God working in the times of waiting, which is a stage that this community is in still in many ways. They have a lot of dreams, but it is a process to get to them. When you are willing its a process God can have a powerful influence in.
After breakfast the team split in 2, with half the team continuing to paint the pharmacy, and half doing home visits. The pharmacy team of course nailed it and painted to perfection thanks to me supervising. The half that went on home visits had some really powerful moments. They visited one community member who used to come to the community center to visit us on prior trips, but has very ill in the last 6 months. He was very grateful we took the time to visit.
In the afternoon we had our first sponsor visits. As you can imagine with a group of Americans walking up to their houses, the kids were very nervous. My sponsor girl would barely even look at me. Of course the second we left she was smiling ear to ear. We had the same effect at every house. We had a brief visit at the catholic church in the community before heading back for VBS.
VBS included a riveting reinactment of Daniel and the lions den, and an epic dance party. I am glad I found a group of kids that appreciated my dance moves. After VBS we played with the kids until it was dark, and all came inside.
Tomorrow will be a full focus on relationships, where we wont be doing any construction since its Sunday. Pray for our home visits to be a powerful message that they are our community. And help us to keep up the energy, these kids are fast and tire you out fast! The whole team sends their love and thanks you for your support.
Today was another great day. So far the team has stayed very healthy, although these kids tire you out quick! My garmin watch says I had over 2,000 active calories today to give you an idea. Some of the kids asked why I was so wet, to which I told them I was "mui caliente". The kids are really showing on this trip that they get we are the same church coming every year, and are really bonding quite quick.
We didn't do any construction since its Sunday, so we did a lot of home visits. We found out two friends in the church who sent gifts with us actually sponsor sisters! It was a great connection to make. After the visits we had some downtime at the community center, where we watched the "los dragones" (the El Mirador mens softball team). We had some fun cheering them on, and yelling "dragones!!" anytime they got a hit. After the big kids were done, us little kids had an epic kickball game with the fellow community kids. My foot still hurts some from my two home runs (but whos counting).
Before VBS we had a group of kids we spent time with teaching them english words, and they would teach us some spanish. We all had a good laugh about Geoff being bald. They are sponges learning the words. VBS went great, followed by another great evening playing with the kids. Everyone on the team had a different area of the field playing with kids of varying ages. On the way back in for the evening, some of the teenagers wanted to learn how to say "buenas noches" in english, so the walk back in we said "goodnight" back and forth many times.
Thank you again for keeping us in your prayers. Tomorrow is the last night of VBS. We will also be doing some construction work on community members houses. Pray for safety and endurance in the warm weather. Also pray that we continue to build on the relationships, so both sides can look forward to the next trip.