Friday, August 8, 2008

Day five in Ecuador

On the fifth day of my mission trip, my true love gave to me..................
5 glorious days with kids eager to learn about Jesus
4 days without hot water
3 bruises blackening
2 translators
1 wonderful but humbling experience

Friday was by far the hardest day we had. We had gotten to know the families that were there. We had gotten to know the kids. Played with them, loved on them. Or rather, they loved on us. We re-enforced what they were learning. We saw them as sponges, absorbing all that was said.

The people from the church were making us lunch on this day. They wanted to thank us for all that we did for them. But I think we should have been thanking them for all that they did for us. We played soccor with some kids that knew how to playit well. One of the girls in our group got kicked in the leg by one of the guys in our group.

We ate what they fed us. It was yummy. They grilled pork chops, chicken and beef. They made corn and steam vegetables and some yummy potato cakes. We ate and ate and ate some more. They would come around with these plates full of meat. They wanted to make sure we had one of each piece of meat. N, our leader, had eaten his portion and then another of our groups portion. It works well to have guys in our group. JB, wouldn't sit next to us after the hot dog incident.

By this day, I was doing a lot of the translating of the skit and lessons. I was nervous at first, but I didn't have to worry, because the couple of words I would say wrong, the kids would correct. It was funny. We taught them 'I have joy like a river' in Spanish. They wanted to sing this all the time. I also taught them a song in Spanish that says 'I have a friend that loves me, that loves me, that loves me, I have a friend that loves me, his name is Jesus.' Of course, that one I taught only to the group (the youth) that I was helping with. They wanted to sing that all the time as well. They really enjoyed 'I have joy like a river' in English. Some of them got it.

During Friday's lesson in small groups, I was informed right then and there that I was to do the entire lesson. Try coming up with something in Spanish on the spot. I looked at JG, who was another member of our group, and asked her what we should do. I did come up with stuff though. God is good. We did the cross trick as well. They enjoyed that.

We had taken the church some clothes from here. We found out on that day that they (the pastor and his wife) had painstakingly, unselfishly, folded each and every piece of clothing neatly and with love. They then placed this piece of clothing in a plastic bag and enclosed it with a Jesus book. Each child was to receive this gift. They were short 10 bags for the older kids.

I say painstakingly because Maria, the pastors wife, has rheumatoid arthritis. Medicine is not cheap over there. She never let on that she was in so much pain, and we only knew when we probed her and she told us.

We also had taken 150 bags filled with toys, colors, gum, candy and such. We added a little bag to each big bag.

When VBS was over, they distributed these bags to all the kids. There was no fighting over which bag was bigger. No fighting because one baggie had more stuff than others. Never heard a "that's not fair". They all just accepted these bags and the look on their faces said it all. They wouldn't even push to hurry up the person in front of them. They just waited their turn.

One little boy approached me and asked me if I could help him find someone to switch with him. He had gotten a girl bag and of course was hoping to get a boy bag. We asked around and this one little girl had gotten a boy bag. The shirt she pulled out had some stains on it. The little boy looked at it and said "no, that's OK. I'll just give this to my sister. I have this goody bag anyway"

We all cried when the kids were telling us goodbye. They hugged our necks, gave us kisses, told us they would miss us and even told us they loved us. Try not to cry when they do all that.

When all the kids left, we formed a circle and the ladies of the church wanted to sing songs with us and pray for us. Kennedy, the pastor, had gone to a pastor's convention. To hear these people pray and sing with their hearts is something that I can't explain. It's just beautiful. I know the whole group felt it. Sometimes the translation gets chopped up when even just 1 or 2 words get translated wrong. I was crying. I couldn't translate to the group. The translators did. And when they would mess up a word, I couldn't correct them. The group felt the love these people offered. I don't think any translation was needed. Those little packs of Kleenex's come in handy.

We left there before we cried some more. We went to go eat dinner and tried to not think about this wonderful, bittersweet day. We did enjoy dinner together. We laughed. Especially when the guy came out to take our order and when one person ordered the chicken, he said that was the last piece of chicken and they were out of chicken, so no one else could get chicken. Since we had had that big lunch, and had heavy hearts, we really weren't that hungry. But we still wanted chicken. So the guy said "OK, I'll be back in a little while, let me go prepare more chicken". That's when we laughed. We waited for the sound of the chicken clucking, but we heard none. We all ended up with what we ordered. We didn't even ask where the chicken came from.

We left the restaurant and went to the convenience store to buy some cokes and some dessert. For the previous couple of days, we would get together in our room (girls) and just hang out and talk. So we did it again on this Friday. It was fun.

I leave you this post with a picture of Kennedy and Maria and their 5 sons. I ask that you pray for this family. Pray for Kennedy, that he continues to preach God's word. Pray for the ministry they are doing and for the lives they are touching. Pray for Maria. For her arthritis. There are days when she can't get out of bed. Pray for their boys. The oldest is 21 and the youngest (twins) are 12.

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