James 1:2, 22a, 25b “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials,… be doers of the word, and not hearers only… this one will be blessed in what he does.”
“I’m gonna have some tea, because I feel English right now.” Zekes says and does a lot of funny things, but this was one I never expected him to say. As you can see from the picture below we are sitting around the table right now talking about stuff as random as shoes to things we enjoyed about during the day.
Today was our first day of VBS and it was a rewarding day at that. It began with a great devotional from Amanda inspired from the book of James chapter 1 verses 2-8 and 22-25. I have to say I am pretty darn proud of this girl, she can lay it down. Not only that I know we all took something from it. For me, it was a good reminder that trials are a joy, a blessing in disguise from the Lord. When we go through trials it will produce in us a patience, which produces completeness, or as Amanda said contentment. Want to be content in the Lord, or complete, go through trials. But we don’t stop there, we must move on to be doers of the Word. Doing this will make you a blessed man (or woman).
Doing the VBS is where you start to see the reward for all our preparation, and oh how these kids can soften a hard man’s heart. After the devotionals we did a little more preparation then headed to a local grade school to invite the kids to the Colonia Vacacional (VBS).
One of the first things you notice is how different the culture here is in regards to dealing with children. After inviting some of the kids we returned to the church, ate lunch then went to El Mercado to collect the kids and bring them to the Colonia. Walking around the Mercado all the children gather around you and run from every nook and cranny, grabbing onto your hands or holding hands with other ninos (children) as we walk around inviting and gathering more kids. No parents follow, just us and the kids walking around until almost all the kids from the market are found and ready to go. Excited, we made our way back to the church with all the kids, some ran on ahead unable to contain their excitement while the rest walked slowly with us. Once there the madness begins. We start with worship, followed with a puppet show and then do some different stations (crafts, games, snacks with crafts). We also did a skit about the centurion who had a servant who fell ill but was healed by Jesus. In asking Eddie about his favorite thing of the day he told me “When I helped a kid make their necklace.”
After the VBS we had a little bit of time to break things down and eat dinner, we were rushed since Zeke had to teach the mid-week Bible study tonight, which he did an amazing job at based on Titus 3. We still have one more day of VBS tomorrow and we are probably going to be even more tired then we were today, so please keep us all in prayer. I have to say my heart is getting softer by the day, I can’t help but love these kids. There was a girl at the VBS who remembered me from 2 years ago, which is amazing. Two other kids remembered Justin McCoy (Sheri if you read this tell Justin that Angelica and Juan Diego say hi). This is the impact that we are making on these kids lives, we were there for a week 2 years ago and they still remember our names. What do you think will happen when all these kids grow up? All these kids who may go to different churches or Christian denominations or maybe don’t have church going families, but they know of Jesus, the foundations are there. This work must continue, because if it does all of Cuenca will be Christians in 10 years, Christians who believe and trust in Jesus, if only they have their childhood memories to fall back on.
Well, that’s about all I have to say on day four, I would say more but I am actually having a hard time with English right now (this has been the hardest blog to write, partly because I’m sleep deprived, yet full of the joy of the Lord, and my brain is constantly trying to translate everything into Spanish).
As promised though I am going to be having a word from each of the team members each day, so here’s a word from Amanda Hudson.
“Today our VBS theme was “No matter who you, trust God!” We all, no matter who we are, need more of Jesus in our lives–we need to trust in the plans that He has for us. We need to be in His word daily so that we can always be learning new things. We need to apply the truths of God’s word in our daily lives and live out our faith. We need Jesus, and the more we lean on Him, the more He will provide for us and teach us. To quote Zeke, “I don’t know why God loves us so much!” But the good news is: HE DOES! God is amazing!”