Thursday, July 19, 2012
"For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Mark 10:45
What an incredible day to serve others!
This group of amazing people are such a blessing and true example of what it means to have a servant's heart. Another day of glorious blue skies and billowy white clouds. God has provided a steady breeze each day cooling our skin that is working in the blazing sunshine. I have never seen so many filthy dirty, ridiculously happy people as those serving on this mission trip. We are covered in cement and saw dust, paint, dirt, sunblock, bug spray, wet bandanas, and loving every minute! So much went on today there will have to be a blog of stories to follow. But for now the highlights are:
VBS was as busy as ever ministering in adjacent villages with Bible stories, songs, hugs, warm smiles and lots and lots of children! Each darling face is eager to hear about Jesus, who loved the little children with all His heart! It is a common sight to see our youth with two or three Dominican children on their laps, climbing their shoulders, swinging from their arms. The sound of laughter and music carries all the way back to Catalina! The team's boundless energy is such a joy to see and brightens us all!
Heavy construction will complete the massive additions, roofing and platform side room projects by tomorrow afternoon. The church walls are all painted with one coat of paint, with a second being applied tomorrow. Mounds of dirt were shoveled, loaded and brought to us from a local sugar cane village to fill our newly made plant box. The cement block, skim coated box measures 16' long by 4' wide and will be a beautiful curb appeal for God's house.
Light construction is so excited to see the plants be installed tomorrow by two team members who are landscapers by trade. What a blessing! Mama's garden is absolutely beautiful and although she is still in mourning for her brother, she did see some pictures of the progress outside her house and she broke down and cried. She assured us they were tears of joy and gratitude! The 40' container is almost finished with 8' high hands, one brown and one flesh color, holding each other, joined together in Christ!
Pastor Vernon's ministry main floor is completely painted and gorgeous. We were delighted to be served dinner there this evening, the first missionaries in the finished space!
Todays was "Fiesta" day and at 3pm a large group of us teamed up with our Catalina family and prepared for the community guests. Tables were set up for face painting, balloon animals, games and prizes, music and fellowship. Our Catalina church family prepared 1,700 hotdogs, packaged cupcakes and an orange drinks for those in attendance. There wasn't a single morsel of food left over. All of this is free to the community and is a wonderful testament to our love of Jesus and His love for people.
Ironically, what ended up being the highlight of the event was a quick passing downpour that sent our community guests scrambling for cover. An enormous tarp had been brought to the Fiesta that was the size of an olympic size swimming pool. Quickly, our team all grabbed sides and corners of the tarp and lifted it as high as our arms could reach so our guests could run under and stay dry. The community children looked at all of us in amazement as we got soaked, smiles on our faces, keeping them dry.
Immediately after there appeared in the sky directly over head a double rainbow! We had God goosebumps!! Truly incredible! We put many of our San Jose guests on our buses to drive them back to their village safely and we all walked back to Pastor Vernon's house for a late dinner, exhilarated by God's blessing upon us all.
Please pray for our music and drama teams as they have practiced so diligently for tomorrow night's worship service in Catalina. For our construction teams and our VBS team who will be joining in all day tomorrow to ready the church and Mama's house adjoining the Handfuls of Hope House for our time of worship together. This will be the first service held in the newly expanded space and we get to praise and worship our Lord together, united in Him!