Monday, July 21, 2008

Sweet Kids in Progreso

Our main project in Progreso was holding a VBS at the Community Center. Unlike past years, when quite a few adults have gone and the youth have assisted, this time we took 24 youth and only 5 adults. So the teenagers basically ran VBS. I handled registering the kids, another woman doled out the crafts, and the our youth minister and one other man drove the vans to pick up and drop off the kids. Our middle-school minister helped run the snow cone machine and helped with recreation.

I was so proud of our youth. They led the music, took turns telling the daily Bible story, led their groups from "station" to "station" -- and loved on the kids.

For several of the youth, this was their 2nd or 3rd trip, so they have developed relationships with some of the kids. They remembered names and would "claim" the kids as they came in. "He was in my group last year. Put him with me."

The boy in the yellow shirt is Artemio. The last couple of years he's been with our guy Matt, and spent much of his time perched on Matt's shoulders. He didn't come to VBS the first 3 days this year for some reason. But Wednesday night when we had the "block party" at the park, he was there. He came running up to Matt, barrelled into him and threw both arms around his legs, giving him a huge hug! Then he pointed up to Matt's shoulders. As you can see, Matt was happy to oblige! Later while the local pastor was preaching, Artemio ran off when the ice cream truck drove up. The next thing Matt knew, here came Artemio with two popsicles in his hand, one of which he held out to Matt - "for you." Matt couldn't believe it. It gives me goosebumps every time I tell that story. These people have nothing. And yet that boy gave sacrificially out of his love. Artemio came to VBS Thursday and Friday and was right with Matt the whole time.

This guy charmed all the little girls! These two are actually cousins and started out in my girl's group. By Thursday they were hanging all over Samuel. His family has cared for a pile of foster kids and have adopted 5 or 6 of them; Samuel really wanted to bring some kids home with him!

As I mentioned, we were at the Community Center. On Monday morning, I noticed the woman who answers the phones there had her little baby with her. Tiny and sweet, I assumed she was just a couple of weeks old. No, she had been born on Saturday, 2 days before. And she was that woman's 7th child. No maternity leave there; you gotta work to get paid. She was probably glad she was born on a Saturday so she didn't miss any work!

The kids thrived on physical touch. Many of them are parts of huge families and they don't get the individual attention that our own kids take for granted. In an impoverished society where a mom goes back to work 2 days after childbirth, there's not a lot of time to play with the kids! This is one of my favorite youth (wink) holding a little girl named America.

Even the big kids thrived on getting a ride on someone's back or shoulders. . . .

Tomorrow I want to introduce you to a friend I made. And shopping for school supplies will have a whole new meaning this year!


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Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

This reminds me so much of our mission to Montgomery, AL. We are leaving Wednesday night for our fourth year. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful experience!

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

wow, Wow WOW WOOOW! So wonderful! Can't wait to read the next post!

Tiffany said...

Such precious stories! My two older boys are each going to Mexico this summer. Both are going to an orphanage for handicapped kids. I am so excited. Your post makes me even more so...

Sandy@ Jesus and Dark Chocolate said...

Love the pictures! And the story of the little boy buying the popsicles is dear! Pray for that area tonight, did you hear Hurricane Dolly is about to pound that part of Texas!!

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

Such sweet stories of ministry and friendship. I'm so glad the Lord opened a way for you guys to participate on this trip!