Monday, March 21, 2011

The Week in Progreso

Wow. Last week's mission trip to Progreso is one I will remember and ponder for a long time to come. It's hard to even know how to begin to describe the varied experiences, both from a spiritual and emotional standpoint. As with many trips of this nature, there were highs and lows. Parts of the week were a real struggle for me for personal reasons which will remain unstated on a public forum. Yet God worked in those to minister to me through times of sweet fellowship with others on the trip.

A huge highlight of the trip was watching my girls absolutely glow as they experienced God moving and using them. My girl was able to share the gospel several times and experienced the power of prayer like never before. And GG described it "as the best week of my life" (along with her salvation and baptism) as she learned to serve, share her testimony, and pray in a group. It was a joy to watch them and the other youth grow in leaps and bounds.

Here are a few pictures to give you a "snapshot" view of the week:

One of the girls at VBS with her craft from day one: she chose to write Jesus vive (Jesus lives)

Painting the bookshelves some of our church members had made for us to bring for the book fair.

One of the girls copying a verse at VBS on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday afternoon we had a Ladies Salon at the Community Center and ministered to some of the "weariest" women by giving them pedicures and manicures, along with a bag of goodies (including a Spanish Bible) to take home. Several of our teen girls helped with this and described it as one of the most challenging (read: disgusting!) yet fulfilling things they had ever done. I was so touched by their maturity in serving "the least of these."

On Wednesday afternoon we had a book fair and about 25 families received a pile of new and used books, both in Spanish and English, including Bible storybooks, a reference book to use when their children are sick, and the Gospel of John, along with the bookshelves (personalized with their children's names). Here a brother and sister proudly display some of the books they have chosen.

The gospel presentation at VBS. I love this visual. Black cherry Kool-Aid mixed with water is poured into a glass of water to show how black our hearts become when we sin and don't have Jesus in our lives. Here she is getting ready to pour "Jesus" in to show what happens when He comes into our lives.

The kids all gasp when the black instantly disappears, showing how he purifies us and takes away our sin. Even though we sin after we become a Christian, we are still seen as spotless because of Jesus; when she pours a little more of the Kool-Aid mixture into the jar she purified, it doesn't turn black. (The jar representing Jesus contains Clorox.) We've done this illustration at our church VBS a lot and it is always a hit. I've heard about it for years but this is the first time I've actually seen it done.

My girl wanted to bring this 5-year-old boy home with us!

The four boys to the left of the teacher and closest to the van are teens who had ridden the van several days to VBS. Thursday they weren't there when the van went by to pick them up, and we were disappointed that they weren't coming. A little while later they showed up at the church. They had WALKED 30 MINUTES to come to VBS!

It took several days but I finally tracked down my friend Laura that I met back in 2008. She was so active in the church back then. I had asked her two married daughters about her after church on Sunday and they were vague but said she was fine. Her kids didn't come to VBS, and God placed such a burden for her on my heart. Wednesday I talked to the pastor through our interpreter and he told me she has had some marital struggles and has drifted a bit. So Thursday afternoon I and another of the ladies from our church, along with my girls and one of the teen boys and the intern who was our interpreter for the week, drove to her house hoping she would be there. She was and we had a sweet reunion. We gave them one of the bookshelves and some books. Here my girls are personalizing it while the boys look on.

And here is Laura and her family. The little girl she is holding is her granddaughter, and the two boys on the left in the black t-shirts are her grandsons. The others are some of her ten kids. The taller boy in the cap is Ernie, who played the accordion in the service when we were there in 2008.

I showed Laura the picture on my phone that I had taken in 2008 and told her I wanted another one of the two of us, so here we are. She speaks very little English but when we were about to leave, she grabbed me, looked me straight in the eye and said "thank you very much" -- I could tell it was from the depths of her soul. I told her that I had been asking about her (and her daughter had told her that someone was looking for her as well). How I pray that God uses the fact that I sought her out to minister to her and show her that He is seeking her as well.

After we got back to the encampment where we were staying Thursday afternoon, we had a little bit of a break before heading to the community block party we were sponsoring. Um, some of us had a bigger "break" than others. Several of the youth had an impromptu basketball scrimmage and my girl came down and twisted her foot and so she and I had a little side excursion before the block party. It appears she has a hairline fracture on her right foot. The irony is that last year on her mission trip to Guatemala she broke a finger. This year it's a foot. (At least it doesn't hamper her music!) Next year she is eagerly anticipating the Junior-Senior mission trip to Thailand. I would really like a doctor or nurse to accompany her! And she feels called to missions as a vocation! Either she needs an organization with great benefits or she needs to marry a doctor!

When we got back to the party, a grandmother had brought her granddaughter who has Down's syndrome. My girl has such a heart for special needs kids so they immediately bonded. My girl painted a rainbow on her face and then they headed off to the playground area together. I love this picture.

We got home Friday evening and Saturday was filled with grocery shopping and laundry and piano lessons. Then I continued my statewide tour of Texas ERs: my man had been helping a friend build a shed and prune some trees on his retirement property and, in spite of wearing a hat and glasses, a branch whipped across his face and gave him a pretty bad corneal abrasion. So we spent a couple of hours Saturday evening in the ER as soon as they got back. My friends have asked if I'm either a) a secret shopper for ER's or b) getting frequent flyer miles, and have also suggested I not let my boy leave the house since he's the only one of our original family that is unscathed!

I hope you had a great week last week - I had to just delete the 450+ blog posts in my reader. And since first thing this morning I have my PT treatment, an orthopedic appointment to make, and an eye doctor to call, plus issues to handle regarding my sister, I'm not sure exactly when I'll be around to visit you! Have a great Monday!


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Mind Movies Reviews said...

It sure looks like a fun and wonderful day for exciting activities! The kids are really enjoying aren't they? Have a great day ahead!

ipad apps uk said...

Such an inspiration activities.

Joyce said...

It sounds like an amazing week! I especially loved hearing about the woman you sought out...I will add her to my prayers today.

My daughter2 has been in more ER's than I care to count. When she was a toddler I joked that my name was probably on a computer chip at the local hospitals!

She went on some mission trips with YL in highschool...they took a dr. along and she always made friends with the doctor : ) Stuff just happens to her. Sigh. Hope your daughter's foot heals quickly and your hubs eye too!


I loved the Jesus and kool-aid visual.

Rachel Olsen said...

I so love that yall gave them pedicures! And I pray her fracture heals fully.

Blessings ~ Rachel

quilly said...

What a blessed time you had! The gift of manicures and pedicures was brilliant -- pure pampering and love -- and with a Biblical precedent!

Maybe your daughter should marry a doctor with a heart for missions, then she would always have her own personal physician.

sara said...

What an amazing week you had!!! I teared up as I read about you finding Laura. I can only imagine how special she felt!!! Such a sweet moment.

praying for you as you transition back into your schedule!

bp said...

Loved your story and pictures of your week. Sounds like many hearts and lives were touched! Praise God for that. Hope you're having a good week back home!