Day 8 - Amigos Para Siempre
Our team got to base camp at 6:00am this morning and met with Gary, Horacio, and Esther. From there, we made 180 sandwiches (assembly line style) and coffee for the homeless people that we ministered to that morning. Before we headed out, Horacio gave us a background on his ministry:
"Every Saturday morning, Esther and I go out to the park and love on the people. We have been doing this for nine years. After sharing a small devotion with them, we pass out sandwiches and coffee. Passing out sandwiches does not help them out much because honestly, they can beg on the street and someone would be nice enough to give them food. What they need is love. These people do not get love. They are even rejected when they try to attend a church due to their smell. My only hope is that they know how much God loves them, and that they are his treasures here on Earth."
The park was a 10 minute drive from base. When we got there, we saw around 60 people waiting for Horacio. We made our way around to shake hands and greet everybody. It was really awesome to see how much Horacio loves the people. I was really excited for this ministry because I've worked and led homeless ministry all my life, both in San Francisco and San Diego, so it is a ministry that is very close to my heart.
Horacio shared the story of Job, reminding them that even though they may have lost everything around them, the secret to a joyful life is having faith in God despite the hardships. He also had a small altar call and around 15 men came up to recite the Lord's Prayer with Horacio. I had my arm around Randell, and after the prayer, he gave me hug and said thank you with tears in his eyes. It was pretty amazing knowing that I had just witness more people coming to Christ. I also met Joseph and Mark afterwards and talked with them for a bit. They are both young men in their 20s and it was hard to imagine them on the streets, since they both seemed very charming and easy to talk to. With the little Spanish that I knew and the little English that Mark knew, we somehow had a conversation. Joseph said something that really touched me:
"The fact that you not only came out here to talk to me about God, but are willing to sit next to me on these dirty steps, listen to my life story, and hug me, must be from someone greater. My heart cries because you are only here for today, but I hope to see you again in the future."
Joseph and Mark both stood up for the alter call, and although I may not see them ever again, I know that God will be working in them, and I will continue to pray for them. Sorry for the lack of pictures from this morning...
After homeless ministry, Gary brought us to the Artisan Market. We browsed through the crafts, clothes, and woodwork that was for sale. Most of us bought one or two items to bring home to our family as gifts. Brandon and Melissa bought the entire team matching "Pura Vida" tanks that we will wear to zumba next week, so stay tuned for pictures of Pastor Brandon wearing a neon green tank while doing zumba!
We ate at the same fish place that we had lunch at on day 1. I was pretty sad to find out that they ran out of guanabana smoothies... Everyone ate quickly because we still had to go to Tirrases for Horacio's Saturday bible school.
Our last day at Tirrases was bittersweet. We began the lesson with singspiration. During that time, Julio came and sat next to me. He whispered in my ear, "Lisa muy inteligente!" I laughed because this whole week, I have been telling him, "Julio muy inteligente" when he completed his worksheets and crafts. I knew I was going to miss him a lot.
After singspiration, kids were divided into groups based on their age. Danielle and Amy worked with the preschoolers, Melissa worked with girls ages 4-10, Karina worked with the older girls, and Brandon worked with the younger boys. I was grouped with 11 to 12 year old girls, along with Jamie and Nathan, both short term missionaries. Each student After reading some of Genesis, Jamie gave a quick lesson on the importance of prayer. Then, the kids made a "prayer box" with origami paper and wrote prayers to put inside their box.
As I hugged the kids goodbye, I realized how much I would miss them and how much they had done for me in my growth with God. Five days with them reminded me to always be joyful in every season and every circumstance that God puts me in. These kids do not have macbooks, iPhones, cable TV, designer brand clothes, or the other luxuries at home that we have. The classroom is not big nor does it have AC, but Horacio and the kids have never complained. To them, this is their second home. To them, this is a place away from abuse. To them, this is their church. To them, this is a safe haven. To them, this is a place that God has blessed them with. So I hope that you will please keep these kids and the school in your prayers.
Right before I got onto the bus, Julio and Yami ran out to give me one last hug. They each had given me a million hugs previously, but it was extremely hard to let them go at that moment. When I finally released them, Julio said to me "Lisa y Julio amigos para siempre," (Lisa and Julio are friends forever) and ran back into the classroom.
In the evening, we made dough for green onion pancakes so that we can cook them for our host family in the morning. It was a really good time of team bonding and watching Brandon roll dough made us all laugh.
Prayer Request :)
- Pray for the kids in Tirrases - That they will continue to grow with God and put on the armor of God each and every day.
- Pray for the people we met in Homeless Ministry - May they always know that God loves them no matter what. Pray that they will feel loved.
- Pray for our time in Pavas this week - May God grant us wisdom to teach what he wants the students there to hear
Spanish Phrase of the Day: Amigos Para Siempre (which means Friends Forever... Julio said this to me right before I left, which made me tear up)
In his Love,