Day 9 & 10 - Taking a 180 From Tirrases
The youth girls and I woke up early this morning to cook our green onion pancakes for our host families, as a way to thank them for always cooking for us. We described it as "Chino pancakes" (Chinese Pancakes). They all love the pancakes and it was gone before I could even taste test it!
After breakfast, we met up with the rest of the team and headed for the International Baptist Church. I was relieved when I heard singing in English from the outside of the church (they were preparing for worship). We were greeted by Pastor John, the man who built IBC thirteen years ago. The church was beautiful, both on the outside and inside, and I really enjoyed the service (although most of the team did not). Worship songs were sang in between every announcement (the service would be song, announcement, song, announcement, etc.), so we stood and sat down a lot of times. We also witnessed a little girl's baptism and listened to her testimony, which I thought was pretty awesome. She shared her testimony in Spanish, but the rest of the service and worship was in English.
During lunch, we ate at Monster Pizza. The name of the restaurant did not lie, because the pizza that we ordered was monstrous indeed! I told the group that I would eat the leftover toppings off the plate if we were able to finish the entire pizza... and that is what I did. Of course, Amy had to hold my hair. I was literally in a food coma shortly after.
In the evening, we worked on our lesson plan for Pavas. It was hard to plan because the age group and number of people that we will be teaching was very vague. The only fact we knew was that Pavas is a very poor community, and most people who live there fall into drug trafficking and gangs. During our preparation, I felt that it would be very hard for me to let go of the kids at Tirrases due to all the memories. How was anything going to top my experience with Julio and his family? I prayed to God that night that he would help open my heart to love on the people in Pavas the same way that I love the people in Tirrases. Boy was I in for a surprise…
We headed for Pavas at 8:00am (Monday). Sergio and Gabriel, two missionaries from another group, were kind enough to come with us to Pavas because we needed translators. We met up with Pastor C. , who led us to a house to pray for a family that recently came to Christ.
Pastor C. use to be a mob boss who led a gang of boys that robbed houses and cars every night. After coming to Christ, he planted a church in Pavas and started reaching out to his gang members. One of Pastor C's former gang member, who robbed cars with him in the past, started a car repair shop after becoming Christian. Pavas is a very dangerous place to live in because many people fall into gangs, drugs, and other addictions. However, Pastor C.'s ministry serves to show people in Pavas that there is a life outside this city, that they do not have to go back into drugs or alcohol to find acceptance, and that God has not forgotten about them. His goal is to “change the mindset of the people into a serving mode." Most of the teenagers and adults who attend the church are very new Christians, each with their own past of drug addiction and gang involvement.
After praying for the family, we went to a local high school, where we shared our testimonies and helped out in the English classes. We then headed for Pastor C.'s church and began welcoming people that came for the lesson. We started the lesson with a skit that we prepared last night. I was putting on the armor of God, and each item that I placed on protected me from a sin that my team was trying to tempt me with. (Skit will be posted once uploaded to youtube... so stay tuned!)
Brandon shared a short devotion and Melissa made more worksheets that everyone loved, even the adults. Most of the adults there did not grow up with a childhood due to all the problems in their community. Thus, coloring a picture and making beaded bracelets was something new to them. There was an innocence about them and they worked really hard to make their soldier colorful.
Every single person, from child to adult, was diligent and hard working. We had over 40 people from all different age ranges working on the lesson. This was a complete 180 from Tirrases, because all the kids at Tirrases were very energetic and only wanted to play. It had taken us a long time to get the kids in Tirrases settled into the lessons. However, in Pavas, everyone was so eager to learn that it was just a huge encouragement. At the end of the day, we played "fruit basket". Everybody was assigned a fruit, and when your fruit was called, you had to get up and run to find another seat. Somehow, me and guanabana ended up together... it was destiny. If you did not have a seat, then you were eliminated. It was especially funny because the floor was slippery, and all the adults were very competitive. Nobody got hurt in the process, so don't worry :) But team guanabana did win! (Me and another man that was also a "guanabana" were the last ones standing!)
What started out as a stressful day of unknowns ended as a huge encouragement to the team, and we are all very excited to see what tomorrow brings. Of course... we spent the evening prepping again, but we had some help...from the twins!
Prayer Request :)
- MORE ENERGY to finish off our missions trip strong
- We are sharing base camp with two other large groups, so pray that we will have the patience to work together and coordinate
- That the people in Pavas will be opened to further explore their relationship with God
Spanish Phrase of the Day: Todas Las Frutas (which means all the fruits... I said this when I was in the middle of the circle and wanted to make everyone change seats)
In his Love,