Okay, so now that you know everyone, let's continue!
VBS went very well. Day by day we fixed the schedule here and there to find the best way to do things. I was in charge of crafts again, and I did a dreadful job of it. None of my plans worked, so we ended up making posters almost every day. Also, I shared my time with snack time, so the kids didn't have very much time to work on those. Somehow, however, in a way that only God could manage, the kids enjoyed it.
Since I couldn't do much, I really tried to help them learn the memory verses, but they hardly needed my help! Their ability to memorize scripture amazes me. At no point in my life have I been able to memorize anything like those kids! The boys' group and the girls' group each contributed to one huge poster of two of the memory verses, and on the last day we got to hang them up in the hallway, which I think they were pretty proud of. Also, on Saturday we took all of the kids who had memorized all five memory verses out to Chick-fil-a for dinner as a reward.
I don't want to keep you forever, so I'll wrap up with my two favorite parts of the trip and some prayer requests.
1. Sharing the Gospel with Samantha
One of the sweetest little girls I've ever met is named Samantha, and lives in Mission. Last time God used her to help me realize how important it was for us to return, and how wrong it was for us to begin developing relationships and then leave forever. Anyway, I love her, and she loves me (I know, because she told me so, and wrote it a few times on a piece of paper). She may love Blake more now, but I don't mind coming in second.
I said all that to say, as sweet as she is, she didn't necessarily listen well during the Bible Lesson. During one of the lessons, while Gennie was teaching, I was holding her on my lap, trying to encourage her to pay attention, and trying to keep her from talking to everyone around her. Gennie was talking about Heaven, and Samantha asked me what Heaven was. From there, she asked more questions, and I was able to share all about how we are guilty, and Christ died to take away our guilt, and how if we are His when we die will we go to be with Him forever in Heaven. It was so amazing! Every time I'd finish saying one thing, expecting that she'd lose interest, she'd ask the perfect question to lead to the next part. I felt a little bad for distracting her from Gennie, but I think it was worth it.
Even more exciting was that just a few minutes before, unbeknownst to me, Kim was able to share the Gospel with an older girl in another room! It was so cool!
2. Getting to know Sofia
There was only one girl over 12 that came, and her name is Sofia. While we colored posters, I was blessed to be able to talk to her and begin a friendship with her. She's a smart, lovely girl who (like every teenager) is in need of godly influences and role models.
One evening when we invited kids 12 and over to stay later, Kim, Gennie, and I got to spend more time with her, and we learned that she really likes a certain frozen yogurt place. Her birthday was that Saturday, so we immediately fell to scheming. After a few ideas had been tossed around, we agreed to have a girls' night and take her to the frozen yogurt place, and also to try to find a nice Bible for her. Finding a Bible seemed a daunting task. We wanted to get it in English, since that's what most of the kids read best, but Spanish seemed wiser, since that's what the kids comprehend best. Also, she would better be able to share it with her family. It was decided that we needed to get a bilingual Bible, but they usually run at around $70, and none of us could afford that! So we started praying that God would quickly lead us to an affordable Spanish/English Bible. We had about half an hour to find it.
Guess what! We found one! What a Great Provider we serve!
So Saturday evening after Chick-fil-a, the girls said that we would like to ride together to go home. At first we tried fitting 6 girls (Rachel, Kim, Gennie, Sofia, her friend, and myself) into a 5-passenger car. I was going to ride in the trunk, and I was ecstatic! But after rolling about 40 feet, they stopped and said I couldn't. Apparently everyone on earth was worried that I'd die. Party poopers.
My epic disappointment turned out for good, though, because Rachel left us to shop at Target while she went back and got the van. So we checked out sunglasses and jewelry and read funny birthday cards. When Rachel got back, we all waited in the van forever while Kim stood in line to buy a necklace. While we waited, we drove through a car show and joked about entering our not-very-pretty van. Good times.
The yogurt place was AMAZING, and Sofia really liked her Bible. I was and still am so thankful that we were able to help her celebrate her birthday and begin developing a friendship with her. I hope that as time goes on our friendship will grow.
So here are a few ways you can continue to pray (I'm rather persistent in dishing out prayer requests, aren't I?):
1. Continue to pray for wisdom and guidance for me.
I guess I should've mentioned this before. While we were in the Valley, our group had the opportunity to take a tour of the Rio Grande Bible Institute while Billy had several interviews. I know for absolute certain that if Aaron and Rachel are able to go, I will move down with them and attend Missionary Language School. But if they aren't, I still don't know what to do. I really, really want to go, but I'm not at peace with the idea of going without a male head. Maybe that seems old-fashioned, but that's how I roll. I don't want to go without a protector (especially since everyone likes to play matchmaker down there!). Pray that the way would be made very clear to my parents and me!
2. Pray for wisdom and guidance for everyone else.
I'm not the only one facing big decisions. The Suttons and Billy need wisdom and direction, too. I'm willing to bet the rest of our team could use your prayers as well.
3. Pray for Iglesia Bautista Cristo El Rey.
They're a small, struggling church, and they need a pastor, among other things. Please keep them in your prayers!
4. Pray that God would pour out His salvation on Mission, Texas
Beginning with those children we reached out to during this trip! They have heard the Gospel, and despite our sin, we have striven to be ambassadors of Christ. Pray that God would use what He allowed us to do in ways that only He could! Pray that Samantha, and Sofia, and Elmer, and Evaristo, and Emanuel, and Enrique, and Leslie, and Daniel, and Freddy, and Lupita, and America, and Mario, and Jeszel, and Marco, and Irvin, and Naillyn, and Hermes, and Abraham, and Filipe, and Hector, and Diego, and Lianie, and Diana, and Lesley, and Raul, and Vanessa, and all of the other children would recognize their sin, repent, trust in Christ's sacrifice and be saved, they and their households!
Thank you so much for your prayers! They are so encouraging, and appreciated! If you have any questions, please ask! I want to be sure that I'm giving you a full report of all that you've been supporting.
Love and Peace,