The boys slept outside in hammocks with the mosquitos, even when it rained. The girls slept on muddy cement floors with the scorpions, but they were beyond thankful that some of the local residents gave them up for us. (Those same residents slept just outside the front door in order to be sure they were safe.) The bathroom was a hole in the ground with some ripped up plastic around it blowing in the wind. They all woke up at 5am when the rooster strutted in and announced the morning. Some of them even got up to help milk the cows so there would be cream in the coffee at breakfast.
This was by far the most rustic team experience yet! It was a challenge for all of us, the youth from The Summit Church, our own family, and the youth from Iglesia Bethania. This was also the best team experience yet. We didn't just visit local families, we lived with them for 3 days. This was a mission trip for the youth from Iglesia Bethania as well. They have been visiting and serving the people from El Menco for 5 years, but haven't ever stayed over and lived in their community. These two very different youth groups came together and served side by side and it was so beautiful.
Balloon art went to a whole new level this time around. I don't think we can wow these kids with balloon animal dogs ever again.
We reached out to kids of all ages.
The women shared all kinds of jewelry making ideas with each other.
We held church every evening and several members of the community believed for the first time!
This is copied from an email I received from Wyland’s mom about how she felt after her trip. And this is why every teenager should go on a mission trip and experience what God is doing in the world for themselves.
“She felt the love of the people there and she they are truly genuine. She said all of the extra stuff does not matter there. She said she wanted to stay and love on the people there. She said at first she couldn’t understand the love she was feeling. Then she said it was really God. She said she knew God was real.”
Our purpose was to build a structure for church services that would be shelter from the strong sun and rain. The new church in El Menco, named "Discipling the Nations for Christ" is growing so fast and could no longer meet in the residents' small houses. The hope is to build walls and add on to this structure in the near future.
About 50 members from Iglesia Bethania came down the last day, on the backs of a couple of fruit trucks, to be a part of the dedication ceremony. We also baptized 2 of our youth, Eliette and Guissell, in the lake. I am so proud of these girls, especially Guissell, who has been personally studying the Bible with me this year.
After camping in El Menco, we did some service programs in at Iglesia Bethania and at the San Antonio church as well.
One of the best parts of the week was watching the relationships form between the youth from the two churches. It was really rewarding to watch our English students conversing without a translator.
These kids even made picking up trash into a fun game. There was not a single bad attitude among them. I'm so proud of this whole group!
Lindsay taught everyone (including us) so much about natural medicine. We are so thankful for all of the knowledge and medical care that she shared with us during the week.
We are so excited to announce that Sonia’s store fundraiser has met it’s goal. She was in tears when we told her! She will be breaking ground on it this month. We will post photos of the progress in the coming months. Thank you to everyone who contributed to make this dream into a reality. She has also launched a line of DoTerra essential oil lava rock jewelry that is selling out faster than she can make it. If you are interested, let us know and we will get one for you!
We are still raising money to bring Caleb, Eunice, and Timoteo to the USA in December. This will be a great opportunity for them to learn how to grow their churches and community development programs. You can donate here. We currently have $750 of the $2,000 needed for them to go.
Since February, the prenatal class has welcomed 4 healthy babies into the world!! There are 3 more babies expected during the month of August. Pray for a safe delivery for these little ones as well. Paola Urbina, our nutritionist, is pictured holding the baby (who still isn’t named).
Thank you to everyone who has provided a gift bag for these infants. The moms are so thankful for the cloth diapers, soap, blankets, bottles, and onesies that you’ve given to them. If you would like to contribute to this ministry, you can donate here and buy a gift bag for $25 or you can send baby supplies with the next team from The Summit Church in September.
What you can’t see in the photo above is that the floor in this house one room house is made of dirt and the walls are made of black plastic tarps. The support beams holding it all up are thin tree trunks. The stackable plastic chairs are some of the only furniture besides a small table and bed. Yet, this baby is blessed with an extremely loving family to care for her and really, that is all that she truly needs.
We need your prayers for this young mother, Jackeling, from our El Menco church. She has 3 small children and has been gravely ill since her 3 month old was born and can hardly even care for the children. Her husband is in prison, but she lives with her father in his house and is needed to help him on his farm. We took her in to a doctor in Masatepe for tests and put her on a lot of vitamins because she is so thin and not producing enough milk for the baby. The diagnosis was a possible case of rheumatoid arthritis, but we aren’t entirely sure yet. The baby has come down with pnuemonia during the past week as well. If you would like to help contribute to her medical care, you can donate here.
It’s bittersweet to announce that Don Filipe passed away this past week. He was 89 years old and has been an important part of Iglesia Bethania for almost 9 decades! We are happy that he is no longer in pain, but his friends and family miss him terribly.
The church celebrated their 97 anniversary on Sunday, the 16th of July. Don Filipe was hoping to make it to the 100th celebration. He has been recording a history of the church since the beginning when the first missionaries rode up and showed the people a Bible in their own language.
We have decided that this history needs to be written and published by the 100th anniversary, so we are going to try to finish the work he began and publish it in both Spanish and English. Please pray for us in this endeavor.