Hello from Dearborn! Today, instead of teaching ESL, we worked on a friend’s home. We primed the walls for painting and raked leaves. Two of the interns are living with us for the week, and we have become very close to them. The friend whose house we worked on was grateful and brought us dinner. We also spent a lot of time today relaxing. Tomorrow, we will teach ESL and go to the University of Michigan Dearborn where Dr. Jessup will speak. Please pray that we are able to keep our energy up as well as rest when we get the chance. Thanks for reading!
Today’s blog is written by Maddie Schwartz. She is from Wakarusa, Indiana, and a professional “Head’s Up” player.
A quick story/lesson from this week:
At breakfast on Sunday I was walking past a woman and she dropped her pen. I quickly picked it up and handed it to her. She immediately smiled and thanked me saying I was “the sweetest” as she gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She then proceeded to tell me that her name was Cheryl and that God had just blessed her with an apartment. She was to move in two weeks. It was a brief conversation, but it was a powerful moment for me. In Cheryl, I saw incredible trust in the Lord. She seemed to rely on him completely for all of her needs. I noticed the same strong trust in the Lord’s provision in many of the other community members that I encountered that morning. Another woman, Cheri, shared part of her story in front of the church. As she shared she made a statement that I thought perfectly described this type of trust. She said, “Send your requests to Him and BELIEVE that he will come through.” It seems so simple. Trust that the Lord will come through. Do I always fully believe that he will come through for me? I am not so sure that I do. I tend to doubt and question. However, it was through my encounters with these community members that I was reminded that we have such a TRUSTWORTHY God. He is faithful. We need to fully trust in his faithfulness, even in the midst of hardship and uncertainty.
Other updates from the week:
We have been spending a lot of time on work projects for Shepherd. We have painted, installed new dry wall, and prepared a garden for planting. It has been tiring but it has also been great knowing that we are helping an organization that makes such a great impact on the surrounding community. Today we started a Poverty 101 class with a staff member at Shepherd, Tim Street. In this class we are learning how our paradigms align with those in poverty, and how the church should approach poverty with a posture of learning. Also, through Taylor’s alumni office, we have been able to connect with some Taylor alumni around the Indy area. Seeing how they have chosen to engage their community where they are at has been a treat!! THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!
(waiting for the rally to begin)
Yesterday, the campers arrived and we helped the check-in process. Some of us directed campers to their rooms while others checked through bags for any prohibited items. The camp is grouped into four teams (Rojo, Amarillo, Azul, y Verde) at the beginning of move in day and many were excited to see the volunteers from the Estados Unidos also be divided into teams.
After an introduction chapel, the campers had a game time, which we volunteers tested out beforehand. The great thing about playing games is that language barriers almost don’t exist. We broke up into small groups afterward to create a team cheer and mascot. However, only a few groups had a team translator (or student comfortable with Spanish). This made it hard to participate in creating the cheer and many of us felt the desire to have learned Spanish before coming to Bolivia. Even with broken Spanish, which some of us could use (Gracias, Professor Klotz), it was hard to keep up with the entire group of 31 or so campers on each team. After dinner, we met again with all the teams in the chapel and watched a movie that introduce the theme (Des Zombie = De-Zombie; a play on the addictive nature of technology and social media). The media was incredibly well-done and the kids seemed to really enjoy it. A speaker also gave a message about pitfalls of destructive habits (connected to technology).
Early this morning, we began the day with the campers participating in group aerobics. After breakfast, we went with the Bolivian volunteers to set up a multi-tiered race while the kids were in chapel. Each of us were at different posts along the path. Two campers from each team had a cart in which one rode while the other pushed. They had to race around the track in the shortest amount of time while completing or avoiding obstacles. Some from our team helped with jousting while others set up swinging tires, lances, and water balloon targets. The teams are much more competitive than we expected and love to get hyped with cheers they hand wrote yesterday.
This afternoon, we will be setting up for the banquet and also running the obstacle course and famed mud pit, which all volunteers must brave for their initiation into Monte Blanco. This obstacle course is the same that we cleared earlier in the week, for which we will be thankful as we watch the campers run through each section. Personally, Kelsey and I (Ashlee) are pumped to slosh through some Bolivian mud and see if it is really as fun as the videos show. This is the climax of the activity portion of the camp and after the banquet, we will all hike up to the fire pit for some songs and ministry. Strategically, Tim has told us that in order to break down barriers, the kids must first enjoy fun activities and good food without being pushed to make a life change for Christ the first day. The campfire time offers an intimate setting in which the campers will have the opportunity to hear the gospel like never before and personally choose Christ. While it promises to be a long night ahead, all of us are excited to see how God will touch their hearts tonight.
Ashlee and Kelsey
Monday was our first official day on the beach, and for the most part it looked pretty typical. Conversations with homeless, reconnecting with friends from Ocean view and chances to talk with individuals enjoying the beautiful weather in Daytona. But at the end of the day, there was a sense of frustration with the team. While we want to limit our ‘expectations’…we were faced with a larger percentage of individuals who were just so very broken and seemed not to even care about it. Almost resigned to their state. They would either use crude talk or philosophical arguments to keep the conversation at arm’s length.
But while it was frustrating, we are not discouraged! During our sharing we encouraged each other to push through the frustration. To continue to reach out and love the people we met and, rather than being offended by their brokenness, instead to see them as God does, be broken for them and love them in a way that points them to their heavenly Father.
Pray for us in this….it is not something we can muster on our own!
Maddie, Mallory, Taylor, and Jessie getting ready to paint some walls. Today we cleaned, moved furniture, put up dry wall, and painted.
We do, shall I say, “like to move it, move it. We like to move it move it!”- Madagascar 1 🙂
We are having a blast getting to know each other, and the gems within the Indy area. Today we got to hang out with Shepherd’s fellows (year-long interns), and it was awesome to see more of Shepherd’s impact on people outside of the community as well as inside of it!!!
Pray for endurance. Pray for more encounters with local neighbors, and pray for boldness and confidence in conversations! THANK YOU so much for making this possible. We will have some more stories coming at you soon! #Indyherd15
Love, was the common thread that ran through our day and was so evident. Our team gets along so well and we laugh so much that it feels like we have been together for a lot longer than 2 days.
We woke up to the smell of delicious crepes filled with ham and cheese, some even with fresh strawberries and bananas. As we finished our breakfast we transitioned into a time of devotions as a team and then headed out to church.
The sermon today was all about Love, and the different types of love such as agape. The pastor talked a lot about men and women and their roles in relationships. We have to learn to ask for forgiveness and forgive one another so that we can then love each other better. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 We were all reminded today of the never failing, unconditional love we have received from the Father. We were shown so much love from the people in church as they prayed for our families back home and the work that our team is going to be doing this week.
Rosie’s birthday was today and we all had an absolute blast celebrating her throughout the day. It all began at breakfast when we sang to her. Then when we arrived at the park we were visiting we surprised her with a cake and sang to her again. Hector proceeded to convince her that it was a tradition to take a bite of a giant piece of cake, we all agreed and said he was right. We all knew that Hector was really just going to shove the cake in her face. GOT HER. It was so much fun showering her with love on the day she was born.
This was the best part of our day. We got to hear first hand from one of the entrepreneurs that is a great example to others here in Tegucigalpa. Elizabeth has a passion that is so evident. Her faith is so inspiring. One of the stories she shared with us was about how she wanted to buy piece of land and would visit the land every single day to pray over it asking for God’s provision and guidance on whether or not she would be able to buy the land. She now owns the land and was even able to negotiate with the owner to buy it at a cheaper price. Elizabeth is a primary example of what we can pull from as we begin to meet with the small businesses tomorrow and Tuesday.
Please pray as we begin meeting with the entrepreneurs and hear their stories. Our team will all be assessing their needs and then will create workshops, activities, and devotions to share with them at the conference we are holding on Wednesday and Thursday at a retreat center.
Thank you for all of your love and support! We are so thankful for this opportunity!
The Honduras Team