Sunday, July 19th
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake." Psalm 23:1-3
Miriam led the group in a bible study all about the importance of refreshing your body and your spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us feel renewed and restored, which many of us needed to feel after a long week of working. We prayed that the church service we were about to go to would help us feel ready to spend one of our last days showing as much love as we could to the Hondurans.
This is the church we went to in the morning.
Other volunteers were able to finish the outside and it looked really good!
Katie took pictures and decorated frames with the girls - so many plastic jewels!
Hannah helped make bead bracelets, which colors symbolized the gospel message.
Gabby posing with one of the older girls who was fluent in English!
One of the dancing performances - these girls were talented!
This is one of their performances (that I explain below)
In the performance, Jesus came and rescued them!
The leader of the shelter gave each of us a keychain and a hug as a Thank you and farewell!
We all piled into this room, the first one we painted, and ate dinner together.
These girls just love to pose, even while eating dinner!
What an elaborate cake! Katie regretted not being able to try some because she was sick,
but it looked very tasty!
Mrs. Kluitenberg started a fun game with the girls, and they loved it!
Dave was the best at the piñata!
Go Abby! Hit it!
All the kids diving for candy after the piñata broke!
The young boys loved playing soccer with Abby!
Caroline had some fun drawing with chalk, entertaining a lot of the young kids!
Miriam helped with the beads too :-)
Jennie was at the coloring station
Taking pictures with the polaroid camera and framing them became very popular!
Even Freddie joined in on the soccer juggling circle!
Lots of face paint... or face 'crayons' for easy clean up!
In celebration of Katie's Qinsa Niera (15th Birthday)!
The first day we went, us Americans stuck together as a group and there was a clear boundary between us and the Hondurans because we didn't know each other. By the last day, though, we were mixed in with everyone else and felt totally comfortable sitting next to all the Hondurans!
They surprised me with a 15th birthday celebration!
These are all the cards the little girls gave me!
On Sunday, our group had a chance to sleep in a little before getting up and meeting downstairs for breakfast. A few us still felt a little sick, and Katie had a fever, but that didn't stop anyone from going to the church service. Margarita knew the Bishop there, and it was a short walk from the hotel, so we all decided to go.
To try to set the scene for what a Christian church in Honduras was like, it had pews, an altar, and a cross up front. The doors stood open to welcome in anyone from the street, although by the time we got there at 10:30, everyone was already there. They had a guy on bass, and a guy on piano who also sang and there were some pre-recorded tracks. Of course, all of the songs were in Spanish however we were able to understand a few words.
The Bishop gave a sermon, and he even translated a few lines for us and said them in English, but the rest was Spanish. He would read many passages from the bible, and Margarita translated the reference so we could look it up and follow along. Despite the fact that I didn't know what he was saying, I could tell that he believed what he was saying and was passionate about preaching for Jesus. He had a powerful voice and he often would step down from the altar and walk in between the aisles as he preached. Halfway through the service, we went around said let peace be with you, and I was surprised at how friendly everybody was. The language barrier didn't matter! Even with foreign strangers, our group felt comfortable and happy to be there.
We got back to the hotel and unfortunately Caroline felt under the weather, but Margarita encouraged her to go to the celebration at the shelter, saying that she won't want to miss it. Caroline decided to go, and we got to the shelter just after lunch. There were a lot more people there than what we had seen in the past week, and all the chairs were set up for the performance at the end.
Abby set up a station where she played soccer with a lot of the boys, Miriam and Hannah made bead bracelets that had a different color bead for each theme in the gospel message, Jennie and Bethany did face paint and coloring, Caroline set up some chalk mats and drew pictures with the little girls, and Katie and Gabby took pictures on the polaroid camera and helped the kids decorate frames for them. There was never a dull moment for our team, and all of the kids were zipping from activity to activity with a bright smile on their face.
After that, we all sat in one room (because of the drizzling rain) and we watched the performance put on by kids and teens at the shelter. They were a few dances done by a few girls at a time, and some younger kids dressed up in traditional dresses and danced. Everyone on our team had three Honduran kids on each side of them, and it felt like we were a part of one big family!
The last performance entailed fun music and goofy characters that walked on stage and interacted with each other. Towards the end, someone dressed up as 'the devil' and pretended to throw everyone to the ground and reprimand them for who they are. Then another character that represented Jesus came in and cast out the devil. Then he helped everyone up and they in turn worshiped him. It was a very beautiful story that was well done by all of the teens! I was very happy to see that they understood parts of the gospel and wanted to glorify God with this performance.
Then the leader of the shelter called each of us up and gave us a keychain, a wonderful handmade card, and a hug! All of us vowed to treasure these things and to remember the kids at the shelter when we look at them. Then they brought a cake and surprised me with an early birthday celebration! In Honduras, turning fifteen is a big deal, much like turning sixteen is a big deal in America. It's called someone's Qinsa Niera when they turn 15. They sang in Spanish and I blew out the candles and got a hug from so many kids at the shelter! Miriam, as she watched me receive so many hugs, said 'It's my birthday too!' :-)
Later, they brought out a pinata and I was the first to try and hit it. They let a few little kids go, but then they started to chant for everyone on our team to do it. I was surprised at how good some of our team was, and eventually the pinata broke and there was a mad rush as everyone dove for candy!
We hung around for a little while longer but it was inevitable that we would have to say goodbye. A few people got teary eyed because we didn't want to leave, and many kids told us "I love you" and we said it right back. We drove away and waved back at everyone, thanking God that we had been able to form close relationships with all these wonderful kids.