Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It's hard saying goodbye. The people who you work with, live with, fellowship with, worship with- they become like your second family. You don't want to have to say goodbye- but it is part of being a missionary. It seems like you are always saying goodbye.
Well, this trip to Venezuela was a short one- only 3 1/2 weeks. But, I am still very close with the people here. After being away for 6 months, it did not take me long to get back into the flow of life in Maracaibo and feel like I was living here again- only I didn't have my apartment anymore. I felt more like I belong here than as if I were a tourist or a short-term missionary. This is home- at least one of my homes- and the people here are family- as least part of my family. I love being in Maracaibo and I am sad to leave.
As I am writing this (I should be in bed as I have to wake up in 2 hours to go to the airport for my flight), I am spending time with Guita. She will once again have to remain in Venezuela.
So, with tears in my eyes, I say goodbye. However, I can trade in these tears of sorrow for tears of joy. Why? Because I know that God is good. He works out all things for His glory. He wants to wipe away every tear. One day, I will be reunited again with my Venezuelan family- if not in Maracaibo, then in Heaven. I can also rejoice that I will be yet another step closer to my upcoming ministry in the DR. So, although tonight has tears, joy will soon be coming!
Monday, August 17, 2009
- I love the beach, especially the Caribbean Sea. It has always been my ideal vacation destination- my paradise.
- I didn't have to do any of the planning or leading of the trip.
Arturo had told me that he was taking control of everything for the trip- that I didn't have to worry about anything because he wanted me to enjoy the trip too. And he did- he took care of everything. I didn't have to do a single bit of planning, leading, not even a head count. I was just able to enjoy. That was probably the best gift anyone could have given me. Thank you Arturo!
So, despite the pain, the trip to the Venezuelan Keys was a wonderful trip. It was my 3rd time out there, and if given the opportunity, I would return again.
Disclaimer: This is not a normal mission trip free day. Please do not think that this takes place on all mission trips. It does not. Please do not be jealous either. :-P
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A very quiet bus ride back to the church after a long day at the granja.
VBS closing performances
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Kangaroos praying together (12- 13 yrs old)
Bible stories told in dramatic ways
Worship rally skits
What can I say... they love me!!
To be continued...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The week before the VBS, I arrived in Venezuela to finish plans with the Vzlan team. I met with each area- missions, evangelism, snacks, recreation, drama, small group leaders, musicians, planning, administration, etc- about 12 meetings in all. Thats a lot of meetings in 1 week! But it was well worth it when I saw how much work and preparation the Vzlan team was putting in to making the first VBS a success.
The mission team arrived on Friday, July 31. On Saturday morning, we had our VBS training with the Vzlan team and the missionaries. We sang all the songs (with motions), went over the rotation schedule, what would occur in each class, the entire program, and then had each area leader explain in some details what lessons the kids would be learning in their particular class (7 classes- Bible Stories, Discussion, Evangelism, Missions, Visual Arts, Crafts, and Recreation- which only occurred on the last day of VBS). The training went well. Everyone was pumped and ready for VBS.
By this time, we had about 250 kids signed up for the VBS. When Sunday rolled around and the missionaries were introduced as being here to help with the VBS and more info about the VBS was presented, many more kids signed up. We ended up with about 320 kids on the roster.
Monday morning proved hectic as people, wanting to make sure they understood what was going on, turned to me with a zillion questions- all asking at the same time!!! However, everything became clear as the starting time for the VBS came.
Start time was 1:30pm (with kids arriving between 1:00pm and 1:30pm). Some kids arrived at 11:30am. Yikes! too early! Most arrived by 1:30, with the exception of the bus full of kids arriving from the Casa Escuelas. The Casa Escuelas are house churches designed for children. I am sure I've talked about them before. Most of these kids have never been in a church before. This is a wonderful outreach to these children. They arrived in buses- all 150 of them- between 1:45- 2:15pm. We got started on day 1 at 2:30pm- 1 hour late.
At first the children seemed hesitant. They didn't know what to make of this gringa standing on the stage, talking with a funny accent, and introducing them to strange words, like "No Worries!" and the names of their groups- Koalas, Lorikeets, Wombats, and Kangaroos (Yes, in English). They didn't know what to make of the songs with the motions. However, they quickly warmed to the idea and really started to love them.
The rotations and the schedule had to be adjusted because of our tardiness. Some groups finished all of their classes early. Some accidentally missed a class. I think one class went to snack time twice. However, things got worked out and the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves and learning that no matter what happens in life, it all comes back to Jesus- so... No Worries!
VBS training- adults learning the songs and motions
Someone who never anticipated being the MC of the VBS!
To be continued....
The kids at the end of Day 1