Thursday, July 28, 2011
As I write, we are at our camp for a lunch and rest break before we head out to La Carosa. I scarfed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (what we’ve eaten every day for lunch…haha) and came straight back in my room to write about this morning. It was amazing and I can’t wait to share.
First thing this morning, we visited a school. We had five interpreters, so we split in to five groups and each group went in to a classroom. My group entered a third grade class. The building is concrete and is open to the outside with bars for windows. No air conditioning, which is typical here.
(On a side-note, a child yesterday at Los Bordos was standing outside our bus awaiting medical attention and felt a blast of the air conditioning from inside… people said you could just see it in the child’s face that it was the first cold-air experience of his life! Hard to imagine.)
Drew (our pastor here), Catherine, and Heather were in my group. Drew was going to share the gospel, and told us just to “share whatever.” Oh crap, I thought. I’m not good with words at all. I had no idea what to say.
Drew explained why we were there and introduced the rest of us. Catherine, his wife, shared how she learned when she was a child that Jesus is not just someone you hear about in church, but someone you can have a relationship with! While Catherine was sharing, I told Heather that I had no idea what to say. She said, “Just pray. He’ll give you the words. Even if you just tell them that Jesus loves them.” So while I was praying, Heather shared a cute story about how she met her best friend in the third grade and went on to share how Jesus can be like your best friend, someone you can talk to every day. Then it was my turn.
I told them that I was thankful to be in their third grade class because when I was in the third grade, I began thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a neonatal nurse because I loved babies and wanted to care for them. I then asked them if any of them knew what they wanted to be when they grew up and many of the kids shared. A couple of boys said soldiers, another boy said a police officer, two girls said nurses, one boy said a futbol player, a little girl said a doctor…
It was precious.
I explained that as a child, I already knew that I loved babies and had a talent in working with them. Then God placed the desire in my heart to be a therapist, and it has been the best career I could have had; that I can use my skills as a therapist to serve people and show them the love of Jesus.
I then told them that God has made every one of them different and special, and that already, he has placed desires in their hearts and individual talents that will continue to grow as they get older. I encouraged them that God has given them those desires because He wants them to use their gifts for Him!
It was no sermon on the mount, but I was so encouraged that He would so quickly provide the words to say! I didn’t stumble over words, I wasn’t nervous, it just poured out! Praise God! J
After the school, we went to a hospital. We split into groups… one group went to a cancer ward, two groups went to the maternity ward, and two groups went to the children’s ward. Someone in my group volunteered to go to the cancer ward, but I just knew I was supposed to be on that children’s wing. I felt a strong tug to be there. I am confident that God could have used me in any area of the hospital, but I am becoming more and more aware of how to use my specific talents for Him. So I went with another group to the children’s wing… and it was amazing.
Each room had about four children’s beds or cribs in it, usually with a mom standing next to it. We asked permission to pray with each child and mother, sometimes in English because we only had one interpreter per group. I laid hands on and prayed over a couple of children with their families standing by. They may not have been able to understand my prayers, but I could tell they were truly so grateful. One mother wept on my shoulder as I held her. Her child, a beautiful two year old girl, was covered in burns.
We weren’t, however, walking somberly in to each room and praying. The beautiful thing was that we made the children smile! I had a backpack full of balloons and a sharpie. It was all I needed. Josh, an incredible high school senior in my group, had a pocket full of silly bands. We passed out cross-shaped suckers as well as bags of water. (Yes, I said bags…they drink from bags of water here!) I have heard “Patch Adams”-like stories and how the children’s faces light up with the goofy hospital antics, but I had no idea how beautiful it was to see it in person. How simply beautiful.
I pulled out my sharpie and before I knew it, I was drawing Mickey Mouse (or another silly face) on each balloon and “Dios le bendiga” (God bless you) or “Jesus te ama” (Jesus loves you) on the back. On some balloons, I also wrote “sonrie!” which means SMILE! I believe that God just provided the idea at the right time, and boy did it bless me. It was a blast.
I will never forget the faces of the tiny little patients as they were handed their balloon or their silly band. I will never forget the face of the mother, sobbing on my shoulder as her little girl, her body burned, lay next to us. These are the faces of people that Jesus loved. People Jesus died for.
It is humbling to have the opportunity to go into these places of pain and suffering and love on the people that God loves.
It is almost time to go back out. We’re going back to La Carosa today for more Bible stories and crafts/games with the children. Tomorrow is our last day of ministry… I can’t believe it. I don’t want to leave!!
Saturday will be our day of rest, as we have a trip to the market and the beach planned before we head back home on Sunday.
Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I came with the intention to serve others and share the gospel in obedience to the word of God. I had no idea how filled I would be, however, and how much I would learn in the process. Living out your purpose is incredible. I don’t know how I didn’t do it sooner, this obedience to God’s call could be the beginning of something much larger, something more permanent, something more drastic. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I am so excited for God show me what it is so that I can live it out!
P.S. Today is my parents’ anniversary!! I wish that I had a way to communicate with them so that I could with them a happy and blessed 27th anniversary. I am so proud to have parents who love each other so much and are committed to each other! Thank you mom and dad for being such a great example. I love you so much and am incredibly blessed to have your example, your love, and your support!!
P.P.S. When I wrote this blog at lunch time earlier today, I had no idea I’d have internet access tonight and would be able to wish my parents a happy anniversary!! God answers prayers! 🙂