Lasting impressions. I hope we make them on this trip. Not so much for our own sake, but for the sake of the gospel--the good news of Jesus Christ. One of our team members, I won't say who, tried to make a lasting impression on a sweet little girl upon our arrival today. When bending down to greet this precious little cherub, the backpack once firmly in place on her back, came sliding down only to meet this angelic face square in the nose. That's a lasting impression!
After a wonderful morning devotion by a team member not normally inclined to do such a thing (we're getting beyond our comfort zones here!), we made our way back to Playa Chiquita to continue our work. In the morning, several team members worked on the construction site while others began preparing for VBS. The construction part is moving along very well. Many hands have made the work much lighter, which has been a blessing to everyone! Many of the children from the CDC (Child Development Center) were not around today, so our VBS time was for about 20-30 kids. We had a wonderful time doing a puppet show about the Prodigal Son, did a lot of face painting, made a lot of crafts, and played some fun games. We were also able to take pictures with the mothers and their families, which they were then able to decorate with craft supplies. Thanks to the technology of a photo printer, this was a big hit! This will be a staple project for all future trips.
At the end of the day, we were able to present Pastora Marisol and her son, Elias, with a few gifts. Elias is also one of the pastors at the Playa Chiquita church. It was with pure joy that we were able to bless them! They have a wonderful heart for the Lord. Tonight, during our debrief time, Eli (our work & witness coordinator) reminded us that on these trips we get to see a lot, much of it being very tangible. But there is also a lot that we can see that transcends the physical. The love that these pastors have for their people and their community is only possible through the grace and love of Jesus Christ. They have very little materially, but they give their entire lives in service to Jesus and his church. It's a beautiful thing to see.
For dinner tonight, if any of you wondered what foible I may have made tonight, we went to a local cafe-style restaurant called Niko's. We had a wonderful meal, which was capped off with ice cream at a nearby McDonald's. Let me tell you, an Oreo McFlurry is just as good in Panama as it is in Michigan! We were blessed tonight to have Eli's family join us for dinner, dessert, and debrief. We were able to give each of their kiddos a gift, as well as a gift that would benefit them as a family (baby #3 is just a few weeks from her arrival!). They are a precious family and have given up a lot to serve the Lord here in Panama.
Please keep praying for us! Especially tomorrow (Friday), as we attempt to take 80 kids to McDonalds for dinner. 80. Eight-e. Eighty kids.
Good night, church. Dios te bendiga!
Photo creds: Jon Gildner, Chris Gladdue