Monday, July 09, 2007

update #3 YIM I think

Saludos a todos!
(Greetings to all!)

Today is my first week back in El Paso after a week in Juarez. It has been a while since I've updated you all, so I'm not sure what I have and have not said.

I think when I last wrote, we were in Juarez for two weeks. The second week we were there, we had gotten to know more of the youth from Cuarta Iglesia (4th church), including Fabiola and many others. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we helped with VBS at the Peniel mission where we had gone door to door. The funny thing is that our team became translators for the Work and Witness team from Denver. It was great to see the kids from the community again, for three days, and continue those relationships with the kids we had seen before.

The following week we returned to El Paso to help with the basketball camp. These were the original dates, except that they weren't the correct dates. We still had about 20 kids show up, which was great. We helped with the younger kids, teaching basic skills of dribbling, passing, and shooting. And if you know me, you know I'm not usually athletic. Mike (our site coordinator) had me lead a couple days, and a few times we just had the kids do whatever they wanted when they got tired of basketball (whether it was coloring, frisbee, or Uno). Pastors Fred and Marco also did devotions at the end of the morning. One night, I realized that I needed to be more extroverted to get to know these kids, and to ask them their names. I knew that I couldn't do that on my own, or with whatever energy I had, and so I definitely
relied on God for that. With the basketball camp, it was about encouraging the kids in their efforts and simply being their friend. That will probably go for Vacation Bible School these next two weeks as well.

Last Saturday we decorated the El Paso First Church for the Tumbleweed Gulch (think old western theme) VBS. We made a splendid fence out of brown poster paper and markers. We had a few people from the church with us, including 13 year old Amanda. It was awesome having her there, because Mike says it's tough to get her to come to things other than Sunday mornings. She and I made a pretty amazing cactus out of
this brown tubing and paint and tissue paper.

Our team also did some canvassing around the neighborhood, including some follow-up with families that had come to the previous basketball camp. Yet again, we're just connecting with people in the community.

We did attempt a movie night, and invited some people from the community to come see Facing the Giants. We really didn't put out much effort, and planned it at the last minute, so maybe it's not surprising that we and Marco's family were the only ones watching it.

Last week we were in Juarez again at Tercera Iglesia (3rd church), with Gedeon and his family. The first night we were there, they wanted us to go into the community and do evangelism door to door. We ended up just handing out these tracts to people, including some kids at a playground. That night we went with Fernando, who is Nayeli's dad, and on Thursday night we went with Jonatan, one of the youth who is in seminary. We were frustrated because all we could really do was recite our spiel. However, it was awesome to hear that on Saturday night and Sunday morning that about 3 girls came to the services because of our going into the community. I know many of you hear of missions trips where hundreds/thousands come to faith in Jesus because
of the JESUS FILM! but we are content to simply see small steps like this for the churches here. Now it's up to the congregations to continue reaching out to the communities.

When we were with the youth back in Juarez, we actually went to an alberca (pool/park) with them as they had an "esgrima" competition. The awesome thing is that we saw two rounds of Bible quizzing, and I was able to help keep score (despite the language barrier).

Many of you heard me say before the trip that I was looking forward to using my Spanish. But having spent three weeks in Juarez, I recognize Spanish as simply being a tool in communicating wtih people. If you are curious as to how we are doing with Spanish, I know that words are coming back to me from the book learning I had in high school. Being able to learn words in context, whether it is by pointing to something and asking, or continual reference to something, or by looking at things in S-Mart, is helpful as well.

These next two weeks we will be helping with two VBS's at the two churches in El Paso. After that we have a few days before we head back to Kansas City. It is strange to think that our time here is almost at an end, as some days seem slow. But once you plan out the weeks, it seems a lot shorter.

I almost forgot! We have had quite the health adventures here. If you have been praying for our health, thank you because we have not died. For about a week, one of our teammates had a rash on her face. When she went to the dermatologist, she found out that she was allergic to mango skin, as it is very similar to poison ivy. Who
would have thought she would have mangoface? Another teammate had, as she calls it, dysentery (which it was not at all) and became moderately dehydrated. She stayed in El Paso for a few days recuperating while we were in Juarez. It was good to have her back after a few days!

Prayer Requests
~VBS: for the leaders (including ourselves), the kids that come, the parents, and the church here to connect with the community
~the Nazarene Border Initiative leaders Joel and Barry, and the work they want to do here
~Our site coordinator Mike S

Thanks again for your support and prayers,

No comments: