A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to host another mission trip. This group of three was much smaller than the last group, but still very active in our community. Over the week I kept thinking of Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” This may have been a group of only “two or three”, but it was clear all week that God was among us, because of all we were able to accomplish together!
The group of girls arrived late monday afternoon. They got settled and relaxed before eating dinner. Then we spent some time going over the schedule, safety guidelines, and doing devotions.
Tuesday morning we worked on cleaning up our storage room. With all the clothes, food, etc. that we have been handing out, and organizing, the room had gotten more than a little out of order!
In no time we had the whole room organized, swept, and dusted. We were all pretty impressed with how quickly we were able to finish this job!
With the room all cleaned up, we had plenty of space to spend the afternoon sorting clothes! We organized all the clothing we had, and separated it into small bags so we could give each person a bag with an outfit in it.
Wednesday morning, we went to the land we own in nearby village, and handed out all the clothes. It didn’t look like a lot, so we were praying we wouldn’t run out. In the end, we had plenty for everyone, and even had 3 bags of clothes leftover!
Wednesday afternoon and thursday morning, we worked on the Vacation Bible School lesson, craft, and songs we would be doing with the kids in that village on thursday and friday afternoon.
Thursday afternoon we headed to the land where we were doing the VBS. When we got there, we were surprised because there were no kids waiting for us. We ended up driving through the village inviting kids to come and before we knew it, we had forty kids, (many of which were wearing the clothes we gave them the day before) all waiting to learn about Jesus!
We did a lesson with the kids, teaching them that we sin, just like Eve did, and we need forgiveness from our sins. We went on to explain that Jesus died to forgive us, and that He is the only way we can be made clean again.
Then we did a craft. The kids made cross necklaces as a reminder that Jesus died for us.
Finally, we had song time. The kids loved learning the songs, but weren’t sure about doing the hand motions we made up to go with them!
Friday morning we spent some more time working on VBS lessons, and preparing the craft for that day.
On Friday afternoon, before we even reached the land, we had several kids hop in the back of our truck, excited for another day of VBS! We started off with a lesson about living our lives in a way that is pleasing to Jesus. The kids all loved the skit we did about making good choices. (Though I don’t have any pictures of it.) After the lesson, it was craft time. The kids stuck pictures on foam pages that had Romans 6:4 written on them.
After the craft, we sang the songs with the kids. Many of them remembered the words, and this time they were excited to clap along and do some hand motions with us!
After having a snack, it was time to say goodbye to the kids. Saying goodbye is never easy. These kids were so excited to have us there, spending time with them, and teaching them, they did not want us to go. Many of them asked when we’d be back, and if we’d do VBS with them again!
Saturday morning the group had some time to go to town. They did some shopping in the market, and then walked around the park.
On saturday afternoon, the group headed to a different village to do another handout. This time they were handing out rice and beans to families, as well as some little bags of treats to kids. The people were so thankful, and excited to receive the food. Many of them have little money to spend on food, so this surprise really meant a lot to them.
Sunday was the last day of the week-long mission trip. In the morning we went all went to church. In the afternoon, the girls got all their stuff ready to go, because they had to leave first thing monday morning. It was so nice to have a day of rest, after a busy week.
On of the best parts of the trip for me, happened that sunday in church. After the service two little girls came over to us with big smiles on their faces, and thanked us for giving them clothes earlier that week. They were so excited to show us that one girl was even wearing the dress we gave her.
No sooner did we say goodbye to the girls, when a man in the church approached us. He said that we had given food to his family the day before, and was so thankful. He was touched that even though we didn’t know him or his family, we were still willing to help them. Seeing the joy, and appreciation on the faces of these people meant so much to me. Living here, we see these people suffering, and struggling just to survive everyday. Sometimes I see the way they live, and how little they have, and I wonder, is what we are doing even making a difference? Is giving them these bags of rice and beans, or clothes, or whatever else really changing anything for them? It feels like so little, when these people truly need so much. After seeing how thankful these people were, I now believe more than ever, that what we are doing is making an impact on their lives. What may be seen as a worn pair of sneakers to us, is an answer to prayer for a child without shoes. A bag of rice or beans may be just a side dish to us, but to many of these people, it means they will not be going to bed hungry for the first time in days. I am so thankful for all this small group was able to accomplish in one week. We have been able to touch the hearts and lives of many people in our community.
Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others,that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” It has truly been a blessing to be the light to these people. They have seen our deeds, and it is our prayer that they will glorify our Father in heaven!