Well, our six-week, mission trip, with Colleen, is just about over. (She is leaving in two days!) It’s unbelievable how quickly her trip has gone. It really feels like she just got here! It has been an amazing six weeks, and we are so thankful that she came to help us!
The last two weeks of the trip have been really great. We have been able to do a bunch of projects, some that we didn’t even plan, and I think we have all been blessed just as much as the people we have helped.
One large project over the past few weeks, was handing out beans and rice in a community in our town. We spent about two hours one evening dividing 100 pounds of rice and 100 pounds of beans into small two-pound bags. When that was finished, we attached verses onto the bags. The rice had Jeremiah 29:11 and the beans had John 3:16 on them. It was a great way to share God’s word with people as we gave out the food.
The following day we went to bring the food to hand out. The people had no idea we were coming, but a few kids spotted our truck, and word spread quickly! The kids were so excited to see us, they started jumping in the back of the truck and asking what we were going to do. When we reached the land where we were handing out the food, we waited for the parents to arrive. In the meantime, the kids taught us some games.They had a great time playing with Colleen! After the games, the kids lined up, and we handed out candy to them. I know they were happy with the candy, but honestly, I think just spending time with them and playing with them, makes them even more excited than anything we give them!
Once all the parents arrived, we had them line up, and gave everyone the bags of rice and beans. The people we so thankful that we came back, and brought the food to them.
Over the past few weeks, we had an opportunity to lead part of the children’s sunday school at our church. All 30 of the kids were given bags that had a lollipop, coloring page, and materials to make a salvation bracelet. With help from the teacher, we explained that each bead on the bracelet had a purpose, and each color is a reminder that Jesus loves us, died for us, and gives us new life in Him. We also got to spend time teaching the kids a few songs, and playing with them. The kids were so happy we came. After we were all done, the kids made a line and each student gave us a hug, and thanked us. The kids were so cute, and we had a great time with them!
Our helper, Esther, was also able to give out some bags, and make bracelets with students. It didn’t work out that she could do it in her church, so she came up with another idea. She ended up asking the principal of her old school if she could come to the school and do it there. The principal was very excited and agreed to let her come. It was surprising that she was able to, because it is a public school. We were so thankful that Esther could go and share with 62 students why Jesus died on the cross, and how they can accept Jesus into their hearts.
After school, seven girls from poor families, went with Esther and the principal to a house, where Esther was able to give the girls pillowcase dresses. These dresses were made and donated to us by a group of ladies from Christ Community Church, in New York. The girls were so grateful for the dresses. Esther explained to the girls that a group in the United States had made the dresses just so they could be brought to girls in El Salvador, who needed them. They were so happy to hear that people in the U.S. cared about them, and were praying for them!
Our final big project was handing out bags of grooming items to the community by the river. Colleen and I spent time putting together bags that had things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, and deodorant in them. In addition, each bag also had a little pillow that was the perfect size for laying on in hammocks! What made these bags so special was that all the items were donated. One of the girls who came on a trip last July, brought a bunch of shampoos, toothpaste and soaps for us to hand out, Colleen donated all the toothbrushes, I had the combs and deodorants to donate, and the pillows were made by sunday school children in New York for us to hand out here! I think it’s neat how all of these items from different people were able to be put together and handed out to these families who need them!
In addition to the bags for the families, we also made up bags for kids, much like the bags we gave out in another area. They all got some candy, a bracelet, a card with a verse on it, and a little toy. Watching the people light up when we give them these bags was so touching. It is really amazing how a bag with some everyday things in it, can mean so much to these people. They are so grateful and so happy when we give them anything!
It has been an amazing six weeks with Colleen. We have been able to bless so many people with things like, food and clothing, and have been able to share God’s word, and Jesus’ love with each of them. I am so thankful that God put it on Colleen’s heart to come and serve with us. It has been an experience we will never forget, and we look forward to working with her in the future. Colleen has been such a blessing to our family, and to hundreds of other families over her six weeks here. We are so sad to see her go!