Thursday, June 15, 2017

Finding Joy in Change

Today our group was excited about taking girls from several different centers to the beach. This is always such a fun day for the girls and something they look forward to. We had planned a spa day for the girls and we were excited to treat them. However, the weather did not permit for this to happen. We found out early this morning that each of the centers would not allow the girls to go to the beach because of the rain. 

So, instead of meeting the girls at the beach we went to their centers. First we went to Cipi and spent the morning making braclets with them, painting their nails, and having lunch with them.  Before leaving I was able to share a part of my testimony with the girls and several of them accepted Christ. We left them each with a Bible and they were so appreciative for the the time we spent with them. 
Next, we went to San Vincent de Paul. We spent time with girls from Trotta and with several of the teen moms. Had we gone to the beach these teen moms would not have been able to come because the could not leave their babies for that long. The time we spent at San Vincent de Paul was beautiful. The girls again were so happy to have us there and were beyond welcoming to us. 
Again, I was able to share a part of my testimony and the Holy Spirit moved and touched the hearts of so many of the girls. Nine of the girls gave their lives to Christ. It was a powerful moment for all of us. 
We all rejoiced together that these girls had made the decision to accept Jesus into their hearts. 
As we loaded the bus we began to talk about how God always knows what is best. Had we gone to the beach, we may not have been able to reach all of the girls that we reached today. 
The Bible says our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways. Today was a day where we found so much joy in the change of a situation. I am thankful we can always trust that He knows what is best. And I am even more thankful that so many young women in difficult circumstances made the best decision of their lives today. 
God is always so good.

In Christ,

Rachel

Hump Day


For most of us, Wednesday is called hump day. But for the team, today was just another up-close chance to witness God at work as only He can do. We started the day with a short but timely devotion on the bus on our way to visit over 100 young children at a school 1 1/2 hours out of town down a very bumpy gravel road.  From the moment we walked through the gate, you could see the excitement on the kids faces that gringos were coming to visit. But you could also tell they had no idea what was about to happen. We started by telling an interactive story about Jesus. Then, one of our translators gave a wonderful Bible lesson which ended in the most awesome prayer I've ever heard, (and I did not know a single word she said). But it did not matter.  It was worth it to watch as the kids ended the prayer by throwing their kisses to heaven thanking Jesus for what He had done for them. That was the first tears of the day shed by me. We had a short time to play soccer, face paint, and just enjoy the kids before being able to give a Bible, food, shirts, shorts, and flip-flops to almost every kid. They were very excited and thankful. 


Then, we were off to decorate the house that we built yesterday for the mother and her three kids. After moving all the furniture and supplies in, the ladies went to work decorating. You notice I did not say, "the men".  The team and the family then gathered for prayer and dedication of the house before the big reveal. This is when more tears came. The family was so humble and appreciative of all that they were blessed with. It was a very humbling experience for me personally, seeing the pure joy on their faces over a house the size of what we would consider a shed. But I know that they will make it a HOME, and I pray that God will continue to provide all that they need.



We ended the night being able to once again feed the homeless around the streets of El Salvador. Tonight we saw more children than we did the previous nights. And the tears rolled once more seeing the children's smiles and excitement as they received "comida" (food).  

Thank you, God, for loving us all. 


My cup runneth over once again. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Immanuel Labor


According to Mrs. Judy Skinner it is called "Immanuel Labor" - That giving through the pure love of Christ. The kind of giving that transcends capabilities and pushes levels of endurance far past what we think we can achieve.  Seeing others through the eyes of Jesus and loving and caring for them just as He would. 

Today, we were so blessed to be able to build a home for a mother and her three children.  The home they were living in was made out of mud bricks.  It was very tidy, and she had beautiful plants out front. But it wasn't a safe place to live during the rainy season that they are in. So God put us to work to help provide for their needs in a special way. 

We are told in 1 Peter 4:10-11 - God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. 

We were able to work hard in many different ways. Some collected rocks to put in the foundation blocks. Others visited with the mother and children and included them in the activities of the day. And many loaded trucks, lifted and set floors and walls. Windows and doors were hung. Paint covered the outside of the house. And just as important was the laughter and love between the team and with the family. 

God gave us a purpose today, and with the  purpose He prepared us physically as well as mentally and spiritually for the task. God will always provide just what you need when He calls you to do His work.  And we were certainly blessed to be able to work hard to honor Him through service to others. 

Acts 20:35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

So let The Spirit move you!


There is only one place to describe San Martin, the happiest place on earth.  San Martin is a facility for adults with special needs.  When we pulled up in our bus they were already waiting to greet us in the parking lot with huge smiles. 

We started with a tour of the facility where we had a chance to sing with some of those unable to leave their rooms. These were individuals that were nonverbal and most in wheelchairs.  My heart was so moved as they lit up and they started moving to the beat of the music.  The Spirit was definitely moving through them!
                         
                                
After the tour we had a dance party out in the yard.  They loved listening to the music and dancing! It was amazing how there were no barriers were present, and we were all brought together through the music. God is so good!  

Our second stop was Guirola.  This facility is a special needs center for ages 6 to 17.  Here we played and interacted with the kids.  We painted nails, did face paint, made balloon animals, played soccer and danced to music.  We ended our visit by feeding some of the kids their dinner and praying over them. 
 
It was another great day! God has blessed us in so many ways.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Being His Feet...


The team arrived safely on Saturday and really got off to a great start today.

Here's today's account from Christina:

Church time!! We attended church and had a great day of worship! The kids were so joyful… some bashful. We made butterfly crafts with the children and played games. Our first game went along with the Bible story. It told of their importance to Jesus and how He loves them dearly. We told the bible story, But Jesus called to them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such beings the kingdom of God.’ Luke 18:16 
After church we went to visit some very special boys! We took lots of sports equipment for a day of fun and new formed friendship 😊 From tall to small we all had a BALL! We started with MUM ball to introduce one another. Then it was on to soccer, basketball, frisbee, and some bracelet making. The team all found their niche today and some great friends! We ended our time together with the boys enjoying a pizza dinner and providing a few needed clothing items for the boys. 
Last but not LEAST, by any means, “Out to feed His peeps,” as Kurt always says. Feeding the homeless with 216 meals! We never know as we head out what God will lead us to, but whatever happens, we are always the ones who are blessed. It is so humbling and rewarding yet, so hard. 
A new friend from the trip shared a devotional with us as a team and it really speaks truth, “Get out of your country, away from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1 NKJV 

God Bless!!!!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Baby Ryan


Today I was able to meet baby Ryan. He is 1 month and 2 weeks old. This moment is so bittersweet for me as I held this precious child of God. On one hand I was filled with joy to see such a miracle and absolutely perfect child but then on the other hand I had to face the stark reality of little Ryans life ahead.  His family of 5 live in a small hut made of mud, cow dung and straw with no ventilation, no running water and no latrine or sewage in site.  The harsh truth is that 1 out of 3 children die under the age of two in this village and I truly only have my prayers to God that Ryan would not be one of them.  As my tears of joy mix with my tears of worry and sadness I am once again reminded of why I have been called here to Uganda.  To bring Life through the message of Jesus Christ and make a difference in one child at a time in the belief that one day these odds will change and babies like Ryan have the same hope and opportunity at life that babies in the USA have.

Saying goodbye is never easy...

As we prepare to say farewell, we don't say goodbye to all. We are taking some of the kids on a trip. 
We give hugs and handshakes and some tears are shed as we see friends and family parting.  
We are taking some of the kids from the Beyond Ugonda Children's Home to the city!  We told them it's a long ride and we will have dinner. 
We took them to the Ugandan Cultural Center for a dinner show about their culture. 
First we got to enjoy sitting with them on the bus, enjoying lunch along the way. It wound up being about a five hour trip. They got to see everything on the way. 
They got to go through a huge buffet!  And then were treated to songs and dance.  Tonight they get to sleep in a HUGE bed. And sleep in the motel and have breakfast here. This is something without support of Starfish and the ministry we are partnering with here Beyond Ugonda these kids could never do. 
Your praying is most important. But we also must have supplies donated. Erin gave art classes and did a great job. Her student is going to continue the class!  We could really use art supplies and there are still kids without clothes.
But everything takes money as well. Please pray that God will continue to bless. Even a small amount given in Love is  multiplied. Please support Sharing the LOVE of CHRIST to these kids.