When you’re in a totally remote mountain community, the wifi hotspot looks like a team of people huddled around a satellite dish. While it’s a fun gathering time, you’re also at the mercy of a very inconsistent, unstable internet connection. Unfortunately, we lost wifi for the second half of the trip which means our updates weren’t able to get to you in a timely manner. Traveling home and experiencing the re-entry into our home lives has been exhausting, so here we are with our final update, nearly a week later!
While numbers are not our focus, they do help frame the sort of bustling activity God brought our way each day - and explains the sheer joy infused with intense tiredness we’ve been experiencing in the aftermath of an amazingly blessed time. Our daily average of kids at VBS was around 400, this increased to to over 480 kids on the final day.
The last day was a blast as the kids painted rocks and heard the redemptive story of Jesus’ love and forgiveness delivered by John and Sara Gillette. This was ultimately the gospel message reiterating that Jesus died for each and every one of them. Andy closed the lesson with an invitation that led to a bunch of youngsters raising their hands. It was a blessed sight to watch those kids raise their hands and be prayed over. We traveled there to help them, but the amount of help and uplifting support our Honduran friends gave us was astounding. This community truly came together and we had so much fun being a part of it and our relationships were definitely deepened. The final day is also when we hand out the yellow theme t-shirts, they are such a big draw every year; often we will see children in shirts from previous years in pristine condition.
Ladies Day took place on Day 4 - Thursday, July 11. We are beyond excited to see this event growing as well but we felt some growing pains this year. We saw double the number of ladies from 4 years ago when we started this program; this can be attributed to additional women coming from a wider draw, word of mouth and younger girls who have now grown older. We scrambled to get more tables and chairs in place to accommodate the nearly 100 attendees, we had no microphone in a pretty loud, chaotic space and we were a little concerned about running out of supplies. The Wellspring women each shared candidly about a time in their life that was difficult; revealing that our lives in American are not perfect either. The planned craft for the women was a Salvation bracelet with colored beads representing key aspects of the gospel story. Each speaker wore a specific color corresponding to the beads. It was a beautiful time of sharing. And despite a little discouragement we may have felt on the front end, God had an appointment with 5 women that day and no amount of distractions were going to keep him from that. Glory be to God for our new sisters in Christ!! We were also excited to be able to spoil the ladies with a cold ice cream treat, and when the last lady came through the line - the last scoop was handed out! God’s fingerprints were all over that afternoon.
We added an additional teen night this year as opposed to just one from previous year. The second night was also very well attended. Adding it to the schedule required it to occur on the same night (Friday night) that is normally family group night for the area, so we had a great turnout of teens plus many families. We started the night out with a soccer tournament and dinner. It was a wonderful evening and gave us another opportunity to share the simple but ever important key concepts of the Gospel. Grace and Emily led as our Wellspring teachers for the night. Grace used a volunteer to show that we all sin and we all break God’s laws (even the folks from Wellspring are imperfect people). Emily shared the beautiful news of how wonderful His mercy and grace truly is. Andy finished up with a strong challenge for those in the audience to make a decision - would they do whatever it took to live a life with Jesus by their side? Would they find themselves adopted into this eternal family with a Heavenly Father? It was worth every amount of effort we put forth this week to see five more hands raised that night. Once again, we were celebrating and welcoming new brothers and sisters in Christ.
Saturday was our last full day of the trip and we were able to join Andy and Carmen as they held their weekly church service.
The trip home began first thing Sunday morning. We were off to a good start until the bus blew a radiator hose about half way to the airport. We prayed, got creative patching the hose and used every drop of water from our bottles to refill the radiator. We were a little nervous about making our flight but once we got to the airport, it was smooth sailing all the way. Even getting through customs quickly, possibly in record time.
All that is left to say is THANK YOU. Thank you for all your prayers and support in the months leading up to this trip; especially while we were there. It was an amazing time with a hardworking team serving an incredible God. What a privilege it was to take the challenge to do whatever it took to share His Gospel and be the hands and feet of Jesus to our Honduran friends this week.
And I bet you’re wondering what happened to all those leftover hot dog buns.
To learn more about CAFFIN and what the Castillo family is doing in Honduras watch the video below.