DAY 3: WHOA, GOD!
VBS Day 1
Over the past few years, typical VBS attendance could average around 200 kids per day with slight growth throughout the week as word continued to spread. Obviously, we do not base a successful VBS program on how many kids attend, but our desire is to reach as many as possible with God’s very Good News and to grow His Kingdom! Last year, VBS week finished with close to 300 kids; which was an increase of about 90 from the beginning of the week. As the team made VBS plans for this trip, we had last year’s number in mind; bringing along crafts and supplies accordingly. Oh boy… God had a much bigger plan.
A few factors led to a much larger turnout than we had anticipated for our first day of VBS. This year we created pamphlets to hand out while we were visiting neighbors and we were also allowed to invite the kids we met at the One Egg program yesterday. Add those to the work being done at the CAFFIN ministry complex - we were blown away!
In order for kids to come from as far and as wide as possible, there is transportation provided to bring them. With a start time of 1:00, you can expect to start seeing kids show up at 12:15. While we were anticipating that, we were a little surprised to see as many kids as we did so early! The number continued to grow and we started to do a head count. The place was already packed and the large school bus had not yet arrived. This bus gets filled in a way that would in no way possible be legal at home; and the vans had dropped off two loads of kids and turned around for more! When the dust had settled from day 1 of VBS, we had the honor to serve, play games with and show Christ’s love to 344 kids - that is 144 more kids than we had on day 1 a year ago! It was awesome, overwhelming, inspiring and exhausting all at the same time. We went through more crafts, snacks and supplies than we had planned for and are now looking at how to accommodate what will probably be a steady growth in numbers through the week. It was totally unexpected - and a ton of fun!
Our work project was so close to completion today and then we experienced a slight snag. The hired tractor driver hit the pipe while working and it broke. The problem appears to be relatively easy to fix; so once that happens, things will finish up in no time.
Our second intended labor project was to put up a wall and drywall it for a pharmacy at the complex. But is sounds like those supplies may not come in time for us to do the job.
One of the returning team members had been feeling led by God and was given a real desire to connect with the older teens that attend VBS. Programs back home typically run for the younger kids, however the older teens come as well since there’s really nothing else to do, and they often are escorting younger siblings for safety. VBS can be a little less exciting for the older age group and we often see them in groups hanging out in the back. It is much more challenging for us to connect with them on a personal level, but when we do it really seems to create a strong bond. Thankfully, our team member was obedient to God and organized a fun night of food and fellowship just for them. We played a game of Gold Rush in the dark using glow necklaces, ate hot dogs and chips and talked through a Bible overview with them. The teens were in small groups and assigned one American and a translator to each so we could work with the kids. Melanie led the group in an overview on how the Bible really is the story of Jesus. Then we worked with the kids on finding specific verses in the Bible. It was a fun way to get them looking through the Bible. It was a great night with about 50 young people and we were able to give away Bibles to many of them who didn’t already have their own! Also, praising God for the hardworking team of Hondurans who are working alongside us this week!
Testimony 2: Andrea Marquez
Like many in the area, her family religious background is Catholic and before the CAFFIN project was up and running, she would attend the Catholic Church with her grandfather. She started to attend church at CAFFIN about a year ago. Shortly after, she found herself pregnant and worried about not being able to continue her education.
Being pregnant in a traditional school would have required her to sit out the whole year. The odds of her going back after the baby would have been very slim and would be very limiting on her future. Additionally, she would have had to walk a very long distance in order to get to the public schools. There are just no public schools in the immediate area and every student who wishes to continue past 6th grade has to make the long journey down part of the mountain into the main city.
She is due in August with a baby girl, which she has named Valeria Natalia. She currently lives with her mother and her two sisters. CAFFIN has allowed her to continue her studies and will hopefully provide her and her baby a better future.