Day 6: We serve a BIG GOD.
Today, is the annual national celebration of Lempira Day. Local schools take time for festivities and celebrate the holiday. This is a part of their history; honoring Lempira, the indigenous leader who led a popular uprising against Spanish colonial forces. We went to the Chuerrerrittos neighborhood to see their celebration, Carmen told us they have the best presentation of the three schools in the area. The place was packed with people of all ages. They celebrated their heritage with a presentation of the kids dressing up as the Mayan gods that were popular at the time. After the celebration, the school principal stopped us as we were leaving. She wanted to relay her gratitude for our attendance and showing interest in their culture and history.
VBS Day 4
After the week we had, we weren't sure what to expect for our final day of VBS. We still had over 300 kids each day this week and the last few years have shown an increase on the last day. So we got ready for the day; we set up, Cathy was ready with a closing lesson and testimony and off went the bus and vans to bring the kids for one last day of fun. We've been tracking the numbers of VBS friends so we can have a better handle on logistics. This last day is also when we hand out t-shirts; the same shirts the kids have seen the VBS volunteers wear all week. We knew that we had only brought 365 of the kids sizes so naturally, we were a little nervous as we watch an unprecedented number of kids arrive. Last year, we were also able to give shirts to the moms that we there with their kids - so many of them came again this year. When all was said and done; attendance for kids had spiked to 412 and we stopped counting the moms at around 60. WOW!
The most exciting change we saw from the last few years was the group of older kids. It's typically our smallest group that grows gradually throughout the week. This year it started strong and remained our largest group all week long. It is safe to say that some relationships have been built over the last few years within this group. That's the 'rewarding' part of returning year after year - these kids trust that you care for them and you are able to demonstrate God's love on a whole new level. When Damion was welcoming the group he said, “Wow! Did you guys invite some friends today?” There was a deafening “YES” from the group! Investing in the future of these kids - young and old - really can help change the course of their lives.
At the end of these four days we are tired, physically and mentally but our spirits are on fire and overflowing with gratitude for how God used us this week. On Saturday, we had the opportunity to share a meal with all the volunteers. It was a beautiful time of fellowship, with amazing food, and capturing pictures with new friends. Inevitably, it was time for goodbyes, many of us had built relationships with different people and there was not a dry eye in the house. One of the boys (Esdras) became very special to our team. He went with us everywhere. His dad (Ever) was one of the men who drove us around.We had so much fun with them and shared alot of laughs - we definitely cultivated the beginning of a lifelong bond. During the car ride back to our hotel it was clear that Esdras felt as we did. Wishing for more time with the group, as we longed for more time with him. Seeing him breakdown and cry as the girls in the group began to hug him was beautiful. He was not the only one - there is a long list of kids and people that shared tears and hugs as we wrapped up our week in Honduras.
Testimony: Jose Luis Hernandez
Crazy to think that just a few years ago, Luis didn’t want anything to do with church. A missionary had asked him to stop by for a visit and the rest is history! He is a life changed and has been part of our visits for the last few years. Once connected with Andy and his team, they started to see his rebellious nature change. As Luis would say, “I’m not perfect but I’m not as rebellious as I used to be.” Coming from a broken home, like many of the kids here in Siquatepeque, he currently lives with his mother and two sisters. He is thankful for the education program at CAFFIN because, “It is reaching people and I have learned a lot about God and education.” He states that best thing is that the classes don’t just focus on reading and math but also focus on studying the Bible.