Today is our first full day of camp, and we have a busy schedule planned. We began the day with people doing personal devotions in various places, and then we joined up for breakfast. After eating, we met together to discuss the life of Abraham. We were impressed by his faith that gave him the confidence to know that even though God called him to sacrifice his only child, he knew that God could (and would) raise him from the dead. What a great man of faith.
After devotions, Matt and Sam headed off to teach during the morning session with the kids, while the rest of the group broke into 2 squads – painting crew and hole digging crew. Both teams got to work and for the next 2 ½ hours painted and dug – they did a lot of work.
About noon we broke to join the kids as they were heading to the pool to go swimming. It is so neat to see these kids, who don’t have access to a swimming pool, jumping in the water, holding their breath under water, playing water games, etc. They act just like the kids back home. Of course, our group is right there with them, playing games and swimming together. They are having a wonderful time.
Pool time ended and we played games (basketball and futbol) until lunch. Then we ate lunch and we had our activity and craft time. The girls did the craft first – so the boys played futbol and threw cherries at each other. Jose Luis and his son, Chipito, were right in the thick of the cherry fight. They had cherry marks all over their clothes. It is hilarious to see a 56 year old man playing with the kids – allowing them to throw cherries at him too! They were having a blast.
Eventually the girls finished their craft (a picture frame holder that they painted and then received a “Polaroid” type picture to put in it), and it was the guys turn. What was funny was the difference of the behaviors of the girls. They were not playing futbol. They were not running around throwing things at each other. They were sitting on the basketball court and the soccer field and coloring with sidewalk chalk and making bracelets with rubber bands. It was much more peaceful than the boys!
We were cleaning up the craft/game time, and we were told the kids were going to two different places (boys in the chapel, girls in the salon), for a “discovering your heart” time. The girls from the group went to the salon, and Sam and I went to the chapel. Both groups were talking about protecting their hearts and learning how to love one another better. The final activity of the group was very amazing to watch. They told the boys and girls that they needed to hug each other and tell each other what strengths they see in each other. The boys were crying, hugging each other, encouraging one another – to the point that when we broke for prayer, one of the boys was sobbing loudly. It was very moving – these kids do not receive this kind of love at home. They are encouraged to be hard, unemotional people. It is “necessary” for their survival. The team was impacted deeply as we watched the kids love each other, and as we participated as well – hugging each child and telling them that God loves them, and we love them too.
We went back our housing area and sat around as a team. One person asked about embarrassing stories, so a few of us told some embarrassing things that have happened. Without giving you any more information, you must ask Amy about her towel experience… definitely one of the best “embarrassing moment” stories I have ever heard!!
Soon after it was dinner time and we ate with the children. Then we had a little “free time” in the salon (basically an all purpose room where they eat, have meetings, play games, etc.) and we made up some crazy games to pass the time. Most of the games didn’t even make any sense – like the boys running into the girls circle and jumping up and down like a bunch of monkeys. The girls would crash the boys monkey circle and we would all just laugh. One kid asked Sam what the rules to this game was – Sam asked me, and of course I did not have an answer – we were just having fun!
Free time was followed by a movie about David and Goliath. The kids sat on the ground and watched the movie. After it ended Layda (one of the male counselors) gave a challenge and then prayed with the kids.
Our night ended with our wrap up time. Each person shared the highlights and the difficulties for the day. I was thrilled to listen to the group share the ways God is stretching them, encouraging them, using them. It has been a wonderful day.
Tomorrow is more of the same – another day to serve God and see what He is going to do.