Tuesday 1st August
In between more practical tasks on the building site, completing the painting on the old church and smartening up the comedor, where the church currently meets, this week was children’s holiday club. There was some apprehension about the number of children who would turn up as we had hoped to have the time to go round the town and invite more. However, we needn’t have worried. Children started to arrive an hour before we were due to begin and in the end we had about 40 children squashed into the church.
The afternoon was slightly chaotic, but the children seemed to enjoy themselves, and particularly liked the craft activity. There were many familiar faces in the crowd, but we learnt afterwards that there were also some children who Juan Carlos and the family hadn’t seen before. The programme consisted of games, songs, drama, a memory verse and a craft activity and lasted for a couple of hours. When it had finished, we debriefed and then we planned a bit more thoroughly for the next few children’s sessions. We are excited to put our plans into action and are hoping to feel a bit less like we are just winging it over the next few days!
Wednesday 2nd August
Wednesday we had a children’s holiday club where we had a riveting talk on the ten lepers and God’s healing ability. Afterwards we got ready for a long journey to Chilca where we ran a service with up to 20-25 people in attendance. There was a breakdown on the way with one of our tyres being punctured. It made our journey a lot longer and a bit more precarious but we made it in the end. We performed a drama we’d performed a couple of times before in front of a new audience. Funke gave her testimony and the night culminated in a special presentation of traditional dancers with three young dancers. They performed very entertaining dances with traditional costumes and topped it off with the odd combination of hot chocolate and garlic bread. Later on we received news that three people gave their lives to Christ. All in all, it was a very tiring yet fulfilling day.
Friday 4th August
Friday is the happy combination of El Desierto and the Jovenes Meeting, a mix of younger kids and then youth. Being at the Jovenes meeting was just like being at Cell group on Tuesdays, and it was great to see the young people being active in the church, having fun and learning about God, through Jazz who delivered her testimony and Chike who delivered a talk. Both had a great impact on me, it was incredible to hear them share their faith and experience. We sang Mi Faro (My Lighthouse), a personal favourite of mine, and it was fun to do the actions along with it! Each day we are experiencing God in different ways, through seeing the kids enjoying the parachute games to strengthening each other in our faith as a team. As we reach the end of our second week, and are going onto the final week, there are few words to describe the joy, faith and multitude of blessings that we have discovered. It is everything I expected, and nothing I expected.
Sunday 7th August
The wise man built his house on the Rock was the theme of the Sunday children’s church where 50 came to enjoy a great programme of stone painting (no lack of those around here around here), lively action songs, then going outside in groups to build houses of sand or bricks. Each was tested with water and guess which survived! The story and its meaning were taught with questions, memory verse and ‘chatterbox’ to take home. What do we have to do to build our house on solid ground? Go to church, read the bible, learn verses by heart and pray.
The girls cooked lunch – a Philippino dish from Jazz and Brownies from Anna. We all walked up to the cemetery at the end of town, and then onto the ‘mirador’ to see a 360 view of La Florida.
The evening service was a good celebration with many more attending than our previous two weeks here. It was good to see the turn-out with friends from the past, and some there for the first time. Some lively singing was followed by Rachel sharing some photos from her time in South America, and then Robert preached in Spanish on Isaiah 26. Soledad came with her baby of two weeks and Juan Carlos asked Robert to dedicate her son.