This team was a college group from Kirk of the Hills and they did a great job utilizing their gifts to bless the people here in Rio Blanco. Here are a few of the things they shared:
1. A really great drama!! They did so well! The drama depicts God's creating a young woman and the fellowship they have together until distractions begin to pull the girl away. The distractions become barriers between the girl and God until, at the point of life or death, she decides to run after God again. However, the "evils" try to keep her down - but then God saves her! (To see the drama they used, follow this link). We had a neat opportunity to invite one of our English classes to one of the services so they could watch their gringo friends' drama and listen to Pastor Scott preach in English.
2. Pastor Scott shared some very encouraging sermons that really moved the local believers. "Let what you do in here, fill the streets out there!" He has a very powerful testimony as well that really struck one of the English students. (Here Tedd is translating - he did an excellent job :-)
3. The church that hosted them here, Cordero de Dios (Lamb of God), loved their gringos! The group was split into pairs and threes and they lived with local Nicaraguan families from the church. I was so so impressed by the connections the team made with their host families in such a short amount of time. For their final night in Rio Blanco, the church held a special service to honor each member and then held a delicious banquet afterward. During the dinner, family members stood up to share some special memories from their week together. The final day, there were tears. I was amazed by the connections. The Kirk team is still writing letters back and forth to their host families.
4. Children's Ministry. Both in Liquia and in Paiwa, the team brought all kinds of goodies for the kids to play with and then lots of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap to give away after we did a fun health presentation. The team members acted out different scenarios where they were spreading germs and making everyone sick - boy, did it get hilarious!! The kids were in an uproar when one of the skit characters had a bad case of diarrhea! It was a great way to let the kids know that washing their hands is very important. We also played with jump ropes, bubbles, and water balloons, and each kid walked away with a handful of candy - I'm pretty sure they had a great time.
5. Testimonies from some of the team members were a great way for the locals to connect and relate to their foreign visitors. Maggie, below on the left (standing with LEI's Amy Means), shared an intimate story about her being unwanted by her biological mother when she was very young. A few days later, a church member told me how much Maggie's testimony meant to him, because he had been abandoned by his mother when he was a little boy. His eyes were full of emotion as he shared with me his story of how God has led him to a loving family and comfort in knowing God as his Father.
6. Construction. Cordero de Dios, the host church in Rio Blanco, has a church plant taking place right outside of town and they needed some extra hands to lay the foundation. It was a lot of shoveling, cement mixing, rock-hauling, and sweating, but the team rose to the challenge and the locals were most definitely encouraged.
...and of course, so much more, but that would take another couple of blog posts! We're thankful for the Kirk team and their servant hearts - they were a true blessing to us and the locals here in Rio Blanco. God certainly allowed them to make a lasting impression. Some of them even want to come back!