In June I was able to staff a mission trip with Bill Britton near Ponce, in the south of Puerto Rico. We stayed in a Christian camp called Campamento Del Caribe (www.campcaribe.org). Here are some highlights.
Here is what Molly, a team leader from Ransom Church in South Dakota said on their youth Facebook page:
“Seven days was all that it took me to fall in love with the people, culture, and abundant joy in Puerto Rico. During our time on the island, our team was able to help build a wall at camp, serve meals at the soup kitchen, love on kids at VBS, respond to God’s voice during our Ask The Lord time, and so much more. I have also gained a better understanding of what it looks to hear the voice of God and to boldly respond to those nudging. I truly believe that this is not the end, but the beginning of something great. I cannot wait to see how God uses us here in South Dakota like he did in Puerto Rico. Oh- and did I forget to mention that I was able to go cliff jumping on our celebration day, and walk to the ocean every day from the dorms we were in?! I LOVE this place and cannot wait until I am able to go back.”
She raised 10 Children
The highlight of my, (Cesar) trip was my visit and talks with a 92 year old lady named Marcelina. She raised 10 children and has more grandkids than she can remember. She raised her 10 kids alone as a single mom. She had to work a number of jobs to put food on the table and a roof over her family. One of Marcelina’s job was a fishing diver. I would like to ask you to pray that someone out there would pray about buying her a tape player and a set of the Bible on audio in Spanish. If anyone is called to do this please contact me.
Cleaning Up Can Open Doors!
At Marcelina’s house we had the opportunity to clean her backyard. The yard was full of overgrown plants, rocks and other things. The youth labored very hard that afternoon and their hard work paid off. As the youth said good-bye to Marcelina she kissed and hugged each one of them. She was sad to see them go. Marcelina looked into Molly’s eyes (one of the youth leaders), held her face with both hands, tenderly caressing her right hand over Molly’s left check and then, as she gently pushed her hair behind her left ear she said to Molly, “you are like one of my daughters.” She told the youth from South Dakota that they had to come back next year because she would still be alive and she wants to take them way over there, pointing with her finger into the distance, and said, “then we are each going to get crabs and you will eat them.”
Marcelina has not allowed her family to pray for her for a long time. There are a number of problems between them. Then here come these Americans from South Dakota to work in her back yard and God shows up. As we were leaving one day she let us pray for her. Harry, one of her grandkids, told us later that night that he was shocked that she let them to pray for her.
One of the things that I liked the most about the youth from Ransom Church is that Cody, the youth pastor, trained up 3 youth to be the leaders of the 3 teams. Of course each team had adults with them at all times, but the youth leaders made all the calls. They prepared for this trip for 9 months. Cody was basically discipling these 3 youth leaders. I am sure Cody has had mentors in the past that have trained him in ministry leadership. Now he is doing it. 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” What a great model of discipleship.
Haciendo Amigos En Puerto Rico
Vacation Bible School stories were written by a girl from Ransom Church named Hannah. She wrote the stories and the youth acted them out. Kaylah who is a missionary in Juana Diaz uses her house as a church and a place to have kids over. The kids from Puerto Rico and from South Dakota really enjoyed the music that Kaylah played for them during VBS. Best of all, several kids raised their hands to indicate that they wanted Jesus in their lives.
You Want Me to Do What Lord?
Bill Britton took a team each afternoon into Ponce where he taught them about ATL (Ask The Lord). They basically asked the Lord what to do. Then they would listen to the voice of God and then obey. There were a number of stories that we heard about youth going up to strangers and starting up a conversation. This made a huge impact with them.!