This evening we went back out to the SofC in order to help with a church service there and help feed all those who come. I’m not sure exactly who it was that came, except that it seemed to be moms with their children, of all ages. This was my first time inside the walls here, and I was a little surprised as to how small it was. There was just a small basketball court with a 3 story building on the end. High walls surround the compound, keeping everything as safe as can be. It looks like on each floor is one big room, and either bathrooms or one smaller room at the other end. A spiral staircase leads up to the top floors. A smaller building off to the side houses the computers where they teach these kids skills that may get them out of the dump. The colors were bright and primary, which was a stark contrast to the constant dirt-brown all around us. We got there a little early, so went onto the basketball court and played soccer. We were having a great time, and people started to slowly filter in. I soon noticed two girls about 10 years old standing outside of the court, peering in through the links of the fence. “Queres jugar” (Do you want to play) I asked? They both nodded yes with big eyes and jumped in the fray. Soon we were chasing each other all over the court and having a great time. I didn’t know who was on whose team, or which way we were going, and I’m not sure anyone else did either, but I could tell by the looks on the faces of the kids that they were having fun. I screamed “goal!” for every time someone scored, regardless of which team. I loved seeing the smiles on the kids as we played with them.
When it was time for church, we all filed into one of the rooms on the bottom floor. It was probably only 30 feet long by 20 feet wide, if that. There were plastic picnic tables for seating, bars on all the windows, and a basic whiteboard at the front. There were no projectors, or smart boards, or colorful posters like in the schools of the US. It was just a basic room to learn and worship in, and I’m sure all the Mexican people here were glad for at least this. We were told there was air-conditioning, which there was. The only problem was that with 50 or more people crammed in that little of a space there was no way the AC could keep up. I looked over at one of our boys who was playing soccer earlier, and he was just dripping sweat. Still, it was time to worship, so we all looked towards the front expectantly. A smallish young man with curly dark hair came up with his classic guitar and led us in a few songs. One of the songs I knew, and the others I didn’t. Still, that didn’t diminish the fact that we were together, worshiping God as one body. I was reminded then how beautiful it is when God’s people sing, no matter the language. I love authentic worship. When the music was done, it was time for us to go upstairs with the kids. We probably had 30 kids plus our 10 in a small room, again with AC that didn’t quite do the job but was better than it would be without. We had decided to tell the story of Noah, and I was the narrator. In order to make it fun, I had the kids “help” us build the ark by pounding their fists in their palms. It sounded so good! Then, all the animals came into the ark, so all the kids picked their animal and made a joyful noise of animal sounds! Finally, the rain needed to come down, so they first snapped, then clapped, and finally pounded their hands on the table to symbolize all the rain coming down. We finished the story, and we had a great time. The lesson from Noah that I hoped the kids would take away is that God loves you and wants to keep you safe, even if you can’t see or understand what the future holds.
After the lesson we needed to fill some time, and so played some games. We taught them Heads-Up-7-Up and animal charades. I’m not sure if they got how to play, but oh well! We then played “I Spy” and they enjoyed that guessing game. The evening was the best that we could do at the last minute, and I know the kids had a great time!
After the services we went downstairs to feed all of these people who had come. I think there were probably 30 kids, and then probably 15-20 women that we fed, if not more. A nice lady from the neighborhood showed up with a tray of hot dogs, in addition to the meal the local church brought for them. What struck me was what was in this meal, and to know that for many of these here this might be the only real food they get in that day. It consisted of a small scoop of Spanish rice, a small scoop of runny beans, and a few measly pieces of chicken. They got a cup of juice, and then the hot dogs were an added bonus. Regardless of what I thought of the meal (I actually thought it looked good!), I know it was a blessing for these people who have virtually nothing. And if it takes food to get them to hear and believe the word of God…..then we will feed them.
After dinner it was almost time to go, and I stood around wondering what to do. Our translator was working with another one of our ladies, and I didn’t feel confident in speaking with the adults in my basic Spanish. I didn’t want to just stand off though, not interacting with these people at all. I just sent up a prayer, and said, “God, what do I do?” Pretty soon I noticed a girl of about 10 walking along the lines on the basketball court, just happily going in circles. I smiled, and joined in, keeping up with her step for step. Pretty soon she looked back, saw me, and smiled. She walked a little faster, and I kept up, still, step for step. I yelled at my husband that we needed more kids, and pretty soon we had about 10 following this one little girl. We didn’t know where we were going, but it didn’t matter! I marched, I laughed, and pretty soon I put my hands up like an airplane. Some of the kids joined me, and we all flew around on the lines. We then made animals noises, and different kids started to take the lead in our simple game. It was such great fun! With little else to do and feeling like I could not go up to the ladies because of the language barrier, I was grateful for this small moment that I could touch these little lives.
We all piled into our vans and headed back to our resort to again eat at the wonderful buffet. The sun was a brilliant orange in the sky as we sat under the tiki roof and ate. It glowed over the ocean, and filled the sky with color. It was glorious to see. I don’t know what God has planned for this trip, but my husband and I both know without a shadow of a doubt that we were supposed to come. We look in anticipation towards tomorrow, where we will again feed the kids, and play with them, and show them the love of Christ.
BTW: For dinner I went ahead and tried the stir-fried veggies that I didn’t want to try last night, along with the fruit I know is safe for me. So far, 1.5 hours after, I’m doing okay with it. There is a bit of gas, but nothing else so far. I hope it does okay for me because it is an easy dinner. I came in and ate a few CC Cookies to supplement. I’m not very hungry, which is a great thing as it’s keeping me from wanting this food that I cannot have. I guess that I don’t even really miss the food that is there. Maybe because it’s a buffet and a different ethnic meal set each night, and not the authentic Mexican food I love. Either way, so far, on day 2, my Crohn’s is doing okay.