For example, on the New Life team, there was a guy, Patrick, who loves to paint. With the help of his team, he was able to paint a mural in the Rotonda. The people in that area LOVE the mural! Just seeing it makes them happy, as well as full of a new sense of pride and ownership, for their part of the neighborhood. It makes the whole area seem more full of life and hope. I have had no less than 5 people approach me in the last week asking me for murals on their house walls, too.
On that same team there was a kindergarten teacher, Krista, and one of my favorite people in the world, Cindy Schmidt. They decided to plan a vacation Bible school for the kids. They talked with me about themes and decided on the armor of God. They brought down craft materials related to the theme and had a blast teaching the kids about being in the army of the Lord. We made up silly little songs and had a great time teaching the kids about Jesus.
|Even the moms enjoyed learning about the theme!!|
The New Life team also included a couple who enjoy teaching couples about having and creating a strong, Biblical marriage. Josh and Cindy Boggs planned a 2 day conference for couples, teaching them how to keep the romance alive and be even more united as a couple. They taught the basic principles, and then hosted a romantic, candle-lit dinner to top it off. The rest of the team blessed them by hosting the child care.
The last team, Grand Rapids, also brought a variety of gifts and talents. Stephanie (MISS YOU, girl!!) is a hairdresser in the states. She works at a spa and is talented in making women feel pampered and special. She brought these skills down here and really touched a lot of people. By cutting hair, she gave women and opportunity to feel better about themselves and feel special, like they really matter to some one. She spent most of the trip cutting off excess hair, and more importantly cutting off lies that these women believe about themselves (that they're not good enough, that no one cares about them, that they're not loved or cherished or valued). And let me tell you, she used her gift in unique ways! She cut hair in houses, in alley ways, in the streets, and even in a bed! (There was a lovely elderly woman who had ulcerated legs from diabetes who couldn't leave her bed. It didn't matter! Stephanie just cut her hair where she was!!) It really is a testimony that God can use our gifts in unique and creative ways when we're willing to listen to the Holy Spirit.
Age also doesn't matter. Kelsey and Claire had a great time just connecting with the kids. They were role models to the girls and teens about what it means to serve, no matter what your age or language!
The girls really lived that example this week, just by being themselves! Just by being young and full of life and freedom in Christ! When we went our our free day, for a day of adventure in the mountains, we took 3 teenage girls with us, Abigail, Tutis, and Cherry. They really looked to Kelsey and Claire as their leaders. The girls literally wouldn't do anything unless Claire and Kelsey did it first. On the zipline, they all told me they wanted Claire to go first, because if she could do it they could do it. Claire gave them the courage and boldness to know that anything is possible!! Woot woot!!
Even if you don't speak Spanish, just spending time with these people makes more of an impact than money or "stuff". The guys really enjoy game nights and hanging out with team members. Getting to know them by name and hearing their stories teaches them that they are valued and matter. Spending time in Bible studies and small groups shows them that they mean something. That their lives matter.
No matter what your gifts and talents are, they can be used creatively in the kingdom of God. He has given you those abilities for a reason. They may be used in ways that would surprise you, but are a blessing both to the people of Los Anonos and to you as well.