Today marked the last day of ministry here.
The morning was spent driving up into the Andes mountains in search of a couple of seemingly elusive lakes, a potentially sketchy bridge (there were some sighs of relief when we made it safely across), and lots of fog. We did eventually make it to the lakes, and they were indeed quite beautiful! The fog started to lift shortly after we turned around and started back down the mountains, and we successfully crossed the questionable bridge a 2nd time. It was a fun morning spent laughing and enjoying time together as a team, as well as a great opportunity to see some more of the beautiful country we have been ministering in.
After lunch we headed off for our last program with the kids here. The afternoon started off with another opportunity for FLEXIBILITY!! Our fellow teammates/translators were delayed and so we were unable to start the program when we’d planned. Part of me was actually rather glad for the delay. The children we’ve been working with are so much fun and full of love and energy…I really enjoyed getting to spend some extra time just playing with and loving on them. I quickly lost count of how many precious little kids ran up to me, literally climbed up into my arms and just hugged me…and hugged me…and hugged me some more. Some of the sweetest words I heard were “Te quiero mucho” (basically translated: “I love you a lot”).
Once the program finally got started, it was with some mixed feelings on my part knowing that these were our last couple of hours with these precious children. I’ve been leading one of the game teams this week, with a game to tie in to the lesson of the day. Each day I was encouraged as the kids were very quick to remember what we’d talked about the previous days. The lesson for today was “God is Eternal”. In spite of the pain I feel at having to leave tomorrow, it was so neat to be able to leave the kids with this last lesson: That God is Eternal. He will always be with them! And all of the lessons we’ve talked about during this week…they will always apply because God never changes. It was very special to be able to tell them that, no matter how much I loved them all…God loves them so much more and He will never leave them!!
The best news of the day is that 10 kids prayed to accept God’s gift of Salvation!!! What a blessing to be able to be a part of welcoming them into the Family of God!. Unbeknownst to the rest of the team, Liz had prayed for that very thing the day before…that 10 kids would accept Christ. She didn’t necessarily know why she prayed for that particular number, but she felt God telling her… “Ask me for 10 kids”. What a wonderful testimony of God’s greatness!!
As I sit here writing this blog, the team is enjoying our last night together, reminiscing and sharing thoughts, anecdotes, and memories from the trip. It is so encouraging to see how God has worked in each individual’s life over the last couple of weeks. As much as I hate to call this trip to an end, I’m looking forward to going home and seeing how God will continue to work in each of our lives in the coming year ahead.