Bonding: By the last night of Proyecto I was emotionally, physically and spiritually spent. In the van ride there, which was quite long, I didn’t think I would make it through the night. But then Mayo started playing Choritos (upbeat Spanish songs with only three chords), and while I usually don’t like them it was so fun to be clapping and singing along with my team. I felt very bonded with my team over the experience and I loved that we were in high spirits when we arrived to the camp because we had been energized in the car ride there... blessing numero uno of the night.
Kids: My tiredness caught up with me a little while later though when I was working with, but not connecting with, the kids. I found myself counting down the minutes till the movie so I could sit down and not have to talk at the top of lungs. But God blessed me a second time and gave me a burst of energy to lead a game of red light, green light... then two songs... then three more songs with Eugenia (pronounced Eh-oo-hen-iah)...then all those songs over and over again as the kids clamored for more. So we danced and jumped and sang louder and louder about the love of God. Let me tell you, when you are yelling that the love of God is huge you can’t help but believe what you are saying and be excited by it. God continued to bless me with the kids by giving me the chance to give the gospel message, relate a small version of my testimony, and read a book about Jesus’ life to the kids. I felt like I was given the chance to mini disciple the children of that camp and I was so encouraged to be able to talk to them for so long in Spanish. Also, during the movie, a lot of the kids saw me sitting on the hill next to the screen. So they all picked up their cardboard mats and came tromping over to surround me with hugs and giggles. It was so precious to see them look at me, recognize me, and instantly come over to keep me company.
Noriel: I had brought my old jacket down to give away since I don’t wear it anymore and it is super warm. I forgot to bring it with us until the last night though, but as usual God knew who needed it. While singing songs one of the girls (age 11) stood out to me because of her enthusiasm for the music and her passion for Christ and his story and plan for her. She paid so much attention that she knew all the answers to my questions after I told them about Jesus. Anyway, I gave her my jacket and she loved it. I can imagine she has never had that much attention with her parents working all day long and her being left to entertain herself all day with the other kids of the camp. I felt like she soaked up my words as I told her how loved she was. She brought me candy later to say thank you and I was so blessed by her generosity. Overall, she impacted me so much and I will never forget her. God has great plans for her life!
Eager Hearts: Usually I am both encouraged and discouraged during the time of writing down decisions for Christ after the movie. The people who are genuinely excited about God or who are bold enough to raise their hands to say they have accepted Christ are uplifting. But the people who I feel just pray with us to get us to stop bugging them (sometimes the locals seemed to be pushing the gospel down their throats) were discouraging. But the last night was a huge answer to prayer. We didn’t even have to go up to people before they swarmed us to have us write down their names so we could pray for them and with them. One lady and her mother (Angelina and Esperanza) had us write down over ten members of their family to pray for them. I saw the freedom of Christ giving hope and joy to the people of that camp. It was exactly what I was praying for; to see fruit, to witness genuine heart change, to be able to communicate the love of God to people, and to be giving the gospel to fertile soil and soft hearts. What a perfect way to end Culiacan, with people eager to claim their inheritance in Christ. I truly believe a difference was made in Culiacan through the four weeks but none more than the last night. It was incredible.
Noriel in the jacket and me with Noriel.
Some other pictures of the last day before we went to airport:
With Angelica and Eugenia.
Super sad to leave.... of course.
Best pancakes ever!!! Thank you Italia!