Day 1 – Getting Started…
Our teams gathered together to pack the bus and pray together before the start of long day. The valley forge team left their campus at 12:15am on March 1st, a day earlier. This flight marked for some thier very first, having never flown before. For most it was a time to sleep for a few hours while a chosen few stayed awake due to a loss of love for air travel. Not to worry though because as usual all nerves were calmed with some prayer and a lot laughter as we all made a few new friends. Some of us were even able to share with people on the flight about our trip to Puerto Rico and what we were setting out to accomplish doing there. What a great experience to see God use something as simple as a seating arrangement to open the door to conversation about His love and plant a seeds before we even landed!
We all arrived safely in San Juan, Puerto Rico and were greeted by Team Challenge vans and a huge bus… this was a striking difference from the cattle van some of us became accustomed to in Haiti ;). After getting settled in we all sat together to enjoy a delicious meal provided by our Team Challenge hosts. Following dinner we gathered to sing worship, and pray together for protection over our team and praising God for what He has done… what He is doing AND what He will do this week! Team Valley forge started early the day before by preparing crafts, skits, and more to get ready for the kids and families we will soon meet and they even had an opportunity to visit and share the Love of Christ to kids at an orphanage not too far from where we are staying. We were all so excited to meet the kids and to teach them about the Gospel! While walking through we saw so much of the damage the hurricane that recently hit Puerto Rico had done. The orphanage itself is still under a lot of repairs. Nineteen boys live there and have to share a space in the living room because of the damage done by the hurricane to their own rooms.
TIME FOR VBS… We all went over the itinerary and asked God to bless all we were planning for these kids! The boys quickly came outside and we were immediately greeted with lots of hugs and high fives. They were very excited to sing worship songs, play games, make crafts and even memorize their memory verse “Mirad cuál amor nos ha dado el Padre, para que seamos llamados hijos de Dios. – 1 Juan 3:1”. which means, “Look at what love the Father has given us, so that we may be called children of God. – 1 John 3: 1.”
We ended with a fun puppet show that included songs for the kids and a skit about David and how his brothers were stronger, but God told Samuel that David had the heart and Spirit fit for King, how he protected his sheep as a Shepard, and how he defeated Goliath. What a blessing it was to be able to share Gods word with them and hear them shout for more “Las bis”, which means encore in Spanish.
After a long day some of the team unwound by playing basketball, walking on the beach and taking in the beautiful landscapes of this island. We are all excited to see what God has planned for this already power packed mission trip! Please keep us in your prayers as we start a long week of work helping bring some restoration and Love to the people of Puerto Rico… all praise to the Lord for He is good!
Team Operation Hope
Onward – Upward – Outward!