July 20, 2010
Praise God! After three labor-intensive days of working at the youth hostel, and with the help of the several youth hostel kids, we completed mixing, transporting, pouring and leveling the cement. What used to be a marshy, uneven, fire ant and mosquito filled field now has something that actually looks a basketball court the youth will be able to play on. God blessed us with an additional day to spread out this work, and to spend more time with the youth. First, I’ve noticed that our team is full of energy, willing to help, and lend a hand whenever needed. One example is when some members of the lunch crew were still helping with mixing cement and unable to start preparations (unloading the food and water and making sandwiches) others who were not on duty stepped in and took over that role to prepare lunch for the rest of the group. Also, when we were shoveling the gravel to make the cement, there were people either moving the gravel so it is closer and easier to add or ready to jump in so that we could take a break. The extra day was an added bonus because of the break and being able to spread out the work, and the opportunity to be able to spend more time on site with the kids. I’ve been reminded that it is not the PROJECT but the PEOPLE that are most important. Yes, we are there to build the court, and serve the youth in that regard. However, chiefly, we are also there to share God’s love and the gospel to those who have not heard and have not seen. Taking this to heart, I had been spending a lot of effort on my duties – construction, first aid, lunch preparations, loading and unloading, etc. Today, I wanted to spend more effort talking with some of the youth hostel kids. I’ve gotten to know a few of the kids by working side by side during the construction, and also by helping to bandage and tape up some cuts and scrapes. One of the youth asked me about arm band/bracelet I had attached on my bag that I brought on this trip, and asked if he could have it. While I did bring these as an opportunity to share, I did not want to just give them away without having to chance to share the gospel and get to know where they were spiritually. He was persistent by asking for the last two days and today I had a little more time to ask about if he had heard about the gospel and about Jesus and what that what meant. He said he was a Christian or that he believed in the Bible – that he had been to church when he was at home, and that he knew about Jesus, and read the Bible each night. But I wanted to get deeper – I wanted to hear the Gospel from his mouth. I asked if he had any questions about what he read when he read the Bible, and he said he didn’t. Then I asked what he believed would happen when he died – and he talked about heaven and hell. And when I asked about how you go to heaven, he talked about doing good and being good. Then I asked about Jesus, and he said that God sent Jesus to die for us. I wasn’t sure if he understood what it means that God sent Jesus to die for us. I wanted to share about how Jesus was the only way to heaven (John 14:6). I also wanted to clarify that it was not through works, but that Christ was enough – and only by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). When I asked if he had his Bible – he said he didn’t. It felt a bit incomplete, and I wanted to take the opportunity to pray but we had to go. We will return on Saturday to spend time playing with the youth on the court and I told him I will pray for him and see him then. I hope that we can spend that time to go through the Bible verses and pray so he can have assurance of salvation.
Please continue to pray for our safety – praise that we haven’t had any major injuries, but pray for quick healing of our sore muscles, cuts, bruises, and blisters.
Please pray for the youth hostel kids which we will not see for a couple days, and that when we see them again, we will have open opportunities to share the complete gospel and enjoy the fruits of our labor (playing basketball). Also please pray for the block party that we will have tomorrow, and the VBS we will be having at the orphanage.
Praise for blessings through the trip thus far – the beauty of His creation that we’ve seen (through a river tubing trip and the zoo) as well as the blessings of completing the court. (now we just have to wait for it to dry!)