To our blog followers, Andrea and I apologize for the lack of updates. We had a lot of connectivity problems on Roatan. We are going to get our posts out … they are just delayed for a few days.
This is our update from Thursday …..
Isaiah 45:8 “Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it.
I’m not sure how hard it rained when God flooded the earth in the times of Noah, but if we had forty days like today, I would have been looking for a boat. It rained for a good part of the day today, with some of it being pretty heavy downpours. It didn’t prevent us for doing His work. It just made it more interesting and memorable.
The day started with a great devotion by Gary talking about grace and the importance of it in all our lives. It’s something that heals us all and benefits the giver as well as the receiver. Ultimately, we are all the beneficiaries of God’s amazing grace.
Today’s plan involved putting on a community day in Oak Ridge. We started the event off with Rich professionally directing a skit on the temptations of sin and how we can overcome sin through prayer. It was a really upbeat performance that engaged the many children in the audience. We followed that up with several Christian-based crafts (cross necklaces, ring toss, keepsake box decorating). The kids and adults had a great time and came away with some positive messages.
Next was our “soup kitchen” that we’ve been doing the last few years. We gave out hot dogs, juice and cookies to over 300 people! This seems to have become a fun community event for many of the kids in Oak Ridge. It’s a simple meal, but I am still amazed by the attendance and appreciation from the community. After lunch, we had the thrift sale where we sold new and gently used items at a deep discount. Most of these items were donated from members of Shepherd of the Valley and carried down to Roatan by the team. We brought down roughly 2000 lbs. of checked luggage – full of donations and construction materials.
One of my personal highlights of the day was reconnecting with a young boy named Luis. My first year coming to Roatan was five years ago and, at the time, Luis was staying at the Children’s home. Luis spoke Mesquite, a local Indian language. Most people in Roatan speak Spanish and/or English. We couldn’t directly communicate, but every morning he would come sit on my lap and hold my hand during morning devotions. He’d help me during the day with various projects. He never said a word to me until the last day when I was getting ready to leave he came and gave me a hug, made the sign language gesture for I love you, and said “mi amigo”. The little guy broke my heart. The next year when we came back to Roatan, Luis had moved back with his family. I’ve asked about him every year since and this year he came to community day. Luis still doesn’t talk much. He knows Spanish and a little English. Christy helped me set him up with a care package with a backpack, some shirts, shorts and shampoo. It was really good to see him.
Another cool part was our follow-up home visits. This took place during the heaviest rains of day. Some of the dirt trails from Tuesday had become fast moving streams. This made navigating the steep hills a real adventure. Everyone made it through without injury, but we were all soaked to the bone and will need to dry our shoes. One of the places we visited on Monday, was a house with 8 kids living there between the ages of 14 and 20. Their parents were off working on another island and would not return until November. When we visited them on Tuesday and brought some basic groceries, the oldest girl broke down crying and was incredibly thankful of our small gift. We found out today that they had run out of food the day before our visit and had no visible path to getting food. Today, we brought them clothes and a few other staples – including a Spanish bible. We delivered supplies to the next home, which was further down the same trail. When we came back past their home, five of the kids were waiting in the rain and yelling “Thank You” and We Love You” as we walked by their home. There wasn’t a dry eye on the team.
Ironically, back at the beginning of the day, I thought we should cancel the home visits. I was concerned about the safety of the team on some of the treacherous trails. Several member of our team protested. We decided to do the home visits. I must admit, I went into it a bit reluctantly. We made it to 3 of our five homes and we actually went to the most difficult ones. In hindsight, I was wrong. We were in Roatan to serve – not to stay safe and dry in a church. Miranda also pointed out how it drove home what these folks had to deal with when it rained. We all have nice homes and a good infrastructure for handling bad weather. Many of the people in Oak Ridge don’t have water tight roofs. I learned a little lesson today. Thanks God.
Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
It was a challenging day. It was a good day.