The past few days have been full of fun activities with a team of 13 from Canyon Hills Community Church. 10 of them were teenagers. 10 indomitable teenagers. They painted and painted and cleaned and carried and moved and painted. And made a few house visits. And beat the Samborondon teenagers at soccer last night. To smooth things over, Brandon, the biggest of the teens bought everyone ice cream, even those of us who arrived as everyone was leaving. In our defense, Julio, Paola, Ronald and I were practicing music for church instead of playing soccer.
Sunday I finally remembered my camera and took a bunch of pictures. Rob, the group leader, preached on John 15, about how Christ is the true vine, God the Father is the Gardener, and we are the branches which are cut off if unfruitful or pruned to be more fruitful. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. I keep coming across this passage recently… hm…
MK (missionary kid) Kyle Kallestad came from Chile to help with the team and he translated the sermon. It can be really hard to come with all the right words on the spot, so if he got stuck he’d look to the front row where Emily and I were sitting and we’d give him the word he was looking for. Emily is the female team leader. She grew up as a missionary kid in Spain, but now lives in the States with her husband and four kids.
As a sermon illustration, the team performed a skit to the song “Everything” by Lifehouse in Spanish. My favorite part was this scene where Jesus is protecting the girl from her past mistakes which seek to destroy her. I got teary-eyed to think how much Jesus loves us and how he’s always there when we call on him. To quote a favorite author, Adrian Plass, he “battles through the thicket of things I have become.”
After church everyone wanted a group photo and some people from church jumped in. I love taking a first shot before people are ready. Hehehehe…. or as they say here, jejejeje…
Here’s the (boring) posed one.
Then, the team piled onto a bus to go visit a small rural community church about an hour away surrounded by banana and rice plantations. This place isn’t even on a map. It’s so remote and untouched, it’s called Eden. Some brethren from Samborondon church, including most of the youth group came along, too.
After lunch, the gringos got to work face-painting. They started out with hearts and stars, but got much more elaborate as the afternoon stretched on.
Others made balloon animals. The moms even gave them to the babies. This is Genesis. Her mom was tired of keeping her entertained. The gringos were more than happy to help out. Here she’s in Alexia’s arms.
When Genesis finally got around to Bryan, he made a swing with his arms. She seemed to like it, but her eye was still on that red balloon dog.
Daniela, the pastor’s daughter in Eden, led some of the neighborhood girls in a choreographed song. I learned some of the steps too, but as far as I know there is no evidence of that. You can see some rice fields in the background behind them.
Then, we all gathered in front of their chapel and had a loose sort of program. They thanked the gringos for coming and Kyle translated.
A couple of the kids, or rather creatures with painted faces, sang songs they had learned.
The local teens put on a puppet show and told about miracles that Jesus did, starting with making really good wine out of water.
After the program, we all got in a huge circle, both adults and kids, and played some sort of dancing game. We started out with everyone on the outside and just a few in the middle. Emily, the missionary kid from Spain, was one of the first in the middle and she’s got moves!
At a certain point in the song, the people in the middle went and grabbed others from the outer circle to join them. I was nabbed soon after this picture. But again, as far as I know there’s no evidence of me dancing because everyone else was busy dancing, too.
Odds and Ends
This is Natali. She’s one of the teens from Samborondon. She liked the grass in Eden and she asked her friend to take profile picture. I got there just in time to snap this one. I’m not cropping it because, how fun is the guy with the pet “snake” in the background?
Baby swing: Take 1. This is Samuel’s typical picture face.
On the way to Eden, Grace, one of the youth leaders from Samborondon, tried Goldfish snack crackers for the first time. The Ecuadorian teens kept saying, “these fish are so great because they don’t have bones and they taste like cheetos.”
I’ve wondered how many “tricis” are in Samborondon and I got my chance to count them on Friday when they all met up downtown. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do more than stop and take this picture. But, I no longer feel the need to know an exact number. Safe to say there are a lot.