July 29, 2011 by Chris French
Today was a great day! I’m still looking for a way to describe how it effected me. We started off the day at the Central church of Christ loading the food bags. I’ve been having problems explaining the way we do that so I made a short video to help explain. You can watch it here. We loaded 250 bags and headed off to the Children’s Hospital. This was probably my favorite place and the most disturbing at the same time. When you walk in the doors there are kids everywhere. In each of the rooms you can see multiple children. We walked into a newborn room where there were four newborns. They were all sick and there was nothing we could do except hand out the bags we had prepared for them and a balloon animal we had made on the bus ride to the hospital. Next we went over to a toddler room. While we were handing out beanie babies, balloon animals and hair clips Kelly had made Jorge asked if I would pray for the children. I don’t know how many people go into that room full of small children and their mothers for the sole purpose of interceding with the Father on their behalf, but I was honored to do it. In between these two rooms there are multiple hallways that we walked down handing out bags, balloon animals and beanie babies. Imagine a room full of sick children. You walk past them knowing that there’s nothing you can do so you hold up your balloon poddle and kiss them with it hoping to see some shade of a smile. It’s a tough experience, but it made me better. We went into another wing of the hospital that seemed like a waiting room. People were lining the walls sitting in chairs and standing. We walked down the hall handing out balloon animals, rounded the corner handing out beanie babies and came full circle wishing we had brought more to give to them.
Lunch today was at McDonald’s. I went with the crispy chicken sandwich. I got a baked chicken sandwich, but it was good. We also ordered at Chip’s Ohoy McFlurry. It had real Chip’s Ohoy in it and was drizzled with carmel topping. Not a bad dessert! After lunch we got back on our magic school bus for the long ride down to Agua Escondida. I say “down” because this congregation is at sea level. The rest of the country is above sea level. This is the first year this congregation has been on our schedule and the preacher there said there would be about 200 kids there! For a little comparison we had about 50 kids each night at our VBS in Nashville! When we get to the congregation our bus driver gets out to see if he can drive the bus down the dirt road the congregation is on. He decides against it so we pile out and walk. It’s less than 1/2 mile, so it wasn’t that bad. When I see the congregation I think, “There’s no way they’re going to have 200 kids. They don’t even have the room for it!” Apparently God wasn’t thinking along the same lines because there were well over 2o0 kids there, maybe 250! We took the kids to an outside area downstairs from their building and had VBS. They sang Jesus loves me, Jesus loves the little children, The B-I-B-L-E, and If you’re happy and you know it in Spanish and in English. They had a puppet skit about Abraham and Isaac. The ram made his short lived debut and we handed out the craft. After VBS another member of our team and I started making balloon animals. Quickly we were swarmed with children. I’ve never been afraid of a 6 year old, but you get 200 six year olds and they’re a fierce crowd, especially when you’re backed up against a wall with only a balloon to defend yourself! We made balloons until the balloons were gone. When we looked up there were kids playing with our balloon animals all over the place! We had been so focused on making the animals that we hadn’t taken the time to look up and see what the kids were doing with them after they stopped pulling on our shirts to get us to make them a dog, sword or sombrero (my options are pretty limited, David’s much better than I am with the balloon animal making).
Since we didn’t have anymore balloons and there were still tons of kids there Kelly decided to hand out the silly bandz we had brought. We brought a whole galloon zip lock bag full of silly bandz and handed every one of them out and there were still kids wanting some! When she first pulled out the bag she was swarmed. She had made the mistake to pull out the bag while standing in the middle of the “room”. There were 50 kids in front of her pulling at her, 50 behind her reaching out for bandz. She had been swarmed! We asked one of the Salvadorian college students who has been with us all week to tell them to make a line and then they could get a silly bandz. They made the line and Francisco stayed to make sure the line stayed single file. He was on one side and Kelly’s mom, Debbie, was on the other and the tide of children was still pressing hard against them. While all of this is going on downstairs someone’s preaching upstairs! After that they hand out the 250 food bags to everyone who came to VBS and handed out reading glasses to everyone who needed them. This has been our daily routine the last several days, but I think Aqua Escondida blew us all away. They promised next year to have 300 kids present. I believe them! This is definitely one of the open doors we’ve been praying for. Tonite my prayer is a prayer of thanks and an invitation for God to blow us away with what HE is capable of doing!
We also went to the ocean today and walked thru a fish market on the pier into open air where we took several pictures including a group photo I’m going to have to get off of Facebook. You can watch a video of the waves coming in here. Also from yesterday I forgot to tell you that it was Kelly’s dad’s birthday. We went out to eat at Bennigan’s and they snuck up behind him and sang Happy Birthday. You can watch the video on youtube here. Buenos Nachos!
To see the pics click here