The things we talked about apply to everyone going on the trip so I want to share some of them with you.
One of the things I emphasized during the retreat was the need to be flexible. Ashley Stewart explained how important it is to stretch before workouts and to keep our muscles flexible, but I told her that was the wrong kind of flexible. (Just kidding, although we did have a discussion about stretching every morning during the trip) Schedules are going to change, plans are going to change, and work projects are going to change. That is just part of life on the mission field, especially in Central America. Weather, transportation, equipment problems, and other things go awry and sometimes we have to go to a plan B, or plan C, or even a plan D on a moment's notice. And sometimes we don't have plans B,C, or D! This drives most Americans crazy, especially if this is your first trip to Central America. As Dorothy would say, "We are not in Kansas anymore." Things are different in Central America and we need to be flexible and roll with it!
We also discussed staying focused during the trip. One of the things that can happen, especially on an extended trip, is losing focus. Everyday each person on the trip has 24 hours to use in whatever way they choose to use them. Whether it is 10 days or 32, all of us have a very finite number of days and hours to use during the trip. We will all spend a great deal of time, energy, and money to prepare for this trip. For some of us we will have spent months getting ready for this trip. Once we arrive, the clock starts ticking and the time goes by VERY quickly. Losing focus and wasting valuable time is one of the worst things you can do. Whether it be personality conflicts, dislike of the food we are eating for our meals, or the person on the bunk next to you that snores, or singing songs that you are not overly fond of, stay focused. Don't let anything steal away your time that you have dedicated to God for the work you are there to do.
One of our longest sessions this weekend had to do with our vacation Bible school lessons. Kim Fussell, from Memphis, Tennessee, will be in charge of writing the VBS lessons again this year. Since we will be using the VBS lessons in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras, we are putting even more work and emphasis on the VBS lessons. Each lesson will be capable of being taught by itself, or together as a series. The VBS theme this year is based off of the life of Paul. Kim will be writing 4 lessons for our teams to use this summer. The lessons will cover different aspects of Paul's life and will include:
* Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus
* Paul and Silas in jail / conversion of the Philippian jailer
* The shipwreck on the way to Rome
* Paul's sermon to King Agrippa ("Almost thou persuaded me to become a Christian")
Anyone that is interested in working with the VBS this year needs to bring props, costumes, etc, that can be used for these lessons. Many churches have a wealth of stuff that we might be able to use. Remember that props have to pack in suitecases so a 8' Roman spear probably is not going to pack very well!
We are going to be designing coloring book pages to go along with the Bible lessons. We will be in need of a LOT of crayons for VBS. If you have a chance, check with local restaurants in your area. Many times they have pre-packaged crayons that they give children. Last year Steve Kemp went to a Shoneys near his house and had 2 cases of crayons donated. We will also be giving out coloring pages and crayons at hospitals, schools, and orphanages, so the more the better! We have a terrific 50 page coloring book with Spanish Bible verses that was written and illustrated by a student at Freed-Hardeman University last year that we will be using again. We will have the coloring book printed up and we will assemble it and staple it once we are on the mission trip.
Continue your supply collections. Although I still do not know about shipping details, we are collecting the following items:
Band aides (all sizes)
Shampoo (especially baby shampoo)
Children's vitamins (chewable)
Pencils, pens, and markers
Infant and children's shoes
Infant and childrn's clothes
As we have reached the midway point of February, we are now 114 days from the Costa Rica mission trip and 129 days from the Honduras mission trip. That might seem like a long time, but trust me when I say it is going to pass quickly and there is a lot to do before it is time to leave! Hasta luego mi amigos, Dios te bendiga! Reinados de Dios!