Today you get another special treat, entries from other TORCH-ers about their day! Without further ado, I give you some great stories from two awesome people.
Every year before I leave to Honduras, my youth pastor says just a few words that ring in my head the entire trip “Leave it all there, and give your 100%.” As today was our last day of work, these words were on my mind more then usual. Last night, when Ken announced the options for our final day of work, I immediately thought I would go to Didasko because it is one of the coolest places on Earth, and the kids there just hold your heart for a lifetime. However, God had a different plan for me this day. I began to think about how comfortable I would be if I went to Didasko, and I didn’t really like the idea of that because I know that God can do big things when you step outside of your comfort zone. I kept thinking about what my youth pastor said to me and I wanted to give everything that I possibly could have on this last day of work. So I began to pray about it and although the idea of going to the Special Needs orphanage scared me, I truly felt that it was the Lord’s will for me to go there. Walking in I felt completely vulnerable and out of place, but as soon as we saw those kids all the feelings of discomfort quickly left me. Our awesome team immediately began loving on some really really neat kids. We all worked together to make sure each and every child there had a stuffed animal, and most importantly a smile on their face. We blew up ballons and tossed them back and forth, played with puppets, bubbles, helped the workers with feeding them lunch, and my personal favorite- Wheelchair races! Even though many of the children there have very limited movement, they still caught on to all of our games, and worked their hardest to do their best. It was so cool to see those kids that are constantly in pain forget all of those feelings and have a day filled with fun with us. As we prepared to leave the orphanage we said a prayer over them, and several of us including myself were moved to tears. It was such a wonderful opportunity to go there today to share the love and hope we have found in Jesus to the kids there. I think I can speak for all of us on the team and say that we will be forever touched by the kids we interacted with today.
-Jessica Nivens, The Florida Keys group
I haven’t ever been to a children’s home, so I didn’t have a clear image in my head about what I was expecting. We pulled in to Didasko to see a huge playground in front of a building. When we got off the bus we carried some pizza into the building, along with some ingredients for homemade ice cream. We had lunch with the kids while some of the ladies began getting the ice cream ready. After they had eaten their pizza, the kids there began playing with some stickers that some people had brought with them. There were a dozen or so kids, and they all had a blast trying to get the stickers on us without us realizing. Once we caught on, we began putting stickers on them, and it turned into a sticker war. Eventually that died down and we were able to bring the food in to fill their almost-empty pantry. We also carried the parts in for a big drum set that was donated to the kids. Some people began setting up the drums, some started playing soccer, and some played with the kids on the playground.
After a while, the rest of the Torch team showed up and we all played around with the kids. There were multiple games going, with all the kids having a blast. Then a piñata was brought out and all the kids crowded around waiting for their turn to swing a stick at the candy-filled kitten. When it finally exploded, the kids all had a great time going after the candy as it scattered.
All in all, everyone seemed to have a great time, from the kids to the workers to the Torch team. We all felt uplifted by each other.
-Riley Bowers, The Alliance
The last day with a group is bound to bring some sadness. We've all had a great time serving the Lord together and we hate to see it come to an end. Our night was concluded with a devotional given by Mark Connell. Unfortunately, we weren't able to have it at the Jesus statue like we had hoped, but lucky for all you viewers back home, you can go watch it and see for yourself how great it was. He gave us all a new perspective on the passage in Matthew 25 about the sheep and the goats. I encourage you all to have open hearts when you listen to what Mark had to say. Tomorrow we will be eating breakfast together and then sending everyone off to the airport about 8:30 or 9. Those of us that are staying will then have less than 2 days to recover before the next group comes in! I'm excited to see what God has in store for us all, but mostly for Brandy to be here so you have someone new to hear from every day ;)
I love you with the love of the donkey,