Today, we spent all day at La Aljaba with the kids. If you are not familiar with the orphanage, they have about 25 kids that stay at the home full time. An additional 65 come to La Aljaba for basic needs, i.e. food, tutoring, and biblical teaching. Half of the kids go to school in the morning, then they come to La Aljaba in the afternoon. The other half stays at La Aljaba in the morning, then they go to school in the afternoon.
Jeff and Jeremy saw approximately 25 kids that needed dental attention today. Overall, the children’s teeth looked great, which is a blessing! In fact, Ezequiel, a 10-year-old that had major development issues, received a great report from Jeff. It is encouraging to see Ezequiel developing in every area of his life. The only dental issue the guys had was with 6-year-old Marianna. She had a tooth that needed to come out, but she would have no part of it. We’ll try again tomorrow.
While the dental ministry was going on, the Bellevue Team was leading a day of VBS surrounding the story of the Good Samaritan. In addition to the worship music, each group of kids put on a play acting out the story. The kids also participated in various craft activities.
In between dental exams and VBS, we played extremely, and I mean extremely hard, with the kids. As expected, the dodge ball competition got a little out of hand, as Jeff and Jeremy again had the kids calling the Hogs pre-game. Right before we began the first game, an Amazonian storm blew in complete with thunder and lightning. At the first sign of lightning, the gringos went running for shelter. When we made it to our nice little comfort zone, we turned around to see the kids looking at us bewildered from the court. We quickly learned that a little lightning does not scare Amazonian children. As we stood there under the shelter looking at the kids, someone broke the silence and said, “should we go?” I am proud to say that the gringos “manned-up” and played through the lightning storm. We told the kids we weren’t scared but needed hydration before the competition began 🙂
Tonight, we hung out with the kids, watched a movie, and ate pizza and popcorn. To sit among the kids, watching them interact with each other and with the Americans is special. We each have different children that have literally stolen our hearts. Whether it is Kimberly’s smile that makes you feel as if you have known her all your life, Tamara’s quiet demeanor that makes you want to hug her, or Robin’s curiosity about all things American, they each are special children created by our God. We can’t take away what there little eyes may have seen before La Aljaba, but we can give them a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ this week.
Yesterday, I mentioned that one of our prayers was to “be Jesus to the kids.” Well, another one of our prayers prior to leaving Fayetteville was that we would be one with the Bellevue team so that we might be a picture of the Gospel to the kids. Our team has joined hands with our brothers and sisters in Christ and created an awesome week with the kids.
It is extremely difficult to capture what La Aljaba is like in a blog. Yes the home meets basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. And yes, the kids are daily getting solid biblical teaching from passionate followers of Jesus. Combine the physical care with the spiritual teaching, and the result is a home where God is being glorified. Never get the idea that La Aljaba is a boring place with unhappy children. Quite the opposite. La Aljaba is full of joy, laughter, and a biblical community that can’t be explained with words. We come to minister to the kids, and we walk away changed forever by the relationships established.
Tomorrow, we are back at La Aljaba completing the dental work. In addition, in the afternoon, we are going to Pastor Julio’s church, a local church that partners with La Aljaba, to hold a dental clinic. In between clinics, we will be rebuilding a massive wooden playset with the help of the kids.
Thanks for praying.