The month of August began with our Women’s team from Tallahassee, FL. The team carried out education and counseling for new moms and teen girls. We were extremely encouraged to see a very large group of teen girls who attended each night and we were able to provide great education on a variety of topics including health education, something which we have discovered is not covered well in the schools, if it is even mentioned at all. We gave the girls a chance to write down questions and it was so apparent that there are a lot of gaps in their understanding of what is taking place in their bodies and what God’s plan is for sex. So we were happy we could address these topics with the girls.
Another positive outcome of this group was conversations with several of the women from the community who gave us recommendations for upcoming teams. One plan we have is to improve education about communication between teens and their parents, and a move away from giving away items when teams are here. Although we have felt very blessed by the amounts of donations we have received from the women’s teams, our fear is that we are not sending the correct message to the community by giving away so many items when groups are here, so we will try to improve in this area. We are already making preparations for our October women’s team and I know the lessons we learned with that team will be communicated to the October team leaders. As far as scheduling is concerned, I feel as though we have improved immensely in the flow during the week and the quality of the interactions between the teams and the women from the community. I look forward to working more with these groups.
Our weekly Women’s group is going very well. We have been maintaining a constant attendance each week and we are seeing so many improvements in the community within the women’s group. Nathaly and I organized a Mother’s Day dinner for the women of the community. We organized different games with prizes and the women had a great time. We also organized some special music so the women could worship together. It has been so special to see this group really growing as a community of believers. We have seen a lot of improvements in the attitudes of many of the women and we are encouraged by leaders who have developed within this group.
Attendance for the tweens group has steadily increased. Last week we had almost 45 tweens! We made the decision to open the group to 11-year old’s as well because we felt that due to the grade in school the 11-year old’s should be in the same ministry group as their classmates. These children had been showing a decreased interest in our “children’s” activities so we feel as though we made the correct decision by adding them to the tweens group.
I have continued working with my discipleship group. It is a constant struggle due to the different elective schedules at the school, but we are starting to get into more of a rhythm. We had a really nice group where we talked about prayer and I was encouraged to see the girls treat the topic with a lot of respect and take time to pray silently without distractions.
The last weekend in August we were extremely excited to celebrate the weddings of 4 couples from the church. These couples had been living together for many years so it was amazing to see them make the long -term commitment to one another and to make a commitment with God to put Him first in their relationships. We are extremely encouraged because we feel as though these couples have so much potential to serve as the future leaders in the church. Nathaly and I spent a lot of time decorating and preparing music for the wedding and the couples were so happy we could have a special day for them.
We had some new volunteers during the month of August, so I helped with giving them an orientation to the mission and connecting them to the education and administration departments. I plan to continue to coordinate with the various volunteer organizations to ensure that the volunteers we receive are a good fit for the mission, and to ensure that we are utilizing them well while they are on campus.
Brian, Nathaly and I were able to attend a conference about missions a few weeks ago in San Jose. The pastor gave a wonderful message and we left the conference feeling rejuvenated and excited to continue to carry out God’s work in Bajo.