St Paul UMC- August 2, 2017- Steve Dickson

What an amazing first 24hrs. After some delayed flights, our team arrived after 10pm to Santiago. We were greeted by Sarah, Pastora, family, drivers and a few others. We were taken to the pastora’s home for a late dinner and to be welcomed by even more smiling faces. By the time we got back to our sleeping facility, had a devotion and got our schedule for the morning, it was well past midnight…can’t say I was excited to be up and ready for a 7:15 devo.
Sarah shared with our tired teenagers a wonderful devotion speaking about our bodies as temples and how to properly use them to serve God, and who His love to others. We then loaded up the van and headed off to Cuesta Arena, with a quick stop at Pastora’s house for breakfast. I was fortunate enough to ride with Pastora and got an impromptu tour of Santiago and got to see her church and hear the history of the three sisters and the butterflies. Once we arrived at Cuesta Arena we were greeted by dozens of smiling faces, just as excited and curious to see us as we were to see them.  

We sang a couple songs, which I knew none of the words to or any of the hand motions, but I’m sure the kids enjoyed my fumbling. We then broke up into several groups and the Dominican children got to dress our missionaries in toilet paper for a fashion show, something they seemed to enjoy greatly. After the judging of the best outfit, we broke up into groups, with the younger teens/preteens heading downstairs and the older teens hanging out upstairs. Each group dove deeper into the body is a temple theme and had some important instruction from Sarah and Kendys.

We then broke for a quick lunch downstairs and allowed the children to head home to eat as well. The afternoon was filled with a combination of volleyball, very competitive, and laughing little ones chasing our teenagers all over the school. Its moments like these that I truly love and really feel God’s presence. Two people with no words to use to communicate are able to spend hours laughing and playing and really build a bond and a relationship that for some of them will last years and years with each subsequent trip. 

After saying our goodbyes at the school, we got to visit the hardware store for some supplies, a unplanned trip to the baseball stadium, an unplanned trip to the basketball arena, another great dinner at Pastora’s, before finally heading back here to La Islita to debrief, shower, and now play some games before a hopefully much earlier bed time.  

It really has been an amazing first 24hrs and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us over the next six days.

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