“This is the team that never ends, they just go on and on, my friend!” Seriously, after working for an entire week, morning until night, our last day in Anonos was full of extra projects and last minute efforts!! Due to some extra financial gifts to our team from New Lifers, we were able to buy and install new lights for the main church meeting space. The old light fixtures were made with coconut husks and birds had begun to steal the fibers for their nests, leaving the lights looking sad and messy! The new lights are beautiful and much-needed. It was a blessing to be able to offer such a gift! Thanks to Ed Wingo’s perseverance and electrical skill and Todd & Linda’s help!
The church also received a beautiful bookcase which needed new shelves! Steve & Jeff to the rescue- in just a few hours they used leftover lumber to make beautiful wooden shelves. They are like DIY magicians! The most amazing transformation this week might have been a rusty popcorn machine that we thought about restoring. Most of the guys just shook their heads, Rex & Jeff flat out calling it impossible!! But with a LOT of elbow grease, Saturday night brought fresh hot popcorn for the kids and a new ministry tool for the community!
At the same time, Sally & Mindy went to the Féria (street market, farmer’s market) to get some flowers for a Sunday school project and got some extra flowers for the church. They re-purposed the light baskets into flower pots and filled them with beautiful flowers. They also organized the Sunday school craft supplies and left many new materials & game supplies for the church.
I have a super-vague story to relate, while trying to keep those involved unnamed. Pastor David had misplaced an envelope of cash and assumed it was just gone. Someone found it and attempted to keep it, but another person spoke up and said that was wrong and they should return it. This person returned the lost money and this incident just shows a growth in character and a new spirit of truth in this community that is not often common. We were so encouraged to see this courageous act of honesty, especially as most people in this community can always use extra money and the temptation to keep it was very strong!!
After a city bus ride and a lonnnnnng walk to the artisan market for some sight-seeing & souvenirs, we ended our trip with a raucous game night filled with crazy Dutch Blitz, Todd & Sally smoking some kids in ping pong, much laughter & picture-taking and lots of good-byes! Good-byes are important in this culture and everyone enjoyed one last hug as the gringos time in Anonos came to an end! With social media, many relationships will continue, many folks will return to Anonos again & again, and friendships will be kindled even across the miles.
We spent some time talking about our trip, what did we learn, what stretched us, what was God teaching us? We’re all still processing those things, pondering them in our hearts. It is almost midnight Sunday night and our team will be landing at CMH, tired, happy, sad, confused, looking for our beans & rice for breakfast and listening for Spanish words! We know we’ve blessed this community with great love and joy - and we know they have blessed us with great faith & perseverance in hard situations. Thanks for your prayers and support in every way- I can’t remember a smoother, more pleasant trip with great projects completed and much important training & teaching shared and God’s presence and power very active and visible! Gracias Senõr!