It is very hard to put into words my experience at Ministerios de fela Vida Nueva. I went down there thinking and hoping I was going help the children who live there, make a difference in their lives. However, I think they touched my heart and changed my life more than anything I did for them. I look back at that week with a heart filled with joy.
The children and adults who live there love the Lord so much and it shows in all that they do. Even though I could not understand all that was said during our services, you could see their faces and hear in their voices how great is their love for God. One of the memories that stand out most in my mind is on our last night we were gathered in the church. Jeff, our group leader & my husband, wanted to get everyone’s attention so he started singing the song ‘Trading My Sorrows’. It didn’t take long and everyone had joined in, the song filled the building being sung in both English and Spanish at the same time. What an amazing sound! I thank God for blessing me with this experience.
Our group consisted of 17 individuals who traveled together to the Ministerios de fe la Vida Nueva. During the week we worked on a variety of projects. The first day a majority of our group worked on moving a fence. This project included removing barbed wire fencing, a lot of vegetation, fence posts and some tree stumps. The remainder of the week was spent on a variety of other projects.
A couple of people did some painting in the cottage where the missionaries stay. They painted in the main bathrooms, the small bedroom and the private bath. A few also worked on building a wardrobe for additional storage in cottage 1. The remainder of the group worked on digging 3 large holes for water cisterns next to each cottage which is the first part of an irrigation system. As a part of this project they had to move some water lines, move lots of dirt, form and pour cement pads and repair a portion of the sidewalk.
The remainder of our time was spent doing community outreach and playing children. We took a bus ride one morning up to Luma Alta, a village in the mountains near Azacualpa. We visited with local children and handed out coloring books, crayons & candy. Another afternoon we walked up into a nearby neighborhood and visited some of the families whose children attend the feeding program at the children’s home. We handed out coloring books, crayons, and candy to these families and others in that area.
An outreach close to many in our group was one we experienced in the middle of our week. On Tuesday afternoon Brenda, Dilla, Amy and I went to the homes of 6 children in the area who have Down syndrome, ranging in age from 5 to 14. During these visits we met and talked with the children and their families. We also invited them to come to the children’s home the next afternoon to meet as a large group. As a parent of a child with Down syndrome myself, it was wonderful to gather with the parents and be apart of the first time they all met. Many of the other adults in our group played with the children during the time the parents talked. We gathered information about each of the children and are working on creating a program with Dilla where each of the kids can come to the children’s home to get extra help with their education and socialize with other children.