What do you get when you have eager participants from 3 churches & 2 families, a town full of kids & youth, and non-stop energy & enthusiasm . . . TRANSFORMED LIVES! For a week in July, we had 10 people from Mission Hills church join us, along with 9 people from the church in Las Varas, the Hernandez family and ours join Pastor Oswaldo and his family in the town of Mazatan.
Our purpose was to bring enthusiasm, encouragement, and ministry tools to Pastor Oswaldo and his church. The team from Las Varas led the GameLife Kids Camp, which we had every morning. This is so exciting because it was only last year that another Mission Hills team was here training the Las Varas crew in GameLife and now they are leading and training another church. Through games, crafts, snacks, bible stories, and songs the life of Jesus came to life for the 60-70 children that participated.
Each afternoon, the youth from our group and the youth of Mazatan joined together and played soccer, basketball, and volleyball. The Americans even taught the others to play football and ultimate frisbee. WOW, the competition was tough but also very amiable. It was a great time to get to know each other and sweat alot. Knowing our chances of losing the soccer match, we proposed that the loser provide dinner for the winners. So after the game, we brought hot dogs to the field, which were enjoyed by everyone. Amazing times spent building relationships, exerting alot of energy, and loving on each other.
One evening we showed the movie "God is Not Dead" in the plaza and invited the whole town. It was a good turn out and the kids went crazy when the bags of popcorn turned up.
As the youth gathered throughout the week, it was decided that on Thursday afternoon everyone would adventure on a hike to the local waterfall. Upon arrival at the waterfall, the attendance was quite low, but then a whole crowd showed up late after the local soccer team returned from an extra long tournament. What an encouragement! Here is where Pastor Oswaldo shared his story of how God transformed his life from when he was a youth in Mazatan until now. This was significant because many of the youth gathered didn't know this side of Oswaldo, only their parents were familiar with his story because they had lived it with him. So now a new generation was aware of how God changed the direction of his life. It was a powerful time!
Our last night was a family celebration held in the church. We had invited all of the children from the GameLife Kids Camp to invite their families to come to the church for dinner, slideshow, song presentation from the kids, and a message from Pastor Oswaldo. WOW, it was a packed house with overflow into the street. Oswaldo was moved to tears as this many people hadn't gathered in the church for many years.
The blessings of this trip were many. Most importantly, experiencing the joy and reward of working amongst an international team from 4 different churches. Although there are stumbling blocks and awkward moments to work through, the benefits are remarkable. Working, cooking, playing, worshipping, camping, learning, and understanding side by side compares to no other. Another blessing was seeing the transformation in Oswaldo's spirit, from discouraged and worn to renewed and exhilarated. His daughter now hopes to host weekly treks to the waterfall with other youth in town. Oswaldo is planning on hosting GameLife meetings for the children of Mazatan.
|Top row, left to right: Pastor Oswaldo, Pastor Rafael (Las Varas), and Chuck|