Today was our first full day of camp and so the bus ride was mixed with prayer, preparation and a bit of nervous anticipation. We came rumbling up the dirt road to make the turn into Ruby Ranch only to see about 30-40 kids waiting at the entrance off the main road. We were a bit stunned as (1) this meant we had to hit the ground running and (2) we never start with such a big crowd ready to go when we actually say camp is going to start.
These are brand new kids to us (minus a few) from the El Caimito community, which is on our drive in before we arrive to Las Parcelas. It’s quite a hefty walk for them to get to the Ranch. The kids were a bit apprehensive on arrival, but they adjusted quickly. And as we gathered our numbers eventually swelled to 60! We all had our hands full trying to keep them moving in the right direction with their groups (especially 17 in the little boys group)!
But what a picture of the body of Christ at work as our students ran their stations (art, Bible, English, sports and music). As a part of mission training this summer, many hours were invested in supply lists and lesson plans and today was the day to make it all happen. We have such a talented group of students and it is always amazing to me just to watch them do the work of the ministry. Each has a significant role to play and I get to enjoy watching them serve while simple keeping the camp schedule going!
Seeing these children’s eyes light up with new friendships, experiences, activities and fun is such a blessing. Needless to say, Ruby Ranch is a special place and we are so humbled to be a part of this ministry and to offer them a respite and some excitement from their ordinary life.
After we fed the kids lunch, we packed up camp and began construction. One of our bigger projects this trip is installing 5 PVC designed water fountains for the camp. So that meant trenching dirt today. Many from our team were having flashbacks to two years ago where we dug and trenched the whole mission to lay the water mains all around the camp. So we were back digging… in search of those mains to tie into in order to run lines for the water fountains. So it was some tedious, hot work as the first foot of ground is like concrete. And while most were working on digging, a few were prepping the sports court for painting tomorrow. This required some Nicaragua style pressure washing (where we are the washer, of course).
I’m encouraged by the unity of this team already and also their hunger for God. In fact, in our team time at night, we are focusing on just that – what does it look like to long for God’s presence and be captivated by His awe. It can be tough to come together for an hour in God’s Word and then move to small groups after a long day, but this team is doing great. We are grateful to God for His presence and provision for this team and for each of you for standing with us in prayer!