What a bittersweet day we had today. It was our big camp ending day of fun and community… well, I’m not sure that was the official name, but you get the gist. We invited all the campers back out to Ruby Ranch, but we also encouraged them to invite their families to join the fun. We arrived to see families walking down the long dirt road together to get to the Ranch. And family by family they started to stream in.
We had a great day planned for them that started with some team competitions – dizzy bat, relay races and the giant tug of war. The kids had so much fun competing against each other. After our games, it was a free for all… bicycles, the playground, sports and so much more! Then lunch arrived and we all gathered for a bit of a closing ceremony if you will. Our campers came up front to sing one of the songs they learned this week. They also spoke Romans 6:23 which was their memory verse from Bible class. Then I had the opportunity to recap what we learned in Bible class from Luke 15 and share the Gospel with all those present. I gave the opportunity for child or adult alike to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. I am hopeful that many were not only exposed to the Gospel, but took the opportunity to respond.
After lunch, we surprised the kids with two big piñatas. This is a cultural phenomenon here unlike any in the States. The kids went crazy swinging away and then upon explosion – the kids AND parents went crazy collecting the candy. It was pandemonium to say the least, but boy was it fun!
It was then time for the moment our team (and Henry’s team) had worked so hard for – the christening of the new waterslide. This has been our primary construction project. We had just completed the tarp, sandbags and a new water feature for the new pool prior to lunch. So we cut it close but finished the work so it was ready to go. We even fired off some confetti canons to celebrate. The kids (and parents) had a blast on the slide and so did our team. It was awesome to see how popular this fun element is for Ruby Ranch.
After we were all worn out it was time to say ‘see you later’ (because we don’t believe in goodbyes). Camp was powerful. Camp build relationships. Camp built memories. So it is always bittersweet to see it end. But we will likely continue to see the kids in the area as we continue to serve in Las Parcelas.
After the majority of the kids were gone, we had a special team experience. First, we made the trek up to Chapel Hill. Literally an outdoor chapel up on the hill overlooking the Ranch and an expansive vista. It is such a special place to us as one of our teams years ago made the initial trek up the hill to start cutting down trees and clearing the space. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to share the Gospel up there each and every year. This year, it was just our team and I got to share a challenge as we looked at Galatians 6:14. We had a time of teaching, worship and prayer and then we headed back down. We were greeting with a massive bonfire and a cookout. This was a surprise for the team and the first time we stayed at Ruby Ranch at night. It is beautiful at night. We enjoyed one another and the dinner before heading back in to town.
God has been at work and we praise Him for that. We also continue to ask Him to use us each and every day.