Saturday, May 28, 2011
Sometimes it's hard to know how to draw out the story of the trip. Here are some suggested questions for probing deeper as you try to understand a team member's experience in Puerto Rico.
-Mary and Sarah
Suggested Questions for Parents/Friends
1. What was the biggest highlight of your trip?
2. What was the hardest thing you faced on your trip?
3. What did that hard experience teach you?
4. What things surprised you the most?
5. Do you feel like you were prepared for your trip?
6. If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
7. Do you have any regrets?
8. What was the food like?
9. Where did you sleep?
10.Tell me about the people you met and ministered to.
11.Did you connect with anyone that you might keep in touch with?
12.Did you get a chance to share your faith?
13.Does your view of the world and your life look any differently now?
14.Do you see Jesus any differently now?
15.Did you see anything gross?
16.Did you get sick?
17.What was the scariest thing you experienced?
18.What was the weirdest thing you ate?
19.What was the church you worked with like?
20.How was their form of worship different from ours?
21.Did you get a chance to meet anyone's practical needs?
22.Was there ever a time that you really felt like God was directing you?
23.What was the funniest thing you experienced?
24.How did you work out any differences you had with your team?
25.What was it like in the evenings? What did you do?
26.What were your worship times with your team like?
27.Did you miss me?
28.Did you pack enough stuff?
29.Did you really miss me?
30.What was the weather like?
31.Did you cry when you thought about me because you missed me?
32.Would you ever want to go back?
33.Do you think you would consider being a full-time missionary?
34 What was the biggest thing you saw God do?
35 .Do you think you'll go on a short-term mission trip again?
36. What's going to be the toughest thing about being home now?
37. Do you think anything will change with your friends that weren't on the trip?
38.Do you think you have changed in any way? How?
39.Is there anything you smelled on your trip that you'll never forget?
40. Are you tired?
41.Has this changed anything in your relationship with Jesus?
42.What were some of the ways you ministered on your trip?
43.Did you get to share your story of how you met Jesus with anyone?
44.Did you get any ideas of how you could minister here at home?
45.Was there anything you saw that just broke your heart?
46.Did you give anything away?
47.Is there anything you HAVE to do this week after experiencing what you did?
48.Was there ever a time you felt completely out of control in a situation?
49.What's the number one thing you are thankful for?
50.Did you catch yourself praising God for things? Like what?
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Dearest friends, family, and other support groups,
We are just past our mid trip point, and Mary and Sarah wanted to give you an update. We've been so blessed by the staff at ESD, and the kids are wonderful! We're growing so fond of each child's quirks and little personalities. The youngest boys (Gaby, Saul, and Mizael) are fascinated by the men on our team, and eagerly follow them around attempting to learn how to paint, mop, and do yardwork. Here’s a taste of what we’ve experienced the last four days.
We focused on completing a long list of odd jobs. A few team members started the exterior painting, some worked inside classrooms, and others cleaned. Chelsea did a beautiful job restoring a wall that had been desecrated by the coqui frogs that lull us to sleep every night. There are at least three thousand of them in the grass surrounding our dorm. We’re positive.
We also finished sending out newsletters for ESD supporters and counting soup labels for them. While most worked to clean the staff’s apartments, chapel, and plan for graduation decoration, Sam and Abby had the opportunity to work in the classrooms with the students and also prepare curriculum for the next school year. When most of the cleaning was completed, we gathered in the kitchen to cut out soups labels the school collects and redeem for cash. (This is actually far more challenging and rewarding than it sounds! A few years ago, the school purchased their two 15-passenger vans with box top rewards!)
We woke up and walked to a local bakery. I think the people there are getting to know us pretty well. J After breakfast, we shared testimonies and a bible story in chapel and sang songs with the kids. They have iWorship dvds with lyrics, and the kids love to sign along. After chapel, we were blessed with real sunshine for the first time in a week. We took advantage of it by putting most of our effort toward external painting. Everyone pitched in, taking turns braving the high ladders, finishing detail painting, and coordinating the enthusiastic but less-than-professional efforts of a few kids who joined us. We celebrated the progress by spending some time at the beach that evening. Salt water works pretty well as paint thinner. J We made a trip to Subway for dinner, and then some of the team introduced Sam to the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Jackson told the story of Zaccheus in chapel, and the kids loved it. His communication skills and expressiveness had the kids and staff completely engaged. Jonathan and Austin worked outside on touch-up/detail painting, and all three boys led the charge to finish yardwork. We trimmed trees, hedges, weedwhacked and chainsawed everything possible until the rain started pouring again. Mary and Sam worked on perfecting English AND Spanish interpretation for the graduation speeches, and then Mary and Hannah continued their interpretation of Tangled for the kids. (We finished it today. Johanely cried.) Some of the girls went to get haircuts from a wonderful man who brings lunch to the school, teaches guitar lessons, and is also a hairstylist :) We went to see POTC 4, fully appreciating the fact that we were watching the film on location.
Praise for our wonderful team:
Sam: We are so thankfully for her endless willingness to step up to any tasks. She seems unfazed by requests ranging from helping cook tonight's dinner to being the Spanish interpreter for Tuesday's graduation. Sam has blessed our team in so many ways. She works without complaining or stopping. Her attitude of being willing to learn and work sets a good example for the rest of us to follow. (Her ASL skills are even better than before. We're so impressed with her perseverance and commitment to learn.)
Hannah is amazingly flexible and willing to help with a variety of tasks. Her cheerfulness and expressiveness have been so helpful as she offers to interpret, clean, and plan graduation decorations. She volunteers for all different types of jobs. Her boundless energy and willing heart have blessed us so much.
Allie: She has been such a blessing to this team. She's willing to take on any job, even the ones that are undesirable, and she does them to the best of her ability. The staff has already noticed and appreciated her eye for detail and organization. She's been assisting the staff's 86- year old librarian with organizing and labelling books. She has a sweet heart and is able to connect with the older workers easily.
Abby: Abby is another tireless worker. We can honestly say that she has gone above and beyond what is expected of her. She has volunteered for many tasks without any prompting. She has especially been attentive to chapel. She has led worship, told her testimony, and shared a Bible story with the students in the last 2 weeks. She is a wonderful example of a servant heart.
Jackson is a natural leader and a quick decision-maker. He's dedicated to our purpose here, and happily accepts big responsibilities like cooking and driving. We're so grateful that he's willing to drive that huge 15-passenger van, because both of us are terrified of the thought.
Chelsea has been pouring her energy into painting classrooms and other tasks. She's always ready for another adventure, and has been doing a wonderful job leading devotions with her partner Johanely. She gave her testimony yesterday in chapel, and made both her story and the gospel clear and relatable.
Austin is always enthusiastic and a hard worker. He and the rest of the boys have pushed themselves to their limits. Like Abby, he is first to volunteer for challenging and intimidating tasks. He has proven to be a spiritual leader concerned with keeping the gospel central to our mission.
Jonathan constantly encourages the team with his positive attitude. He lightens the mood and encourages other team members to stay committed. He is excellent at working with the kids and uses his drama skills to keep them entertained. He has been working tirelessly with the other boys to complete a large majority of the external painting.