This past month in Palacaguina has been incredible because of 516 Now. Our hosts, through this ministry, have helped us immerse ourselves into their community and create life long bonds with the people. We were given the opportunity to work in a school, help with construction at a church, lead both Bible and English classes, help with the organization of child sponsorships and participating in the every day activities of the city. The community in Palacaguina has been overwhelmingly welcoming and loving. We felt that through our ministries and time in Palacaquina many of us were able to communicate through our broken Spanish or purely through our human interactions with mutual love and compassion for one another. In each different ministry our team has been able to take away much more than we thought. One take away that was communal within our team is how God’s love comes in many different physical and emotional connects. We have seen how being present.
While helping at the school each of us were welcomed with so many hugs and smiles. The teachers kindly welcomed all of us into their classrooms to help teach English as well as simply sit with the kids. The kids made an effort to make connections individually with everyone on our team and always wanted to involve us in all of their activities. Recess was one of the activities many of the girls on our team really enjoyed. We ran, laughed, jumped, hugged and smiled with all the kids. We not only were filled with amazing emotions ourselves, but were able to see the kids light up with smiles and laughs as well. We really enjoyed being able to make the kids laugh at our funny faces or give them piggy back rides. Many of us walked away with letters, stickers, and lots of pictures. The kids loved us all in different ways.
Construction was something that many of us really enjoyed and also had difficulty with. The physical work was something many of us were new too and had never done before. Within our time here doing construction we were given the chance to push ourselves and use our hands and strength for God. He gave us our bodies and we were able to see past our mental blocks of “I am tired” to “I can push and do more.” We were really gracious for all the people, young and old, who came out and helped or encouraged us as we worked. We met so many of the neighbors of the church and were greeted every morning with a wave or a smile. We were filled with so much love as we spent our last night in the church service. The church community poured so much love and prayers into us that many of us were taken back with emotions. We are so thankful and honored to have been apart of the their church. They told us we helped them so much but we also equally were helped by every single member of that church as well.
Bible and English classes were apart of our ministry that we all really enjoyed. Many of us had ideas that flourished in the walls of the church and brought smiles and knowledge to the kids. We were brought together as a team through our creative brainstorms in putting together our classes. We learned how to work as a team in involving everyone and giving everyone a fair chance to create. It filled our hearts being able to teach out the Bible.
Child Sponsorship was a new ministry for many of us. We were extremely touched being given the chance to walk around the town and gather information for kids needing sponsors. All of the families were so welcoming to us and invited us into their homes as we talked, took pictures and prayed over them. Our hearts were touched to pray over these families as they were vulnerable with us and were grateful for our help. We experienced smiles like nothing ever before when we saw how happy the kids were getting their pictures taken and being asked what their favorite color is.
The community in Palacguina has been so loving to us and encouraging. They involved us in so many activities including volleyball, Bible Day Celebration, and many birthday celebrations! We felt beyond loved walking around the town and in every store we were graciously helped. We made friends with our taxi driver and within our language barrier we were able to laugh and bond with him. We fell in love with this town and every single person we talked to, or passed in the streets. It has been a blessing to serve and grow in this community and we are thankful for all the love and support. We pray that God watches over Palacaquina and all of HIs people.
World Race Team (Palacaguina, September 2019)