Saturday, July 28, 2007

Goodbye: Morning Site

We only had four days with the people at our VBS sites. Even in just those four days, though, we connected extremely well with the people there, and made great relationships. As such, Thursday was a very difficult day, saying goodbye to everyone. Our group felt especially at home and welcome at our first site. The pastor there is named Bernardo. He really has a cool testimony that I'll put up later.

Anyway, for this day of goodbyes, Bernardo had planned to follow the VBS program with a fellowship time for us and the kids. For most of the morning his wife was gone, most likely making us lunch. Even while he was there, he was working on something else. We actually did a pretty good job of leading lots of the VBS, though. Once his wife came back, he left to go get ice cream for us. After the VBS program was finished, they served both us and the kids lunch made up of some kind of chicken salad. They also had cookies and ice cream for dessert for all of us. After eating and spending some more time with the kids, he hadus present certificates he had made for the kids that attended. At the end of that, he gave each of us a nice certificate to thank us for coming.

After all of that, it was time to actually say goodbye. It was hard, really hard. A couple of us from my group got to know Bernardo quite well and we talked to him a lot. Both he and his wife are amazing people. They are extremely generous, giving sacrificially to those in need. It's a wonderful change from the materialistic culture of the United States. They also love God very, very much. They trust Him foreverything, and He always gives them what they need. Whenever we would thank Bernardo for anything, he would always immediately say instead, "Thanks be to God."

The bright side to how hard it was to say goodbye is that we did form long-lasting relationships. Hopefully we can continue to partner with Bernardo's church and give encouragement, even from the States. Besides that, several of us are hoping that it can work out to return next summer to visit the churches we worked with. I firmly believe that if we have faith, just like Bernardo does, God will work out a way for us to return there next summer. Even if it seems unlikely, with God, all things are possible.

Picture 1: Saying goodbye to Bernardo and his wife.

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