I think our team really enjoyed our time there together, as our work there very quickly becomes a blessing to us, and the men there.
Our day started as they all do, breakfast, devotions, leave. On our way to the ranch, which is about an hour drive inland, into the hills, we stopped at wal-mart to pick up some gifts of toiletries for the men, some new volleyballs, as well as lunch - and the freshest donuts you can think of. The drive there was warm, bumpy, and largely uncomfortable - but all made worthwhile as we experienced our day together.
Our team was split into two, some were going to be weeding, others painting. The weeders were asked to clear a whole section of weeds - to help beautify the entrance. Sometimes tasks like these seem to be pointless, as in two weeks the weeds will all be back. However, as we talked tonight, around our fire, that the task really little significance. It's that we were asked to complete something, and we did, without asking questions. We just got our shovels, and scraped the land of the weeds. Yup, many of us developed some wonderful blisters, but we took joy in the work that brought them.
The painters painted the eating area of the kitchen - PINK. Our team leaders had taken white paint, but that wasn't what they wanted. They had some pink paint that they wanted to have mixed in - and so - no questions, we do what we're asked, and we painted a men's eating area pink. And they LOVED it. They were so proud to eat in their new colourful space!
And eat, we did. Hamburgers and Hot Dogs.
After lunch, we moved to the chapel, where we were going to share testimonies together. Three people from our team shared about their personal faith journeys and how serving God and growing in knowledge and love of Him has been a blessings. Two men from the ranch shared a little about what lead them to the Ranch, and how they've been experiencing healing - physically and spiritually!
Then, we all went outside, and found different people to pray for. This was pretty great, as so many of us, for the first time, prayed for others, around people we know. That's a pretty big stretch for some our students, and for a number of them - this prayer time was the highlight of their day!!
It's an absolute delight and honour to be with these students as they experience these moments. It's my prayer that they take what they are experiencing here, steps in vulnerability and boldness, into their lives at home. It's *relatively* easy to step out in places like this - not so hard at home, where people, friends and family, have all sorts of expectations and assumptions about our actions. So, we get the chance to see what we're capable of here, and accept the challenge of finding ways to live into those capabilities.
There's so much more that I want to write ... but our alarm clocks are set a little earlier than normal. 5.50am is the wake up call, as we have a 6.00am breakfast, and then at 6.30am, we're leaving to join the ministry called, Padre Chava, a meal distribution place, that feeds over 600 people breakfast.
Thank-you all for your support and your prayers.
Our students are in fact growing!
The kingdom of heaven is in fact being impacted!
scraping out the weeds.
just after they finished painting.
the volleyball court. now with grandstands!
lunch with the guys!