VBS and Donations

Tecate Travel Blog

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pink flower
I used my cell phone alarm this morning so I woke up to the vibrations at 5:30.  The highlight of breakfast this morning were the breakfast burritos with all their possible toppings/dippings.  We rolled out to the worksite closer to 7 this morning than yesterday.  Set-up ran into a small hitch when the arts and crafts crew discovered some church people in the front room working on a task probably related to the donations that afternoon.  With a little bit of translating from me, we quickly realized that they were just finishing up, and we would have the space soon.  The kids would be working on making some pouches so the ladies wanted to make sure they were set up before the kids arrived.  A few children were already waiting down below though.
Emily signing in some girls
  Since today was donations day, families were already beginning to line up on the road below the church.
Some of these children would come up to VBS this morning while others stayed in line during the sign-up period, so we started with fewer kids than yesterday.  I introduced today's theme of how God cares and loves for each of us and then we broke up into our stations.
Today the lesson was still taught just outside the shed but the kids had tables to sit at instead of on the ground.  The furniture crew had worked hard yesterday and now we had about four new kitchen tables ready for distribution the next day.  For today we would borrow them.  I read the story of how God had used Joseph to provide for the people when the time of famine came.
donations line
  This story led into the message that God cares for us and loves us despite our sins.  He provided for the physical needs of the people in Joseph's time, and He has provided for the spiritual needs of people with His son.  This was the hardest lesson of the three days for me to teach, and I definitely found myself wishing that Pastor Joey had been able to make the trip, but I believe the words were there for the kids to hear, the message basic but there.
As we moved into snack time, we began to notice a swelling in the number of kids at the station.  We started to put two and two together: the lesson station/shed was in view of the donations line.  The kids saw the food and wanted a snack too.  The group leaders spent a lot of time at my station putting colored bands on kids' wrists and filling out nametags.
pouches drying
  I don't know how many kids we had that day at VBS but I do know that  we passed out all 200 juiceboxes.  Some kids had more than one, others took one for family members in the line, but we ran out of drinks.  The snack--vanilla animal crackers shaped like Pooh Bear and friends--were also popular, so much that when I trekked back down to the shed to close up after the end of VBS, I had a swarm of kids asking for more.  Just when I started to wonder how I would get out of being surrounded, a woman appeared at the etnrance of the shed, asking for help.  Another woman had passed out in the sun in the line.  I left the shed to find the medic, but by the time we had found him, the woman had been moved.
I spent the afternoon helping with donations.
one of the babies
  Famlies would come in to the main level of the church and sit down in folding chairs.  One of us workers would come up and ask for the shoe sizes (las tallas) and try to find a pair of shoes for the child or parent.  While we had a lot of shoes, we unfortunately were limited on sizes and types.  Many people wanted tennis shoes but for the women, we only had tennis shoes up to size 6; after that it was only sandal-type shoes.  We ran out of many of the bigger sizes.  Another issue was the fact that the sizes they would tell us did not match the sizes on our shoes (different country=different sizing).  While we solved that problem by just borrowing the person's shoe for a minute and holding it up to a shoe from a pile, it still caused some confusion.
one of the houses
  Families also received the bags of food and were able to look at the smaller piles of clothing, make-up, toys, and first aid supplies.  (One of the mornings at VBS we had passed out toothbrushes and toothpaste to some of the kids; now we had Band-aids, neosporin, and other items available.)
It was this afternoon that I realized for the first time that I can speak Spanish.  Now this may sound funny (I do teach Spanish after all!) but I have always been insecure about my speaking skills  because I have never been immersed in the language.  I studied hard in school but a classroom is nowhere close to the real thing.  This afternoon as other workers called on me to translate, as I spoke with the families to meet their needs, I was in Spanish for the first time in a very long time.
another flower on the ranch
  I was able to help, to use a language that 14 years ago was only a new interest.
Around 4:00 we had finally run out of shoes, clothing, seeds, toys, baby bottles, and the other items available.  I had also lost my water bottle at some point and was beginning to feel a bit tired.  However, when Kira suggested taking a short walk to see how the houses were coming along, I agreed.  My activities had kept me at the church nearly the whole time, and I was eager to see our group's progress on the four homes.  Two of the houses were in great shape, the roofs up.  Two other homes were going to need a lot of work on Saturday.  Kira and I helped with a little bit of clean-up at one home and then started back to the church.  Josh stopped his truck on the way and told us that if we wanted to get back to the ranch soon, we needed to catch the bus quickly; the next one wouldn't leave for another hour.
test tasting during a skit
  Appreciative of his advice, we didn't dawdle and got on the crowded bus.  Later we found out this move had been a lucky one; this bus was the last bus back from the valley.  Several members of the group got left behind, and the trucks had to go back for them!
Unaware of these happenings, back at the ranch, I got another not-freezing shower and then enjoyed dinner.  I believe tonight was burger night.  Krista was helping serve and when I requested my cheeseburger with bacon, she replied that I needed to order in Spanish.  "Una hamburguesa con queso y tocino!" I replied and got my food.
The evening's entertainment involved a Spam toss (like an egg toss only smellier) just outside the Warehouse.
one of the boxes auctioned off
  One of our boys with a guy from another church did very well; they were runners-up.  Following the Spam toss and round-up of the day, the different teams brainstormed and performed skits involving Spam.  These skits varied from a Spam-Wow! commercial to a cooking competition to a singing performance of "Amazing Spam."  The evening wrapped up with an auction.  There were five boxes on the stage.  Each one had cooking supplies for a family.  The different church groups bid on the boxes, our money going to pay for the supplies and Club Dust in general.
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pink flower
pink flower
Emily signing in some girls
Emily signing in some girls
donations line
donations line
pouches drying
pouches drying
one of the babies
one of the babies
one of the houses
one of the houses
another flower on the ranch
another flower on the ranch
test tasting during a skit
test tasting during a skit
one of the boxes auctioned off
one of the boxes auctioned off
cactus
cactus
eating pavilion
eating pavilion
hazy hillside
hazy hillside
practicing before the Spam toss
practicing before the Spam toss
Tyler in the Spam toss
Tyler in the Spam toss
Tecate
photo by: diisha392