Sunday, July 24, 2016
This is the day I had been excitedly awaiting: getting to meet the children of Planet Kids! We arrived at the warehouse at 8 AM and had a time of worship and prayer as a team before the children began to show up. We were able to have this prayer time each morning, which I really appreciated as it allowed me to start the day off focusing on God and giving thanks for this wonderful opportunity he had given me.
After our devotion time we readied ourselves for the children. The garage door rolled up and then the buses began to arrive. Each bus was crammed full of children (standing room only!), and as they began to pour in we saw the surprise and delight in their sweet little faces as they realized that a huge group of “gringos” (Americans) were there to greet them! Our team lined up on both sides of the entrance and we were able to welcome each child with an “hola!” and a huge hug. Some were shy, but most of them beamed up at us in absolute delight at the attention. I have always had a soft spot for children, but these children in particular stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on them. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, we were still able to communicate through the sharing of love and affection.
After the children arrived (there were several hundred, easily), we got to participate in their worship time with them. I have never seen such energy in one room! They sang, danced, jumped, and ran around worshipping the Lord. I’m normally fairly reserved when it comes to that sort of thing, but I had no qualms about dancing along with them – though I am sure I looked absolutely ridiculous!
In addition to a medical team, our missionary group also consisted of construction and evangelism teams. The evangelism team was able to go out into local schools are share the gospel with children, perform shows for them, as well as give out things like hygiene bags, clothes, shoes, etc. The team had practiced some Spanish songs and dances and were able to perform for the children on this day. It was so sweet and amusing to watch their reactions to our singing and dancing. Click here for a little peak of some of the performance.
After worship there was a time of teaching for the children, then they broke into four large groups and sat in circles on the floor. We then got to serve them a yummy lunch of spaghetti and meatballs. They were so polite, nearly all of them remembered to thank us – some even thanking us in English! I loved every moment of serving these precious children.
After the children were fed, we moved outside the warehouse to witness the baptism of some teenagers who attend Planet Kids. There were 12 in all who were baptized, and one of our church’s pastors as well as two other Assemblies of God pastors on the team were able to perform the baptisms. It was such a special thing to witness! After each baptism the Guatemalan pastor and everyone present would burst into song. I couldn’t tell you what the words of songs were, but I could most definitely feel the joy in their voices as they all rejoiced together!
After the baptisms, we handed out bags of beans and rice to each of the families who were present. We had a short lunch break while the children and their families headed home, then we got right to work and opened up the clinic for the remainder of the day. We saw somewhere between 150-200 patients in the roughly 4 hours the clinic was open. I was a little apprehensive upon learning that two of the children, a brother and sister, with whom I had been cuddling that morning, had very severe cases of head lice. All I could do was hope and pray that the little buggers jumping off their heads didn’t make their way onto mine! Even if I did end up with lice, I told myself, it was a small price to pay for the reward of being able to help these families who so desperately need medical care and medication.
When we closed up the clinic for the day we then headed to a restaurant called Skillets where we enjoyed a delicious dinner of a burger and fries. I found it humorous that we traveled all the way to Central America just to eat American food, but it was good nonetheless. When we returned to the hotel I hopped in the shower to scrub my hair (even though I knew it wouldn’t get rid of the lice, if I had it), and then headed to a teammate’s room to have my head checked. I was quite grateful that she had thought to bring a lice comb! Thank the Lord I didn’t have any sign of them, but I plan on continuing to periodically check over the next month (the life cycle of lice is 28 days). After getting the all-clear I was able to collapse in bed and sleep in peace without picturing tiny creatures creeping about my skull. 🙂 Before nodding off, I gave thanks for the many children I was able to interact with that day – even the ones with lice.
To read about Day 4, click here.