|Boles Children's Home 2000|
We started out in Mt. Pleasant where we and the local youth group did yard-work and
some simple maintenance for the elderly in the congregation. Later that evening, after
our skit show, we had dinner and hung out with the youth at a bonfire.
Sunday afternoon we arrived at the children's home. The gals got to stay in a couple
of the cottages, but most of the guys stayed with the activities director who lived nearby.
Only Brad and I got to stay in a cottage. Besides playing with the children, our work
consisted of painting cottages and washing the windows. Jimmy and I volunteered to go help
maintenance pick up donated weight equipment in Arlington on Thursday. Little did we know
that the equipment was an entire Nautilus gym!! Consequently, we arrived back at the home
late at night thoroughly exhausted after moving about 10 tons on weights.
On Friday, we got a break from work and had a little fun. We got to ride on the zipline,
which is part of the ropes course for building confidence and teamwork in the children.
|Boles Children's Home 2001|
Much like last year's trip, we began in Mt. Pleasant and did similar work. Our work was a
great help to one lady who wrote a poem about us.
We once again arrived at the home on Sunday afternoon. We played with the children some
and had a cook-in where we played games with them.
Because Boles Home's maintenance department is very well funded and didn't need us
to do much, we drove into Dallas each day to work at Brian's House, a childcare center for
parents and children with AIDS. First, we cleaned and prepared the new building for
inspection so they could move the children from their old place. We also moved all their
supplies and equipment from the old building to the new facility. Next, we organized the
supplies in their storage room. Finally, we had the opportunity to play with the children
in the new facility on Friday.
|Costa Rica 2000|
Our journey began in Houston, were we stayed with Amanda Bluhm's family on Saturday night.
On Sunday after lunch we went to Houston Intercontinental Airport and flew from there
directly to San Jose, Costa Rica. At the airport in San Jose, we met up with Juan Gonzales,
the evangelist at the congregation in Cartago. We then traveled by bus to our hotel, the
Monday morning we traveled to the congregation's building which is located on a
hillside overlooking the city of Cartago. It is a small two-room tin building without any
utilities other than an outhouse. There we met some of the members while we worked. Over
the next three days, we completed a concrete sidewalk, repaired the barbed-wire fence
around the property, leveled an area of the hillside for future expansion, and fixed up
the classroom. Most of our meals were provided by the women of the congregation (Boy,
could they cook!!). On Wednesday and Friday evenings we assembled for worship and
encouragement in a family's house.
Thursday and Friday were days of tourism for our group. On Thursday we traveled to a
beach on the Pacific Ocean and played there all day. On Friday, we went to a rain forest
where we hiked down a hillside to a river, which we renamed "El Rio de David" because I
went swimming accidentally when I slipped on the rocks. Tuesday night, we also went
sight-seeing in Cartago where we saw the marketplace, an old burnt-out "haunted" cathedral.
Our daily commute to Cartago from San Juan was hampered by a large strike by
agricultural workers who blocked the roads into and out of Cartago. We had to walk about
a mile through the strike to where another bus could pick us up and take us the rest of
the way. Our main bus driver, Juan, was touched by our example and began to study the
Bible with Juan the evangelist.
As all trips must end, so does this one when we flew back to the States on Saturday.
|Magical Mystery Tour 2001|
This trip received its name because Brian Wilhite, our leader, would not tell us our
destination until a few days before we left. Our final destination was then revealed to be
a children's home in New Mexico. The first leg of our trip ended in Midland where we spent
the night before traveling on to Muleshoe, Heather's hometown, the following day. There
she joined up with us and we drove on to Clovis, New Mexico where we worked with the
college group at Eastern New Mexico University. On Saturday, we had a car wash on campus
with their group. We washed about fifty cars and three charter buses. We had a devotional
and hamburger cookout with them that night. Sunday, after lunch we traveled to the New
Mexico Christian Children's Home in Portales, New Mexico. We helped with the youth meeting
that evening in their gym. Our housing conditions consisted of the girl's unfurnished
duplex and the guy's "musty farmhouse", which was actually a fully-furnished duplex
(it even had satellite TV!) for use by house parents on relief.
Monday morning we woke up, ate breakfast with the children, and saw them off to school.
Then we met at the administration building to begin work on the roof. Over the next week
we stripped all the old shingles off the roof and laid tarpaper out for the shingles to be
placed on. We played with the children in the evening, after their chores were done.
On Friday, we began our journey home, but with a few stops along the way. First up
was the infamous Roswell, New Mexico, where we visited the International UFO Museum And
Research Center. Next, we went on a tour of Carlsbad Carverns. These stops were in keeping
with the "mystery" theme of the trip. We spent the night in Midland once again and returned
home the following day.
I was called to lead a group of eight – of
which only two spoke Spanish fluently. Faby, who is from Venezuela, served as our guide.
The first week we went to an youth
convention in a city called Maracay. We befriended several of the locals at this convention who we worked with later in our trip. At the convention we had daily Bible studies and singing. The singing was amazing! The last day of the camp, Saturday, we climbed a small mountain (or a rather large hill) which was located right behind the camp and sang in both Spanish and English on top. After worshiping with them on Sunday morning, we rode a bus back to Barquisimeto with the youth from that congregation.
We then traveled to the city of Yaritagua
for a one week campaign with the Barquisimeto congregation (60-70% of which are young people).
We all stayed in a large two room building which was used for nightly Bible studies. We slept
on mats on the floor, shared one shower, and a toilet with no seat which was manually flushed.
But these conditions were nothing to us because of the rich soil for the Lord we found there.
Many of the people we talked to as we went door-to-door did not have a Bible to read and were
very open to Bible study. We went out in groups of two or three and studied everywhere
- from porches to livingrooms, streetcorners to gardens.
One lady we studied with, Beatrice, lived
in a 10'x12' one-room house with her husband and her two young children. We sat on the wall
around her garden and spoke the gospel to her. Her hunger for the Word was amazing! She expressed
interest in being immersed into Christ, but there was no place nearby so she told us she would
bring her husband to the study that night because he always wants to study the Bible whenever
he can. They did not come that night because they are poor and lived a long walk from the building
we were staying in, but we bought them some groceries and a Bible. When we dropped these gifts
off, she had a smile which stretched from ear to ear, and a study was set up with her husband
on Tuesday, his day off.
Half the time we never reached the area
we were assigned, but God led us to the people who needed Him and whose hearts were ready for
Him. On one street, we studied with a lady and a few blocks down we studied with a man we
found resting in the shade on the side of the road. His name was Jean Carlos and he desired
to be immersed into Christ so we took him back to to building and did it. The lady we had
studied with before him we found out was his aunt.
Across from Jean's aunt we were invited
to pray for a lady's father. He had a stroke and was confined to bed. She was full of anger
at God because her mother had been very sick and died cursing God and now her father was sick.
But as we talked to Ali, her father, and prayed for him, he began to cry for his sins – he had
been a hard man. This was the first time she had seen him cry (he had not even cried when his
wife died) and a change came over her. By the time we left, her anger was gone and she seemed
to be at peace. God was working on her, because her daughter told us it was a miracle that she
came to ask us to pray for them – she usually would have had nothing to do with anyone like us
and have driven us away.
All this and more happened in one amazing
week! The people of Yaritagua were so hungry for the Word of God that we bought many Bibles
and gave them to those without one. Six people were immersed into Christ in this one week,
with several others desiring further study of the Word.
After worshiping with the Barquisimeto
congregation on Sunday, we rode a bus overnight to the city of Merida in the Andes mountains.
There we guys stayed with a local evangelist and the girls stayed with Faby's parents. For the
next week we worked with the Ejido congregation. The people in this area were not as open about
studying the Bible, but a few were at least willing to hear what the Word says.
Our final week was spent working with the
Centro congregation which is in downtown Merida. The week started off with two immersions on
Sunday after worship. The river was cold and the mosquitoes were swarming but we didn't mind
because we were rejoicing with our new brother and sister in Christ. We talked to several people
during this week. The sister and boyfriend of the girl who was immersed Sunday studied with the
preacher each night after the regular Bible study and were immersed into Christ the last Sunday
we were in Venezuela. We were not there to see it because we were worshiping at the La Parochial
We did have some time off from work.
During this time we went to the beautiful beach, a theme park set in Venezuela during the
1920's, and rode the highest and longest cable car in the world to the top (16,000 feet!) of
Bolivar Peak in the Andes. On our way back from the beach, we missed the last bus and God
provided us with a fruit truck to ride in the back of and we sang to the Lord all the way
home. I thoroughly enjoyed God's magnificent creation from the top of the mountain and the
quiet peace in which I could spend some time in prayer.
All in all, this trip was an amazing
experience. Eleven were immersed into Christ, and the seed has been planted in countless
others. God gave us what we needed. He taught us to depend on Him and walk by faith.
My most recent trip, and my first attemp at live bloging!
This was a 21 day trip traveling with Ken Wilkey around the Philippines, doing evangelism and encouraging
the brethren. The full lowdown is at afcphilippines03.tripod.com