Hi my friends! I hope you are all doing well!
So, I know that you have been just itching to know what happened on the mission trip. And even if you are not, I am so ready to tell you :) And just in short, let me say that it was amazing.
I have never seen kinder people than in the Bahamas. We literally walked in the door of the house we were eating at that night and the people start singing, "A common love for each other, a common gift to the savior....." and hugging us as though they had known us for a long time. When we asked when church that (sunday night) would start, they said (in their GORGEOUS bahamian accent :) "We will start church whenever we finish eating and are ready to start." So, when it was "time" we pulled chairs around the living room and sat and sang and prayed and bonded. It was amazing. When we left, we still had time before the sun set, so we went down to the beach and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.
|At the airport, ready for our flight to open :)|
|On the airplane :D|
|OF course, the one I uploaded Dad is making a funny face....|
|View of water form the plane|
|Looking straight down into Coral reefs from the plane|
|Over the Grand Bahamas Island (not the island we stayed on)|
|This is the lovely Madison and awesome sign we were greeted with at the airport :)|
|Playing on the beach on Sunday evening.|
|beautiful bahamian sunset|
On monday, we went to the Children's hostel, which is an orphanage. The kids housed there are form ages 2-12, but is supposed to be only 4-12. They had overflow at the younger orphanage. These kids were out of school Monday for Bahamian elections (which, by the way, is a very big deal), and that was great because we got to play with them all day. They bonded with us immediately. We played and played and talked and played. One moment I will (hopefully) always remember is sitting in the shade under a slide playing with a little boy. He sat in my lap, playing and naming colors of different things around him. His attention was drawn to my large birthmark on my neck, and he asked what it was and how it happened and who gave it to me or something like that. I told him that God gave it to me. He sat quietly, playing with a small toy in his hand. I slowly asked, "Do you know who God is?". He answered, still playing and without any care, "Nope!" I swallowed. I thought,"This is what we were here for, right? And how am I supposed to explain God to him in words that he can understand?" And, you see, it is hard to keep a 3 year old's attention very long, so I simply said, "He made you." He gave no reply. I do not think that he remembered that moment 3 minutes later, or that he will ever have any acknowledgment of it. I just hope he heard me, and that that moment will be etched in my mind forever.
The kids constantly wanted to take pictures and see themselves in pictures on cameras, and absolutely loved it! They would say "Watch this!' and would run and do a backflip! It was great! They would constantly show me tricks on different pieces of playground equipment. They hugged us when we left, and I knew I was in love with all of them.
|Elizabeth with her new friend ;)|
|Flipping off of Mr Duane's hands!|
|These kids, especially this one, loved to flip. Here is what it looked like as he went through the air:|
|These kids loved piggyback rides. Can you tell at all? ;)|
|I can still hear him: I itchy! I itchy! (he had been rolling around in the grass, so Dad was scratching his back :)|
|Washing hands before lunch|
|A massive piggyback ride attempt/attack on Sam|
|Jumping off the swing|
|The "jungle" we tried to clean off by hand for the kids to make a garden and grow plants. We had to call in a small tractor to move it all out the next day.|
|Here is what we found in our jungle.... YUCK!!|
That afternoon on the beach....
Yes, all of these things were on the beach across the street from where we were staying. It was great seeing all of these things in person! I was blessed to have an underwater camera (Thank you, MImi!), so I used it!
We came up with some ideas of things that could be done at the Children's Hostel, and the next morning arrived, picked up around the hostel, and played with the kids while some of the adults went to get paint from the store. Or, at least, that is what I hear they did. I (of course) got sick that morning and had to nap in the car while they did this stuff. Luckily, that bug did not stay around for long, and only struck once, so I was very thankful indeed :) By the way, that nap in the car was probably one of the best I have ever had. We were parked in the shade, under a pretty palm tree with a sweet breeze blowing. It was wonderful :) Anyways..... my dad arrived with the paint and we set out to paint the playground equipment. We figured a new coat of paint would brighten the place up, make it look newer, and make the place look more fun to kids who were coming to live there. We also painted the picnic tables, and made plans to fix up the ones that were falling apart. We also fixed and painted a bench. After painting and lunch the place looked a lot better, besides the fact that more coats would have to be added tomorrow. We played with the kids after they got home from school, and then left to shower up and go to dinner. We ate at "Oh Andros" which was great! We got to try some traditional Bahamian food, and literally taste their culture. It was lots of fun!
|Eating at Oh Andros|
|Painting, painting, painting|
|The church building|
|Me and Tario (this is the little boy who asked me about my birthmark :)|
|The 3 amigos: Shavago, Tario, and Amelia|
|The picnic tables :D|
|Me and Tario|
|The finished product!|
|Our wondermous group!!|
We also had church members over to the hotel to swim, eat, and play games together. It was a wonderful way to bond and learn more about our friends.
|Playing games Thursday night|
|CAroline and her "twin sister form the Bahamas" (madison)|
|Caroline and Madison|
|(left to right): Madison, Angelica, Chandler, Caroline, Me|
|Playing Bahamian drums|
|CAroline with/in her Bahamas get-up|