Lauren, Lexie, and I work with a small group of girls at the school. This group is called Programa Especial. The group is divided up into a Tuesday and Thursday group. We initially began this group by making prayer journals. (See the above picture of one of the groups with their journals.) We have discussed how important it is to spend time with the Lord each day. We have discussed the importance of prayer, spending time in His word, and journalling. I have talked about how, when we spend time with God, He will speak to us. These are the things that they can write in their journals. If they want to share what they write, they can. We also learn, from memory, one bible verse a week. They have asked to learn it in English and in Spanish. We begin each group time with prayer and reciting our bible verse from the week before, then writing the new one in our journals. These girls are AMAZING! They warm my heart each week as I hear them individually reciting their bible verses in both languages. They LOVE speaking God’s word in English, as well as their native tongue.
Then we do an activity. It is either a craft project or we sing songs, and we will soon be practicing for a play that we will perform for the July mission team. They seem to enjoy doing all of these things. I love seeing the smiles on their faces. On Tuesday, as we were working on a project, I observed several things…
1) Conversing is very difficult. We don’t speak the same language. My Spanish is still very limited. One of the girls in the group speaks a little English. Somehow though…all of the discussions and activities above seemed to be understood by everyone. My prayer each week is that God will bridge the language barrier and speak through me to these beautiful girls’ hearts. I WANT to make a difference! I WANT to tell them how wonderfully, fabulous and loving our God is. Something tells me…they already know this!
2) When we first started this group, we had no trust. Neither side trusted one another. During the first session or two, many of our supplies were taken. Our hearts were crushed to think that these girls would TAKE from us when we were trying to GIVE to them. However, I now understand. They didn’t trust that we were coming back and that there would be additional supplies and activities. Typically, mission groups come into a place, give supplies and of themselves to the people, then leave. (This is not a slander to mission teams. It’s just the way short team missions work.) This is the first time that this particular village has had missionaries that LIVE here. By showing them consistency, they are slowly opening their hearts to us. They are slowly trusting and allowing a relationship to form. Right now, it is a small sprout. Each week, our group time is like water…and fertilizer…and sunshine…that is allowing the sprout to grow. As an American, I WANT IT NOW! Slowly, they are teaching me to relax and grow with it! These young ladies are teaching me so much!!!
3) Their culture is much different. They laugh openly AT one another and speak openly ABOUT one another IN FRONT OF one another. In the states, it is considered rude to laugh AT someone. Much like this culture, people in the states talk ABOUT others. However, most people do this BEHIND one another’s backs. Right or wrong, it is truth. Either way, it is hurtful. This culture seems to take it in stride. They don’t hold grudges. They let go easily and move on! Once again, I have SO much to learn from them!!! What I am trying to encourage these girls to do, though, is not laugh at one another and to use kind words with one another. As we are trying to speak our verses in English or creating a project, they will openly laugh at one another and call one another’s project “feo” (which means ugly). This hurts my heart! Each time, I see the girl, who is being laughed at or being made fun of, sink into herself. I see her not wanting to trying to speak this crazy language called English. I see her not wanting to express herself through her art. I want to explain to the group how much this destroys not just that girl, but our group. I want us to speak kindly to each other, encourage one another, and HOLD EACH OTHER UP!
Sllllowly, we are trusting. Sllllowly, we are understanding one another better. Sllllowly, we will come together as a group to encourage and strengthen one another! We just have to remember that this is in God’s time, not ours!!! We have to be patient!
Do you see these smiles? Do you see the creativity? WE ARE BEGINNING TO SPROUT…AND TRUST..AND HOLD ONE ANOTHER UP!!! Don’t you think that this is something that EVERY group of women can learn from????
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~ Proverbs 27:17