It is our final day here at the Amigos School in Peronia. It has been a wonderful week full of smiles, laughter and the love of Jesus. Of hugs and fistbumps, soccer and whiffle ball, language challenges and communication that broke through it all.
A week of fellowship, supporting one another, little sleep, crazy showers, 4:30 am fireworks and roach dances. It has also been a week-long dad/daughter date (in maybe a weird way) and I am so thankful for this opportunity and especially for getting to experience it with Ally.
The scripture I have been in for this week is Jeremiah 29, specifically verses 11-14. But to understand these I’ve spent a lot of time looking at he preceding chapters as well. The exiled from Judah had walked away from God, had stopped praying, stopped listening for God, stopped seeking him (see Jer. 25) and so that is why he sent them into exile. It was only after the seventy years had passed that he restored to them what they lost. As I think on this idea of exiles and lost I can’t help but reflect a bit on this week.
While we have seen all of these beautiful sights and sounds there is the constant reminder that we are not in the United States and that there are plenty of lost here that don’t know the Lord. We don’t go anywhere unless we are in a group, we can’t walk the short distance (approx. 50 yards) between the house and the school without an escort.
The home visits we made involved walking through the streets and were wonderful but there was always a need to maintain full awareness. As a leader (and a father) I felt like I always needed to have one eye on the kids and one on my surroundings. You hear the stories of some of these kids and what hey have been through with the loss of a parent due to violence and your heart breaks for them, yet the strength and perseverance is a beautiful thing. I can honestly say I never felt in danger – but I never felt 100% safe either. It definitely was “the safest most dangerous mission trip”.
As I prepare to leave here I will remember the smiles, hugs, giggles and beautiful people we encountered. But I will also leave here with a heart that continues to pray for the people, the city and the region. For those in desperate need for the love of Christ and the hope that he provides. May the kids of the Amigos school continue to grow in Christ and his love and shine his light into a world in need of Him.