Thursday thoughts from the team

Olivia Holcombe:

Hey guys its Olivia! This week has been a blast so far. I think I can speak for everyone on this team when I say this trip has been a wonderful opportunity to just slow down, sit in God’s presence, and listen; even when we have been surrounded by some crazy kiddos. Something I think God has been showing me repeatedly this trip is just the love these kids have in hearts; they love so easily. Today I was blessed with the experience of travelling down the river to a small school of about 17 kids where we sang, danced, performed a skit, and did lots of coloring. However, there was one obstacle in getting to know these kids, they barely even spoke Spanish. While this had me a bit concerned at first, God quickly showed me I had nothing to worry about. Even though we might not have spoken the same language, we were still able to connect through God’s love. I am so thankful to have had the amazing memories made and can’t wait for the rest of the trip!!

Brock Donnelly:

Even though this year was longer than last, it feels like it has gone by so much faster. This group of people has been really amazing, and everyone works so well and hard together. Throughout the week I’ve been working on destroying a concrete slab with sledgehammers and carrying the rubble to piles. Over the span of those three days, I have gotten the opportunity to learn about everyone I was working with. It warms my heart that in such a short time we could all get on the same page. The next thing is in the classroom. The moment I walked in the room and saw all the kids just smiling and having a great time really brought a smile to my face. Their energy is overly contagious, and it touches close to heart. The first couple days I was paired with Luis and Lucciana. They were both so excited to and so engaged even though it was their last week of school. Luis was just an energetic ball of fun who when he put his mind to something, he got it done. We really connected and the second day that I walked into the classroom, he instantly ran up and hugged me. During the second day I also started to connect with a kid named Johel. He was really funny and we had played a bunch of games together. The final day, I decided to take Johel for the day, which was one of the most important choice of mine this trip. He was so excited to see me and after reading with him he ran off to ask Abbie how to ask someone to play soccer with him. Abbie pulled me aside and told me which almost brought a tear to my eye. Now today we were at Tyler’s house for prayer and after thinking about it I made an amazing choice to sponsor Johel alongside Avery. It makes me so happy just thinking about it. Overall, this entire trip has been something so special. Every minute, even though we may be hot and sweaty, we’re all enjoying every single minute of it. It means so much to be a part of it and I pray that I can be a part of it next year as well.

Peace out, Brock

Brooklyn Clayton:

Hey you guys, this is Brooklyn. It is my first year on this trip and could not of had a better experience thus far. My expectations for this trip were all over, but this place has erased those and surprised me more times than I can count. Today was our last workday and along the way I have discovered my true mental and physical strength. Whether we were digging holes, painting a wall, or moving concrete it strengthened my understanding of teamwork as well as the value of encouragement. The love I have found here is immense. The kids and workers at the school could have not treated us with more compassion. I had the opportunity to work with a little girl named Jaelyn and got to connect with her despite coming from such different places and battling a strong language barrier. I’m so glad I got the experience the joy in these kids. I was also lucky to be apart of a group that traveled to the indigenous town of Pasuno, we got on a river boat and traveled upstream till we reached the community. Getting off the boat and seeing the one tiny structure where these kids attended school, hearing the teacher’s story, and seeing the love she pours into these kids, despite circumstance, reaffirms God’s work here in the jungle and I couldn’t be more grateful and excited for the rest of the trip! Thank you all for the prayers!

-Brooklyn

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