I was thinking the other day about how this blog isn't supposed to be just about my weight-loss/running journey, it's supposed to also be about my journey growing in Christ. I have definitely slacked on that side of it. Not because God hasn't been working in my life but quit the opposite, He has been doing amazing things but it takes a lot more thought and time to write those deep meaningful things down.
So I thought what better way to get back into it than to talk about the mission trip.
Josh and I left for Leticia Colombia on July 28th.
*Our team of 12 ready to leave the Memphis Airport*
Saturday was a looooong day of traveling and we didn't make it into Bogota until after 11:00pm and by the time we worked our way through immigration and money exchange it was after midnight before we made it to our hotel.
Because of a time confusion about half of our team got a little less sleep than the rest of the group but all was well because we were getting our first taste of Colombian Coffee :)
We hit the ground running and headed out to do some sight seeing in Bogota. We headed to Montserrat (a mountain in Bogota) and rode a cable car up to the top of the mountain to check out the best views of the city.
*Our team waiting on the cable car*
Because of the elevation and being surrounded by mountains it was pretty chilly and we also had some overcast/rain showers.
*I was freezing*
After doing some sight seeing Julie and I got some Hot Coco to warm up
We then headed back to the Bogota airport to grab some lunch and then our flight to Leticia. We got to eat lunch at Crepe's and Waffles. Oh. My. Yum. So good.
*Josh and I enjoying our Frozen Mocha Frappuccinos *
We landed in Leticia around 4:15 headed to Malokamazones (our hotel) to check in.
*Finally in Leticia*
We went to church with some of the kids from La Aljaba that night and then treated them to ice-cream. The kids were so excited we were there. And we had a great time playing with them and getting to know them.
We started Monday morning with some sight seeing and headed to the Amazon River.
*On the boat going down the Amazon River*
We then went to Isle de Micos (Monkey Island). We followed our guide into the jungle as he was calling the Monkeys. We were each given a banana and the monkeys just swarmed you trying to get a bite.
*Josh and I with the Monkeys*
The Monkeys used everybody's heads to get from one banana to the next
*What a unreal experience*
*love this shot*
We left Monkey Island and headed to a small village that's actually located in Peru. The villagers have a wide range of indigenous animals, reptiles and such. They go out into the jungle and capture these animals and they make their money from tourist (like us) who pay to hold them.
*Me with a Sloth*
We had lunch on the river at this amazing raft like restaurant. We got to relax in some hammocks while our meal was prepared and had another amazing meal.
Later that evening we headed to the Barrio Nuevo to show the Jesus Film. The Barrio is basically the slum of Leticia. These people came out of the jungle and used what materials they could find to build their "houses" A few of the kids from La Aljaba are from here.
*One of the "houses" at the Barrio*
The Barrio is on the Brazil/Colombia border so we got to stand in two countries at once. So in one day we were in three Countries. Colombia, Peru, and Brazil. Very cool.
*Me in two countries*
*smooching across country lines*
Josh and I got to help with "child care" during the movie so the Mom's could watch
*We got to play with these adorable twins. Look at those cheeks*
Tuesday we split into 2 groups, one team working with the children at La Aljaba and the other team began a construction project at the transition house, Casa Blanca. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday like this.
*Josh working on the construction project*
VBS was done in two groups one in the am and one in the pm because this is how they went to school. We had an age range of 4-18. We started each session with music. We taught the kids two songs, first in spanish then in english. We taught them Here I am to Worship and Jesus Loves Me.
We then did a story followed by a craft. The kids loved the crafts. We really had a great time.
The Construction team built a 750 square foot covered patio, a structure that will help out immensely during the long rainy days that are inevitable in the jungle and to have a place to hang dry their cloths.
Thursday evening we watched "Rio" in spanish with the kids and made smores. The kids were really funny with the smores. They wouldn't eat it like a sandwich they peeled off each layer and ate each layer separately
One thing we learned though is even with all the things we had planned we had the most fun with the kids during the free time. Wether it was playing basketball, reading books, hanging out at the playground, signing t-shirts, teaching them Ladder Golf, or taking a hundred pictures of them.
It wasn't about the "stuff" it was about building relationships...
*Me with Ema*
Now this little boy made the biggest impact on us of all. This is Frank Kevin. He grabbed our heart the first day there and it wasn't long before we found out he wasn't being sponsored. Josh and I knew God wanted us to sponsor him and we got to tell him before we left. He is now part of our family.
*Us with Frank Kevin*
We left Leticia forever changed and we can't wait to go back!!
*Our team with some of the kids and staff from La Aljaba*