"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, YET I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."
After our precarious homecoming (see last blog post), we knew we needed a fresh vision of why God has placed us here on 21/7. There is always a period of adjustment when we come back home to Nassau, as we are re-entering a developing country with many inconveniences we do not experience back in the U.S.
At first, our prayers seemed to be counter-productive. Instead of our eyes adjusting to all the blessings of living here, we began to see more of the challenges. Our refrigerator would not return to working status after the power had been cut for 24 hours, our van wouldn't start, and when it did finally start, it was blowing lots of gray smoke out of the exhaust. The pool guy was not returning our phone calls and so the pool continued to be a rich green color, playing nursery to many tadpoles. We were quickly reminded of the happy mosquito population inside our home as we pulled out the OFF spray.
Then Saturday came. It was "Spread the Word" Saturday to advertise our upcoming Music Camp-VBS which begins August 6. We had been expecting at least 20 people or so to come and help canvass the streets, yet only 13 of us arrived at the church. Other than the Moss and Bunting families, we had only 4 people come to "Spread the Word." We knew there was a birthday party taking place that had been planned before we set this date, but we didn't realize HOW MANY people it would involve! So the 13 of us prayed, equipped ourselves with water and sunscreen and hit the streets around our church.
The two hours or so we spent canvassing the church neighborhood were two of the best hours we have spent living on this island. I have previously posted about the Kemp Road area...it is a low-income, "don't be there at night" type of neighborhood. But what joy we found there as we met people, invited them to our Music Camp, and just walked the streets together! Heaps of trash were just a part of the ambience. As I got down to talk to one little boy, I was struggling not to eyeball the old shoes, abandoned refrigerator, and countless discarded cans and bottles that surrounded us. Another boy was ingeniously making a basketball hoop out of an old crate and hammering it to a telephone pole. I picked up his ball, dribbled it, and shot it through his new hoop. He stood looking in disbelief that I, a middle-aged white woman, would play with him. I was touched by how much they wanted to hear what we had to say, people coming to gather as they saw us standing amongst their neighbors sharing our invitations. Two unknown ladies said they wanted to help spread the word and took a small stack of invitations to hand out as they walked in another direction.
At one home made of plywood, two mothers stepped out with guarded looks at first. I quickly smiled and said, "We're from Kingdom Life Church and we're having a FREE music camp August 6th through the 9th..." They took the invitations and began looking at them. Children in a group of 6 or 8 suddenly were there at our side, saying "I wanna come!" "Me too!" One young lady, who said she was 17 said "I'm comin' too!" We looked at each other, knowing the camp is supposed to be for ages 5-12 and said, "Go ahead and come. There'll be other teens there helping."
I can't even tell you the good it did our hearts to interact with these wonderful people....people God made and desires to save. Even now, my heart is full and my eyes are weepy to think of them. Homes that don't have running water, homes that are ramshackle and surrounded by rubbish. But people with beautiful smiles and hearts eager to be loved by somebody.
We hope to go out again this coming Monday, when the team from Metro Life will be here to help. Honestly, next to Sunday meetings at church and serving out at Adventure Learning Camp, this is the biggest highlight of living here so far. "For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever." Ps. 9:18
Pray that God will urge the hearts of these mothers to send the kids, and that the kids will remember to come. Pray that hearts will be fertile ground for receiving the gospel next week. Pray for souls to be saved.
|Keaton, Kristin, and Leslie caught in the rain as we canvass the church neighborhood|