Over the past several years we, as a church, have had the goal to serve others. There have been several newsletter article references to our work and relationships with Pastor José Ingalls and the children in the orphanages that he runs (Paty's article "Being A Church of Servants", Sarah's article "Casa Verde" and Greg's article "McKinzie Reflections on CUDA 2016"). This August we started to visit the kids once a week and help them with their homework. I go with Paty every Thursday to the girls’ orphanage and Jeremy goes either by himself or with others to the boys’ orphanage. This has been a fun opportunity to strengthen our relationships with the children and the "tias" or caretakers.
In November the church did our second annual cookout for the kids at a park. We grilled hamburgers with the help of some generous friends and the church was there ready to serve. When the kids arrived they all sat down and waited patiently for their food and drink. Their tradition is to honor the oldest person in attendance with the first bite of food, which in this case was an elderly tia. I love that they waited until everyone had their plate, said a prayer, and honored their elders like this.
After they ate we gathered together in a pavilion and sang songs of worship together. Nancy, one of the full-time CUDA workers who helped us put on this event, then spoke to everyone about Jesus and the feeding of the five thousand. Jeremy then delivered a message about how everyone has been made in the image of God. He also challenged the group to view themselves in this light and prayed with them.
Overall it was a really great day! It was enjoyable to be together with the church all day serving and eating together. It was also wonderful to see the kids get to get out and have fun.