The whole crew (Dario front and center!)
Andrea, Brenda, Judy, and me in the back!
April is over!! I cannot believe how the time is passing…I feel like I am going to wake up tomorrow and be 60 years old!!! Well, I guess the only thing that we can do is to enjoy life to the fullest, worship the Lord with every breath and movement, and love those around us with the same passion that Christ did!
I am here to report great things! First, on March 20th, we found out that I was 4 weeks pregnant!!! SURPRISE!!! We were not planning on getting pregnant so soon in our marriage; especially with plans of migrating to the United States looming on the horizon, but God knows best!!! We have been winding down from a crazy few months of planning, fund-raising and finishing our second annual CVI Cuenca camp. It was just a few weekends ago on April 13-15th. I must say that the Lord once again tested our patience, strengths, and dependence on Him throughout the process; but the camp, as a whole was a great success!! I had so much fun watching Him work in His mysterious ways! He chose 9 young people with special needs, mostly teenagers and young adults, and a wonderful group of about 27 volunteers and some extra helpers who came when they had spare time. Almost all of our ‘friends’ (as we refer to our counselors) were new to Cristo Vive, which is great, because it opens doors to more people, more churches and a broader spectrum of impact. Many of the friends commented that they came with fear that they wouldn’t know how to handle taking care of a camper, but they ended up learning so much from those campers, about love, patience, contentedness, and even discipline. We had some of the best puppet shows I have EVER seen in a Cristo Vive camp, and I was so impressed with the attitude of service that reigned throughout the camp. The challenges we faced only taught us to be stronger, and the spirit of growth, change and commitment were a theme amongst us friends. I personally served as the nurse and took care of certain administrative responsibilities with the help of Judy and Marjorie. I was extremely proud of my husband, who served as the camp pastor, and allowed the Lord to use him to touch so many. Also, I couldn’t be more pleased with my little team of three: Pablo, just 16, led the songs and games, AND helped to take care of a young man with cerebral palsey. Andrea, 18, who has never actually been to a full camp before, but has been serving with us for about 8 months, helped lead the devotions, stories, bible verses, and salvation message. Her smile said it all!! In our first meeting following the camp, I was able to hear their personal testimonies about how God confirmed their callings to serve in this ministry. Judy is 100% sure that the Lord desires for her to be the leader, which is music to my ears. The plan and prayer all along, has been that someone like her would not only feel compelled to lead CVI Cuenca, but specifically CALLED, and with a passion that will keep her going through the tough times. The Lord definitely filled us all with JOY, PEACE, and lots of LOVE for those kids!!!
Looking to the future: Just because camp is over, doesn’t mean the work is!!! There are reports to be filled out, critiquing the camp, reporting the funds gained and spent, and figuring out what to do differently next year! We are planning a costume party on May 11th, to thank all of our volunteers, and to encourage them to continue building relationships with their campers and their families. Judy said she had a feeling in her Spirit that the ministry was going to grow in numbers after the camp, and sure enough, we already have 3 young women who want to start coming regularly to our meetings!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!! We are also proceeding with plans to visit Mensejeros de La Paz on a Bi-weekly basis to do a discipleship program with them. There is a camp the end of May in Guayaquil (25-27th) and we are planning some fundraisers to send a group there as well.
On a more personal note, as I mentioned above, Dario and I are making plans to head to the US. We are right on schedule with the plans for the ministry here, and the Lord has been faithful in answering our prayers and providing a team!! As far as what we will do when we get to the US, much of that is still in the planning stages. My baby brother Adam will be married the third weekend of September and I am to be one of the bridesmaids (every bridesmaids’ dream is to be the BIG attraction at 7 months pregnant on the bride and grooms’ BIG day, right!?!?!)! We have also been tentatively planning our own celebration of our marriage (I HAVE THE BEST HUSBAND IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!)in Wisconsin! SO, please be praying for a healthy pregnancy, and a speedy homecoming!! My heart is still with Cristo Vive and my brain has been turning circles thinking of all the things that need to be done stateside. So, as we pray, will you join us in seeking direction and guidance from the Lord? Dario would like to pursue music, ministry, or both. He has a heart and talent for counseling and has felt the Lord leading him to a pastor-type role. He has always been passionate about teaching music as well. We may be looking for jobs in translating or interpreting since we are both somewhat bilingual. We are praying that we can travel before August ends, as my due date is in November. Thank you all for partnering with us in prayer!!! We can’t wait to be able to meet up in the States!!