In exactly one week, I will be heading back to the United States. These past three weeks have been filled with so many emotions. I am so excited to be going home to see my family and friends, but I am also very sad to leave this beautiful island that has become my second home. The people of this island have become my second family. As we have started saying our goodbyes and handing off our ministries to other people, we have been able to remember all of the amazing things that God has done this past year. We have been able to see so many ministries and churches grow to glorify Him. It has been so beautiful to be a part of this experience. I never thought God would bless me in so many ways this year, but I am so thankful that He did! I really do not want to leave, but I know I am suppose to be starting a new season of life soon. I may be reluctant to leave my second home, but I have been blessed with so many memories of how God worked in my life and this island that I can take home with me to the United States to use in my next season!
One of the things that God has blessed me with this year is the basketball ministry that I have lead. I have seen so much growth in the hearts of the boys that attend this bible study. The boys that are a part of this ministry are different from the other boys in the neighborhood. It is hard to explain, but they just interact differently with others. They have a certain joy inside them that I do not see in the other kids. Playing with the neighborhood kids with these boys, you tell there is definitely something different about these kids and I truly believe it is because they know Christ. They are great examples for their community. Two weeks ago, Five of the boys taught the Tuesday night. They prepared for three days to teach on that Tuesday. My heart was filled seeing them so determined to make sure they taught the lesson well. I was so proud of them and all of the hard work they had done! This past Tuesday, I was able to help baptize 5 boys from the basketball ministry. It has brought so much joy to my heart to see these boys grow closer to God. As 3 John 1:4 says “I have no greater joy than to that my children are walking in the truth.” I will miss these boys and this ministry so much, but I have complete confidence in them that they will become the leaders that this ministry needs. Continue to pray for this ministry and these boys that they would continue to grow closer to God and be an example for their families and community.
Another thing that God has blessed me with is my discipleship with Angelita and her family. It is amazing to see a family so transformed by God! I was blessed to be a part of that beautiful transformation. Abigail and I had our last discipleship with them last week. So. Many. Tears. This family will always have a very special place in my heart. Because I met Angelita, I also was able to meet Erica, Angelita’s niece. I was finally able to use a very dark part of my testimony to help someone with a very similar situation. I shared my testimony of how God used that part of my story to bring me back to Him at our second discipleship with Erica and she gave her life to Christ that day! I thank God for so much for using me in this family. All of these people have had such an impact in my life. Continue to pray for Angelita, Erica and their family that they would continue to seek God and His will.
Yesterday, we had our last day of Projecto Pepe… This ministry is probably the hardest ministry for me to say goodbye to. I love all of the kids and teachers so much. All of the kids that I have had the honor of teaching have grown so dear to me. They will always have a very special place in my heart. These kids have brought me so much joy, even on my hardest days here. Their smiles were the highlight of my day. God blessed me with amazing kids that have so much love. Each and every one of these kids has taught me how to love better. I believe that I learned more from them than they did from me. I really struggled with the language barrier when I first began teaching at Projecto Pepe, but I realized that love has no barriers. Some how they knew I loved them and I knew they loved me. Coming into this ministry, I knew I would not be able to teach these kids about Christ because of the language barrier so my one objective for this ministry was to simply show love to these kids and leave the rest of the work to God to handle. The Lord definitely handled the rest! So many Projecto Pepe families came to know Christ this year. Praise the Lord! I am so thankful that God allowed me to be a part of this awesome ministry and the mighty work that He is doing on this island! Continue to pray for my Projecto Pepe children and their families.
Unfortunately, I was not able to go on the most recent trip to the island of Brava because I did not want to have to cancel my discipleships and other ministries. I am really glad I stayed behind though because I was able to see a lot of growth in all of my discipleships and ministries! Ashlyn, Isaac, Matthias, and Madison were able to go to Brava. God worked in so many mighty ways in this past trip to Brava. Some of the families that we had discipled the last time we were there finally decided to take the next step by accepting Christ! One of the most amazing things that I heard about was about the life change of a young man that we had met with last time we were there. His name is Zé. Pastor Emmanuel believes he has a lot of potential to become an amazing leader to lead people to Christ in the villages in Brava. During the last time we were there, we met with him and prayed over him for three hours because he confessed that he was struggling with drugs and gambling while trying to support his family. I was so happy to hear that Zé has completely changed his life around since the last time we saw him. He is now stepping up to become the leader that he feels called to become! Zé will be coming to the island of Santiago for a couple weeks to study the Bible and learn how to make disciples with Pastor Emmanuel. Praise the Lord! Continue to pray for this island that God would create strong leaders to help do His work of spreading the gospel throughout this island.
The Lord has been so good to me.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”