So, as I was saying!--the lessons and devotions went well. The children have been broken into four groups (young boys, older boys, young girls, and older girls), and we work with one group at a time. We had a rather fun lesson set this go-around in which we asked the kids if they trusted God and if what He said was good was good and if what He said was bad was bad. Then we asked them if they trusted us. They said yes to all of those questions.
At that point, we pulled out 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate and told them it was bad and that they wouldn't want it or like it. We gave them the choice, though, if they changed their minds and didn't believe us ton line up and try it. All but 3 youth tried it.
Of course, 100% cacao IS quite bad, and they all got horrible expressions and spit it out into a trash can.
We then told them that Hershey's chocolate was good and let them have that--of course, it was delicious. We then made an analogy to how that is similar to God and sin. Often He says something is bad, but it looks and seems good to us (like the 100% cacao did--it is in a nice wrapper, it says that it's not just chocolate, it's 100% chocolate, and it smells good). However, God is trustworthy and He knows--if He says the action is bad it is bad. Nonetheless, just like the kids, we often choose to try the sin anyway, and we often find the results are quite bad. We discussed with the older youth that the results may not be about just being caught but about heart attitudes and broken relationships from our actions, etc. The lesson went further and had some coloring activities and some games, as well (both tied in to reinforce the general idea that we could/should trust that what God says about right and wrong is true and good).
The lesson was most encouraging in that it seemed like quite a few kids got the point and understood it. There were also some pretty funny/fun reactions to the lesson. As part of the coloring activity, we asked the kids to draw something good (bien) and bad (mal) to remember the idea that what God says is good is good and what He says is bad is bad. One kid drew his 'mal' as me holding a 100% chocolate bar. That made all of us laugh. Another fun thing was that one girl decided that I needed to eat the 100% cacao, too--I told them that I said that it was bad before they chose to try it and that I didn't really have to, but I ate a piece, anyway.
All in all, the lessons seemed to go quite well yesterday--please pray for today's lessons! After the lessons, we ate supper and then saw the kids in the playground and read evening devotions to them that tied in with the lesson. (In this case the devotions were over hearing God's voice and about how we need to listen to Him to determine right from wrong when it is unclear where to head).
After that, we retired to the chairs in front of the house we are staying in and chatted with the two who are transitioning to be the new leaders of the home (Adam and Becky). It was a fun conversation involving humor, translation errors, and more. I also purchased corn-in-a-cup from a vendor that drove past the house (I didn't know it, but I guess that's a thing here).
After that, at about 11:30 pm here (mountain time), I fell asleep a few times typing yesterday's update, so I figured I'd get up and post today, instead.
The only other thing that I want to share on here with you (there are many MANY more things to share, but not enough blog) is from the first day we arrived and played with the kids. Hector (the kid who is the 'Hector Hat' in the photo below was one of many who wanted me to swing him around by the arms or by one arm and one leg (a game called little airplane).
However, Hector was sweet enough that he gave me a small dinosaur toy from Toy Story. I tried to give it back, but it became obvious (and he said as much) that it was a gift and that he wanted me to have it. It was a very sweet gesture, and he hung out with me much of the rest of the evening talking about how he liked rain and climbing on my head, etc. The children here are children just like any other, and it is an honor and a privilege to get to know them. I know that many of you are praying for us, and I request that you continue, but I also want you to know that the home is still in dire straights when it comes to needing visitors and needing recurring financial support.
One of the conversations we had with Adam and Becky (the two who are becoming the new leaders of the home) was about how the violence has lessened in the extreme, but there are still few, if any, new visitors to the home, and many churches stopped financially supporting them once they stopped visiting the youth/ministry that they supported. The city is much safer now than it ever has been on a trip that I've taken here (even safer than before the drug war on my first trip 9 years ago), there has never yet been an incident with anyone in the more than 50,000 visits here, and yet no one is brave enough to come back and love these very lovable children. I would request that you pray about either 1) coming yourself or 2) letting other churches and ministries that you are connected to know about this amazing place and know that they are here, they are legitimate, and they still need more people to come down and more people to pray with them and financially support them. Please spread the word about these amazing kids and this amazing place, and please help this legitimate part of God's Kingdom that is in need. Thanks again for your prayers on this trip, and we'll keep you updated about it as we go!