This is my first entry in the blog, but hopefully it will not be my last. God has been so good to our group this entire trip, and I just wanted to share some of his goodness with our followers. To begin the adventures in Mexico God allowed us to be witness to a very Spirit led church service on Sunday. The pastor spoke passionately about being grateful for the giver and not just the gifts. He also spoke about the duty parents have to be good examples and protectors of their children. His example came from the book of Matthew, during the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus reminded the people that if parents who are sinners can give good gifts, we can expect God to give even better gifts. This was just a great reminder of how much trust we need to have in God. We can know that he is the giver of good gifts and he knows us more intimately than we even know ourselves.
The continuation of God's goodness arrived today in the form of unity within the group and many willing hands to help meet any needs that could have arisen. We started off by priming a wall so that it can be painted yellow later this week. It was hot and complicated, but no one in the group complained or tried to avoid working. We simply dug in and did our best to fill all the cracks and crevices with primer (outer walls are not always in good repair or smooth). After sweating in the hot sun for an hour or so, we had time for lunch and a little rest before afternoon lessons. Today's lesson was a reminder to trust God (specifically regarding sin) even when what he says does not seem appealing to us. We want what we should not have, but he allows us to experience failure. As a demonstration we brought 100% baking cacao (cocoa) and told the children that it was not good to eat even though it looks and smells like edible chocolate. All but three kids decided not to listen to us and experienced the bad taste 100% cacao (representing sin) leaves in one's mouth. Later we offered them a chance to have milk chocolate meant to represent God's good gifts and everyone enjoyed that much better. The children seemed to all learn an important lesson in trusting God's judgment over their own.
In the evening we were able to have devotions with the children about hearing God's voice. Dawn and Tella visited the girls' dormitories while Brandon and I visited the boys'. The verse we read with the boys came from John 10:27. Jesus tells us that we who are his sheep will listen to his voice and follow him. We know his voice well and are willing to walk after him. Much like sheep, if we are not familiar with the Shepherd's voice, we cannot know when and where to move without being led. Sheep trust in the shepherd to lead them to open pastures and away from dangers. However, they must listen closely to the voice of the shepherd. We too must listen to the voice of the Shepherd. We read God's word to understand his character and to know his voice. And when we are faithful we follow him as he speaks and leads us.