We are HERE!! We as a team arrived to McAllen on Saturday around 3ish. There was a lot of excitement as all of the students and leaders loaded off the bus to head to their hotel rooms. After settling into the rooms and finding the pool the team jumped into three vans as we headed towards the Church for the first time. There we were greeted by both new and familiar faces (these were people from the church, many of whom will be our translators in the incoming week) and the bonding between the two groups began immediately. The night consisted of fellowship, lot of sports and introductions. Most importantly the team was introduced to Mexican style cooking (Which is very good if I may add). Our first night in McAllen ended with some poolside worship and a few testimonies from some brave volunteers.
Day 2 (Sunday) began with an amazing church service. The lead Pastor at Alianza, Pastor Jorge, gave a great sermon about communication, which opened the eyes of many of the students on the team. It was also the first time that some of the kids got to witness a church service being translated from Spanish to English. The atmosphere of the service was a lot different than what the kids are used to which made the experience a lot different. However, all of the worship songs that were sung were the Spanish translations of many of the English worship songs that they all knew. After church we all headed towards a local Mexican restaurant where we all ate. Some of the kids indulged in potatos and quesadillas that were the size of their heads. We then were given some time to rest after a full meal before we headed back to the church. Once we got back the kids were given their first opportunity to really go and have opportunity for good conversation. As a way to promote the VBS for the week, small teams were formed to go out into the public to hand out flyers and explain to people why they are here and what they are going to be doing this week. Many small connections were made and from the sound of it, many of the people that the teams came in contact with today will be making an appearance sometime in this upcoming week. To end out the day we headed back to the hotel for some delicious Little Ceasar pizza and some words from Pastor Joel (The Pastor of Harvest Ministries, the organization we are with) about the purpose behind Harvest ministry. Finally, like the night before we ended our night with some worship and testimonies. It was such an amazing night as many of the kids really stepped out of their comfort zones and allowed God to speak through them. It seemed like a huge indicator that God has something big planned for these students.
Please pray for our week. Today is our first full day of ministry so pray for energy for the entire team. Also pray that these students will open their hearts for God so that he can use them in the way that he wants. We have also have a couple of students not feeling the greatest, so pray for health and that those students will feel better for the rest of the week.
- Ryan Sanborn (Leader)