What a fun day! After a night of sleeping in 4 different host homes, we all met up for breakfast and orientation this morning at 9am at Steve and Priscila Dyes' home (where Gary, Krissy and Stephanie are staying). Our breakfast consisted of some assorted "cochitas" (glorified kolaches) and some apple flavored and raisin cinnamon rolls that Steve got from a "panadaria" (a bakery). Yumm! Steve proceeded to orient us to the whats and what nots of how to act, be a living testimony of Christ and a good representation of Americans. He advised us on safety precautions, gave us the outlook on the schedule for the week (lots of work!) and then we headed to the subway for our first experience on Caracas public transportation. We walked to the food court at the mall for lunch, and then to our final destination of the church, where we got a look at all of the projects that needed work, prioritized them and went to work! Everyone participated in just about every project - painting, organizing and cleaning out their supply/storage closet. We got to meet several of the leaders from the church when they arrived to take charge of organizing the children's supply closet. Lots of work going on today, and we all felt very accomplished after several hours of sweating.
Once we returned, everyone showered up and met back at Steve and Priscila's for dinner...Arepas!! Arepas are like cornmeal pancakes sliced open into a pocket and stuffed with various fillings. Tonight we had chicken, beef, cheese, and ham and all of it was great!
After dinner, we had a time of sharing with the church leadership (through translators, of course). We learned about their stories and we all shared encouragement with them. It was a wonderful time of fellowship across a language barrier. We all felt encouraged and uplifted seeing their sense of community and how young they all are, to boot. One specific story, which seemed to run through all of their stories was how one of the leaders with us tonight, a native of Columbia, Linda, had a personal role in most of these leaders coming to Christ. Her fervor for Christ has not only impacted their lives, but the lives of everyone who comes to Iglesia Cristiana del Este ("ICE" translated Eastside Christian Church). We stood to end the night in a prayer circle, where two Venezuelans prayed for our team's time of work here this week, and two of our team prayed for the future of the church here. We were all extremely blessed, to say the least. Sharing the bond of the Love of Christ cross-culturally is a phenomenon too many Christians miss out on. What a wonderful experience.
That's all for tonight. Tomorrow breakfast is at 8:00, and then off to work again at the church!!
We promise to have pictures tomorrow!
Goodnight and God Bless!