Life goes so fast it seems. We have been back in Honduras for about two weeks now but have been busy since our return, jumping right back into ministry and our life here. A couple of things that have happened since our return are Hope Camp and the Schools of Hope “Store”.
Hope Camp is something we look forward to each year. The annual camp for the sponsored children was a huge success this year. This year was a little different than years past. Because we have well over two hundred sponsored children and a lot of them are youth, we now have two camps. The camp for our youth was earlier in the year and ran by Kathy Mizen our director. This year, while Dale planned and organized everything, it was basically run by our amazing, top notch Honduran staff. In years passed we had Canadians come and do the minsitry and programs. That was amazing as well, but we have some incredible people that we work with here who have a heart for God and the children we serve and who are very capable of pulling such a huge event off.
We bus the kids off their mountain to another area outside of the city. Some of the children have never been off the mountain they live on. They come from a very rough and dangerous neighbourhood, where there are no parks or anywhere safe for them to play and just be the kids that they are. We take them to a rustic camp for a few days where it is safe and they can just have fun and learn more about God at the same time there is the opportunity to get closer to him and make him their forever friend. There are three good meals a day and late night activites like arts and crafts with snacks and a movie with popcorn. Each day were services with a Bible lesson, songs and games followed by team devotions. In the afternoon there are other off site activites. Things like the zoo, bike riding, the park, and a restaurant where they had smoothies and anafres. It is a very busy time, and by the end everyone is exhausted. But it is so worth it. Many of the children do not want to leave when it is time to get back on the bus that takes them home. There was one boy in particular who cried for the first twenty four hours. He had never been away from home and missed his family. By the end of camp he was all smiles and so happy he that came and stayed.
Once again the Schools of Hope “store” was a success. It’s one the highlights of our year. Once a child is sponsored one of the things that is covered with sponsorship is school supplies. Each school and grade require the children to bring certain items at the start of the school year. Some of the kids have quite extensive lists. The things like pens and pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, notebooks, ruler sets, compasses, dictionaries, dry erase markers, permanent markers, bristol board ect. In years past we bagged everything according to the school and class list. Blue striped bags for boys and pink striped bags for girls. Then they would all come to a meeting and we would hand each child their bag of supplies one by one. There was nothing wrong with doing things that way, but our director Kathy had a God idea. And that was why not let the kids come and shop for their supplies? Wouldn’t it be great if they could pick out their own notebooks and choose what colour compass or pencil sharpener? So that is what we do now and it has always gone very smoothly. The room is set up with tables stocked with the supplies which are pre ordered and delivered from a store in the city. Children come at set times according to their grades and pick out what supplies they need as they go table to table. In a way I guess it gives each child a sense of pride or value rather than just being handed a bag and sent on their way home. It’s more personal this way and gives us a better chance to interact with the kids and the moms or dads who come with them. I LOVE what we get to do!