Josh and his team had a wonderful experience in Guayama, Puerto Rico last week! I know that God heard your prayers as you lifted them up! Many of his group were on their first mission trip ever. The week has not worn off of them yet. Randomly, Josh will say, "I miss Puerto Rico" or "I miss Charlie." I know now that he's not just missing this island (where part of his family & heritage come from) but the island, the team of friends that formed a family while there, the natives who showed them love and joy while they worked, the efforts they collectively accomplished, the lunch breaks on the bay, and on and on......God showed them so much!
I didn't get any updates from Josh during the week. His friend Brooke posted picture updates online, but I didn't really know what the stories were until Josh came home and sporadically told them.
|130 Participants of July 15-19 Guayama, Puerto Rico|
Last Monday they arrived in Guayama at World Changers --a mission camp where projects are organized in each location (they are many all over the U.S. & the world). They lodged in a church building - the guys in one large room (a balcony actually) and the girls in another. Apparently cots had just been donated the week before, so they were the first group to use them. The showered in makeshift showers outdoors. There were 130 participants from eight states that attended this week of World Changers. They were placed into groups of six to twelve people then went out on their "assignment."
|The "Plumb Bobs" at Phillipe's house|
Josh (and Brooke) were in the "Plumb Bobs" group. Their group went to Philippe's house. Philippe's niece, Mildred, went with this group. The Plumb Bobs spent all four days there. At first I thought, "how much work can eleven people do at one man's small house?" But after seeing the pictures, it is obvious they had plenty to do for four days, and they did a great job. Josh said Philippe was at first reluctant and wary of the group. He didn't want them in the house much, only cleaning up the yard (aka jungle) outside and allowing them in to clean the kitchen. But by day three he was sitting out on his porch anticipating their arrival and excited to see them coming!
They worked hard. They only stopped for breaks when they tired. Two participants in their group (who had been to four other World Changer camps sites) said this was the "least-complaining" most "hardest working" group they'd been with yet. Though labor-intensive, Josh said the weather was great and they could feel the constant breeze coming up from the ocean a mile away.
|Josh & Brooke taking a lunch break on|
They loaded up everyday at lunchtime and went to the bay where picnic tables under brick pavilions were located, not far from Philippe's home. While there on one of the first days they met Charlie. Charlie did not have a job, just a bike. He asked Mildred what they were doing, and she told him. He asked if he could come along? She said that would be fine, but not to get in the way. She said he'd have to work too and not be lazy. Charlie agreed.
|Charlie on site holding a crab!|
(There is a video where he caught an iguana!)
When they returned to Philippe's house to chop down the yard with machetes, Charlie jumped right in. Josh said he was the funniest guy. He loved to laugh and to make others laugh. And he chopped down most of the yard, a task Josh said would have taken the rest of the group a very long time to do! By the end of the week Charlie
|Bananas in Phillipe's back yard!|
definitely became a part of their Plumb Bobs group it seems. And though he had joined them to pass time and have fun, he affected their time there greatly, and they had a powerful influence on him as well, as Charlie was able to see Christ's love by spending time around this awesome group of young servants. Josh didn't give me the full story, but did say that Charlie was not a Christian when they met him, but that he was by the end of the week. Praise God!
|Josh giving the basketball to Joshua.|
sThe highlight of Josh's week: The twelve year old (also named Joshua) who dribbled his basketball everywhere he went. The basketball was tattered and worn, but the kid didn't care. Here, when a basketball gets that worn, Josh will throw it out, as it's no longer worth playing or practicing with. This may seem like some kind of snooty Westerner thing, but this is his sport, and quality of ball does matter, just like a marathon runner's shoes would. So, the next trip to the local store Josh purchased a basketball for the boy, and his face -when Josh handed it to him- was the highlight of the trip for him.
|Cage, Josh, & Michelle|
On Friday it rained, so they couldn't work much, Josh took advantage of this and took a long nap. On Saturday morning they left and headed to San Juan to enjoy an day of hiking, swimming in a waterfall, and sight-seeing.
Overall, from the stories I have heard (which you have now read), it seems to have been an awesome mission trip for all involved! God is so amazing! We are so thankful for everyone who supported Josh & his team, financially, in prayer, through encouragement, in EVERYTHING!
There is a web page of the week produced from World Changers if you want even more information.
The video is great - but long. So we marked the "time starts" if you want to specifically see Josh's team: minutes timed in at 4:17 & 4:45 (on this one look carefully at Philippe's face full of excitement!)