I’ve spent the last couple of days catching up with my precious assistant Cristina. She finished two of her four weeks of vacation. Not so bad to get four weeks after your first year of work. That’s the way it is in Peru. In the United States at the most you will get two weeks after one year. Most of the time it’s just one week. I didn’t reach four weeks of vacation in the almost twenty years I worked for the same company!
Cristina has a childhood friend who married an American missionary, and they now work in the jungle, some 25 miles from the city of Iquitos. I’m not sure she was aware of the amount of work she would be doing on her vacation. Her friend decided to do a Vacation Bible School while Cristina was there. Cristina did such a good job I want to write about it. It was perfect timing for her to go to the jungle.
It wasn’t all work. They got a little break and visited a park that had some exotic animals, like a drugged snake. How else would it be so calm as to let visitors pet it!
Cristina visited the Nathan Bauer family. Here they are on their motorbike.
The family lives in a house that Nathan himself built. There is no electricity where they live but they have a generator that they operate in the evenings. Cristina’s friend Shirley is an only child. Her mother, missing her daughter and grandchild, has moved to be close to her, so she lives in the city (Iquitos). She has a refrigerator so they can keep perishables with her and take some home every time they go to town. It’s hot in the jungle, so food can go bad quickly.
To go to town they can ride the bus 1,5 hours or go with the bike, which takes one hour. They all ride together, and when Cristina was there all four of them rode on the bike. For the Vacation Bible School they made several trips to get supplies. Everything for the craft activities had to be done from scratch and was drawn by hand and cut out for the children, some fifty to be exact.
Let’s follow along and see what they did. Jonah and the big fish was the theme for the four-day Vacation Bible School.
Jonah means Dove, so Shirley wanted the kids to make a dove. Cristina drew a pattern and then they cut out doves for everyone. I think Shirley was somewhat confused with the dove from Noah’s ark because she wanted it to have a leaf in its beak, with a message. Cristina went along with her friend and helped her, even if she didn’t agree that doing a dove was the best choice.
Here are the children showing off their doves. The “girl” in green came to visit from Alaska. She also helped. There was a lot of cutting to be done. In the center below you can see strips with Bible verses. Those were all cut out by Cristina, one for each child for each of the four days. Look at the boy and his dove. There is the Bible verse!
At the bottom right Cristina is picking leaves for the dove. It had to be leaves that could hold the message and stay fresh. At the bottom left Cristina and Shirley are sorting the children’s activities. They would get prizes for their work.
Another activity was to make the boat! Once again Cristina drew all the pictures. And then the children put them together and colored them. I’m so glad they could have these activities because they are poor children and have no entertainment other than the games they come up with.
Before I forget, let me tell you about church and Bibles. Since it’s very humid and the houses don’t have much protection, especially when it rains, Bibles don’t last. The church is built with cement and is somewhat safer. They have a stack of Bibles there so people come early and read the Word. How privileged we are those of us that can have God’s Word at our fingertips (literally, if you have the Bible on your phone!).
After the boat, there was the fish! They needed blue plates for that craft. Where I live we can go to the store and buy blue disposable plates. Not there! So Cristina spray-painted the white plates!
Another activity was to do hearts. Those were also prepared in advance. As you see, Cristina, Shirley and Alisha (from Alaska) worked hard. It paid off in happy children who learned the Word of God.
These three children especially touched Cristina’s heart. They have lost their mother and their father has a hard time making ends meet and taking care of the children.
As you can see this was a very “productive” vacation.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Cristina and her vacation experience. What a blessing for us to have these new ideas to prepare lessons about Jonah. And what a blessing that Cristina could visit her friend. Guess when she bought her airplane ticket? On Cyber Monday! The sales are not only in the States… That is the thing about the internet. It surely is a world-wide web!
I publish my teaching materials on-line hoping they will reach far and wide. But if there is no electricity, there can be no computer communication. As I mentioned, the Bauer’s have a generator for electricity in the evenings but it doesn’t give enough power to download from the internet. We might be on a world-wide web, but there has to be power to connect. This is a whole now subject. I better leave it for another day.
The houses brought back memories from when I was a kid and went to school in the jungles of Peru, namely in Tournavista. But that’s also another subject.
Would you want to take one of these exotic mission vacations?
Now Cristina is working on ideas for Easter celebration. Pray for her. Pray for me. I’m off on a mini-vacation! My grandchildren have Spring Break and I want to spend a few days with them.
It will be a treat. I haven’t seen them since Christmas!