Friday, July 20th, 2007

     At the beginning of the day today, I didn't realize that it was Friday.  My internal clock has been thrown off all week.  It wasn't until later in the day that I finally realized that it was in fact, the last day of VBS.  But i'll get to that sob story later.  This morning we had the normal breakfast consisting of bread, fruit, pineapple juice, bread, strange cereal, and more bread.  Delicioso.  Despues desayuno..I mean ..after breakfast..(I've actually been having thoughts in spanish these past few days..) we all boarded the bus and dodged traffic, narrowly escaping certain death as we headed out to a new (''new'' as in, we've never been there before.) little village called Villa Hermosa.  In english that means Beautiful Village.  It was definitely not a beautiful village.  There was trash and all sorts of junk everywhere.  It smelled a little funky, too, now that I think about it.  When we got there, we were at this little Police Station were we began picking up trash and doing yard work with the amazing Alejandro. I.e., the human weed-wacker.  As we went around the park and streets in the area picking up trash, three older men were watching one of the groups, laughing.  They just stood there watching and laughing for a while, until they stopped their snickering and started talking and pointing.  After a while they brought out a 3 liter bottle of Coke and 4 little cups and gave it to the group they were watching.  I just thought that was kinda cool :o) 

After we all regrouped, Mathew told us that the school that they had been trying unsuccessfully to reach out to finally agreed to give us thirty minutes of their time.  So we all performed some dances and gave some testimonies in front of the kids and teachers.  They loved it and it definitely opened up some doors that have been waiting to be opened.  God is good.  After sufficiently being drained of all non-exist ant energy, we returned to the sanctuary in the bus o' doom.  (Its really not that bad.  I just enjoy exaggerating.)  We ate lunch and had a few minutes to freshen up before we headed right back out to the very last VBS.  Upon arrival there was a big group of kids waiting for us. (Nothing new there.)  That is always a welcomed sight.  After a typical day of fun, games, dirt, and Jesus, we wrapped up the very last day of VBS.  It took forever to get through the mob of crying, desperate children to get to the bus.  I had to stop and kiss every little kid that pulled me down.  It was SOOO hard for everyone to say goodbye.  Its very difficult to describe the scene; one can only imagine.  After boarding the el massive busso, the children swarmed around the perimeter of the bus and were hitting the windows trying to get their favorite persons attention.  They had white streaks down their faces from their tears clearing a path through the caked on dirt.  I was sitting next to Kayla and I was a MESS, and she was no better.  It's hard not to cry when you give your heart to these kids and you have to leave them behind. 

Anyways!  I think i'm rambling now.  After crying all the way home (the one benefit of crying all the way home, is the fact that my vision was blurred and I didn't have to experience the horror of the peruvian traffic jams.) we ate some delicious dinner consisting of salad, bread, rice con carrots, and baked potatoes with TACO MEAT hidden inside them!  It was like a little happy surprise inside something that was kind of amazing.  I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner, despite the fact that we were all still sad about leaving our kiddos.  When we all finished our supper, we attended the nightly meeting of worship, devotions, and updates.  Those are always good.  Siempre! :o) Sorry that this was so long ..I didn't realize I had so much to say. 
We miss you guys! 
P. S. (Don't worry about the bus.  I really do like to exaggerate.  ;o)

Tara Ruppert aka..Shakira.

     Hola from Lima, Peru! 
After a delicious breakfast of eggs and cereal, the team left the sanctuary for our work projects.  We split up into 4 groups, and after 4 days straight of picking up trash along the Peruvian streets, my group was assigned to sweep sidewalks and a nearby soccer field in the ¨Beautiful Village.¨ 
I welcomed it wholeheartedly, and we were pleasantly surprised when a group of men who had gathered to watch us came over and brought us a 3 liter bottle of Coke and some cups as a ¨mucho gracias.¨ 
We were then allowed to perform three of our dances, and Jan and Lauren shared their testimonies, at a new school, one which was hesitant at first.  I believe, though, that the school principal was pleased with us, and hopefully we’ll be invited there again next year. 
After lunch, we drove to our VBS spot at Nocheto.  My group performed a song for the kids, ¨Thank You Lord for Making Me,¨ and then we performed our skit about the Good Samaritan.  The ¨This Life¨ and ¨Wake Me Up¨ dramas quickly followed, but I missed most of them because I was absorbed in a tickle fight with my little amiga, Stephanie. 
Her nickname, ¨Pistol¨, is quite accurate.  She eagerly led me around the soccer field beforehand, and managed to obtain a large collection of smiley face stickers.  These she stuck on my forehead, shirt, neck, and mouth, then laughed at the end result.  During the dramas, she lifted my arms above my head, made me keep them there, and gave me an innocent smile before tickling me.  As many times as I told her ¨no mas (no more)¨, she wouldn't’t.  Finally, she sat happily in my lap and rested her head on my shoulder, even planted some kisses on my cheek.  The kids were then put in groups of 10 and given the craft supplies for the day…paper bag puppets and crayons.  Some were very artistic, while others just copied what their group leaders drew as examples. 

After they were finished with the craft, we lined them up by the door and gave them bags of candy on their way out.  I hadn't’t seen Stephanie since I put her in her craft group, and found myself looking in the candy line for her.  Not seeing her anywhere, I feared that she’d already left without giving me a chance to say a last goodbye.  I felt awful, as she’d quickly claimed me as her friend a few days ago, and always ran up to me, never letting go of my hand.  Then, I turned back toward the inside of the playground and saw a familiar little girl in pigtails running toward me.  ¨Stephanie!¨ I shouted.  She ran into my arms and I felt a wave of relief wash over me as I scooped her up into a big hug.  She wrapped her little arms around my neck and hugged me back, giving me more kisses.  She practically refused to let go, even after I´d set her back down on the ground.  I felt torn, hating to see her go but knowing she needed to get out the door. 
Even after I knew I’d be going on this trip, I had no idea how much I´d bond with such an adorable and loving little girl.  One thing I’ve learned from this whole experience is that true love knows no boundaries.  Although my inability to understand many Spanish words kept me from communicating verbally with her, I thank God that I was still able to show her through actions what love is.                
Until We Return,
-Rachel Ruppert