Waking up at the crack of dawn, we felt exhilarated at the thought of what was to come, while at the same time a nervousness that was driven by us both being first time Mission-Trip-goers. The church experience in itself was so different than anything that we had ever been to. Whether it was the ribbon dancers or the bearded man consistently blowing the horn every five minutes, the environment was unlike anything I had ever seen. The humbling effect of the sheer joy that was pouring out of the mouths and hearts of everyone around us made worship so moving for us, regardless of the language barrier.
Next came meeting the children, and spending a day filled with an active volcano and ice cream with them. For me (Thomas), I struggled to spew out my forced, broken Spanish in the first half hour with the children, often being responded to with hostile stares and looks of confusion. That’s when it all began to fall into place. The bond I created with the four boys I was accompanied by- Denis, “Neymar Jr”, Angel, and Andrew”- was something so pure, and it transcended seemingly large problems like the clash of cultures and languages. This answered all my prayers, and really portrayed the power of God to me, aiding and assisting me in my conversation with the children. I’m not sure if the always present laughter was due to the actual things I was saying, or my lack of ability to get across what I wanted to say, it was still such a memorable, amazing experience.
My (Douglas) experience with the children was a bit different from Thomas. I wasn’t able to have a 1 on 1 conversation with the kids at first, which was very disappointing, but that disappointment quickly turned into a feeling of peace and humility. Seeing all my friends talking with the kids and seeing them laugh and smile made the whole experience very special to me. I was also very pleased to eventually be able to talk to 1 of the boys whose name was “Neymar Jr” even though it was for a short time. As a whole, my experience with the kids was very peaceful and joyful and it’s something I will never forget.
-Thomas Harley & Douglas Ponce