Monday, June 20, 2011

Here they come!

I spent the morning at the airport on Friday.   First saying good bye to the Medical Brigade and then pacing the floor waiting for my Atlanta peeps (translation: friends) to arrive!   Every group is so different. Of course each group is made up of individuals but each group has its own mini-culture.  The last group, a medical brigade, was the "Granita Team!"  They stop everyday at On The Run, a gas station and convenience store to get coffee granitas - a multi-year ritual.  The Atlanta youth team is raucous fun, sort of like a box of puppies.  They keep a list of funny things said on the trip for a "quote tee shirt!"  (I think the quote tee shirt is mythical but adding to the list adds to the laughter at the moment.)  Since they arrived we have practiced the "minute to win it" games they had planned for the SBV kids, had a Field Day with the kids, visited Chimineke, the awesome children's museum, attended church at SBV and then went shopping at Valley.   Next up:  hard work.

So, when the work does start, granitas and horsing around fall away and as Alex, 18, wrote on his facebook wall:  ...tomorrow is the beginning of spreading the love of God to the amazing people of Flor de Campo and San Buenaventura!! Get ready here we come!! 

How true that is.  Whether it is holding clinics or doing construction or, as the next team will do, praying intensely over every child and staff member, each team member on every team pours out their energy, love, and faith.   I love to observe the hearts of uber cool teens or very professional professionals melt as they interact with the people God puts in their paths.  One pretty crusty doctor (in a good way!) delighted frightened children he was examining by singing a very eclectic mix of songs at the top of his lungs.   Hayley, a rising senior in college, wept at SBV - "this place makes me cry" (in a good way!)  It was such a blessing to me to get to know her and her heart for mission, never mind her stamina.  After working all day at a clinic she was the last one to stop working at night preparing for the next day's clinic.  A new member of the current team, Jacob, spent a long time teaching 3 little boys (4 and 5) how to play baseball.  He was so patient and gentle with them.  (Michael and Jill -- be so proud!)  Joey, one of the moms on the trip, sat patiently on Saturday while the little girls painted coat after coat after coat of nail polish on her finger nails.  Every nail was a different color, several of them glittery!  The male readers of this blog don't understand how uncomfortable it is to have 10 layers of polish on your nails but believe you me, it is awful.  Yet, Joey smiled and laughed with them as the polish piled on.

Team cultures are like corporate cultures or national cultures.  They develop over time and each culture has its own set of practices, rituals, lingo, and priorities.   It is fascinating to me, a former culture change consultant for IBM.  The more striking thing about these team cultures is what they have in common.  The members work tirelessly, without complaint.  They are flexible and accommodating.  They are kind to each other, to me and the rest of the Casa LAMB staff, and to everyone they meet.  They are generous in spirit and in gifts.   They are thrilled to be here helping LAMB.  (I am not sure they even realize the sacrifices they made to be here.)  Most of all they love the Lord and serving Him with gladness and singleness of heart.  

I am particularly moved by the youth who so openly and joyfully proclaim their faith.   They make it "cool" to love Jesus!  When I think about the youth from Summerville, Tennessee, Atlanta, and all the others who have been here this week, my heart soars.  I want to shout from the rooftops,

"Our youth are beginning to spread the amazing love of God...Get ready!  Here they come!"

(and we ol' folks ain't done yet either!)

The teens on the Atlanta team

Medical Brigade!
Ester moved to tears while translating during the Pentecost service
Dr. Ken pondering which song to sing?
Alex and Kennet waiting for church to start
Jacob teaching Kennet to play ball

Alyssa and Rony

Hayley reflecting, as so many of these young people do, on what God is calling her to do