Jambo! I can’t believe Monday is nearly over, and we have been at Point of Grace for nearly a week. The day started with an extra hour to sleep in (much needed!) and an incredible breakfast as usual. The men then set off to get a full work day in on the chicken coop, and the ladies prepped for a big day of community events.
The chicken coop is supposed to hold somewhere between 500 to 1000 chickens. The building tools are pretty limited: a few roughed up hammers, a homemade A-frame ladder, and a few saws. Once the coop is up and running, the goal is for the children to be able to get an egg and chicken at least once a week. Currently, they get these proteins only once every 3-4 months and enjoy beef only once a week. The remaining meals are made up of rice, cabbage, kale, collard greens, and something similar to grits. The children love checking on coop’s progress and we know how much this project means to them.
The ladies’ first priority for the day was to distribute the necklaces that the 2nd and 4th graders at Central Lutheran School made for the primary students at Point of Grace. The children LOVED their necklaces and were sincerely grateful for their thoughtfulness!From there, we were invited to join the women of the community for introductions and fellowship at a house close by. Pastor Stecker joined us to lead the devotions and presented a great message about Jesus washing the disciples feet. As a surprise for the elders of the community, each of us washed their feet and trimmed their nails. This simple task that we take for granted has become increasingly more difficult for these women to carry out on their own. They were extremely grateful, and we were honored to be able to provide this act of servitude to such strong women that are important pillars of their community.After we washed their feet, we all enjoyed a soda (a very special treat!) and learned about how these ladies have built a community organization that works together to create and sell crafts and jewelry within their region. The proceeds are divided between the women and help them build a better life for their children, their community, and ultimately their country. Needless to say, we were more than happy to purchase these beautiful goods and will treasure them as reminders of our time here with them today.
As our time together came to a close, we had one more special gift for the women to give thanks for their hospitality. A member from Emanuel sewed and donated several beautiful fabric bags to our mission, and we filled them with luxury items like sugar, salt, tea, toothpaste, Vaseline, and a washcloth (shout out to the Woodburn Knitting Guild for the beautiful handmade washcloths!). The ladies invited us to join them in dancing and singing before we had to say goodbye for the day. It was a perfect morning and we are incredibly grateful to them for their kindness and friendship!
We ended our day by teaching the 1st-3rd grade students at Point of Grace how to properly brush their teeth and wash their hands. We were able to give each child a brand new toothbrush and several were even able to take a large tube of toothpaste home to share with their family. We learned from Lawerence, the Elementary Principal, that it is not uncommon for many of these children to receive a new toothbrush once every 3 years. I hope their bright smiles and eager faces share the thanks they feel for all of your toothpaste and toothbrush donations over the past year. Because of your generosity, their sweet smiles will last for many more years to come!
During our meeting with the women today, one phrase that they repeated again and again was “God is good, all the time. For it is in his nature.” That phrase is a wonderful way to end our blog post for today, because it reflects the present and persistent faith that these people have in the face of some unbearable hardship. It gives me peace and with that I will wish you all goodnight!
-Shannen (with help from John) 🙂