Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings to you in the Holy name of the Jesus Christ! We are well! Almost everyone is fully recovered, though Joe Deaugustino took a serious turn for the worse today. We were working hard this morning, and he just didn't feel well. My personal diagnosis was dehydration, supported by his 70 minutes of intense play last night, not to mention at high altitude while working very long days.
I finally got a hold of some pictures of our soccer camps! Today was exactly similar to Tuesday, beginning with construction work at the job site and at Pan de Vida, then both teams coming together for a soccer camp, dinner, then practice with Cumbre Alta tonight. Though it was not nearly so long as yesterday, it was still challenging in its own ways.
The soccer camps are generally dictated by the availability of facilities. Today, we arrived expecting to have 2 turf fields all to ourselves. Instead, we ended up with 3 paved volleyball courts with no nets. It was funny for me (not for coach) to watch him crumple up his practice plan and throw it on the ground. Coach Dreves is gifted by being very organized, and normally plans his practices in advance. Though it was challenging to adapt to the changing circumstances, he has recognized how beneficial it was to be flexible. Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. Being flexible requires stretching. Stretching is sometimes painful. It was awesome to see the kids get involved. The first day was an introduction day, yesterday was a step forward, but today was a sweet day of fun and excitement. They were really excited, and all of them seemed to make connections throughout the practice.
Today is Peter Tobias' birthday! Peter turns 22, and he also gave the message today at the Bible school. He spoke on the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) and how it surpasses understanding. He shares his birthday with our good friend Christian, the man who works with Pan de Vida. Christian let some of us throw some punches at him today (while wearing gloves), and he said Peter was one of the best punchers on the team. Feliz Compleanos Peter and Christian!
Construction continues. Literally, all that our team did today was carry buckets upon buckets of sand and stone up the hillside to the site where it is easier to mix into concrete. Very arduous work, but the time with brothers on a beautiful day is a gift that I was really thankful for. In addition, I continually recognize the value in this. Yesterday, Oscar (the founder of Pan de Vida) reminded us that we might be miracles in peoples lives. While I initially wrote that off as shallow Christian mumbo-jumbo, I realized how true he was. We don't know what our actions can do, and we will never know how for reaching they are. We are just fish and bread in the hands of a God who will multiply and provide. What is even cooler, is that we have the chance to bring life and change lives through simple actions like carrying buckets upon sackos upon buckets of sand up a hill.
I have also been thinking about the imagery of many grains of sand. It's astounding to think that those many tiresome trips up the hill were because of such minuscule things! One of our core values is that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. For us, this means that who we are as a team is more than who we are as individuals. There is something significant about us together. A beach is amazing because of the effect of many grains of sand. Carrying a bucket is hard because of the compounded weight of all of those grains of sand. They are finite and quantifiable by themselves. Together, they are infinite and intangible. I think the same is true of a culture, whether that be of a church, a team, or a family. Together, there is greater significance than by themselves, though the individual pieces are essential elements in comprising the whole. We as Christians are merely grains of sand being washed by oceans of God's grace and love. But when Christians are together, maybe we can form something beautiful. Maybe our purpose is insignificant by ourselves, but significant in the total effect!
Thank you all for reading and praying. Please pray for Joe. Dehydration shouldn't be taking lightly, and I will be monitoring him very closely over the next 24 hours to see how things progress. Thanks for your encouraging comments as well, it really blessed me to read them today.
God bless you all.
#31 on the field, #31 in your hearts.