Hola from Puerto Rico! We wanted to share with everyone how the Summer of 2016 is progressing so far and some things that God has revealed to us personally. We, by our own admission, don’t do a very good job of keeping our support group “in the know,” nor anyone else for that matter, and we apologize. We get caught up in the busyness of trying to chase after what WE think God wants us to “do.” In this time of godly business we often hit some of our lowest points of spiritual closeness with God. Now don’t get us wrong, we are enjoying EVERY second God is laying before us with teams, but He is also teaching us that He is the one that is good and only Him. He is also the builder, and orchestrator, of all that goes on here at LYNC8! This, without a doubt, has been the most productive beginning to a mission season we have ever seen. In this, though it has been easy to forget, it is the Blesser, not the Blessing, that is MOST important!
Unless the LORD builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the LORD watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.
We began our summer with a meeting at the Aguada government office that was unexpected, but has been prayed about for quite some time. The officials, along with the mayor, passed a provision to grant us an abandoned park that is 1 minute from the bakery. Our vision is to use this park to help reach out to the community! The papers were signed and submitted to us with a thank you for what the past and future teams have done here on the island. To say God’s provisions are amazing would be an understatement of epic proportion! This happened before we had our first team…
The first team arrived in early May and was an Athletes in Action made up of college basketball players from Covenant College in Georgia. We could not have asked for a harder working team to begin the mission summer! They painted a church in Aguadilla during the day and then in the afternoons would offer basketball clinics to at risk children in the community of San Antonio. This had an amazing impact on the kids of the area, specifically because this is where we are placing the majority of our focus this summer.
The AIA team left on a Sunday and another team arrived on Monday. This was a unique team due to the fact that we hosted this team on the other side of the island in Fajardo. A small church that is in dire need for some TLC on their property and in their neighborhood asked for some help and 13 college women volunteered to go and be God’s hands and feet there. A little background for this community is that half of the teenage girls in this one area are either currently pregnant, or already have children. It is plagued by drug addiction and alcohol abuse among the teens, along with a general lack of hope. This team worked hard and endured sunburns and sweltering heat daily, but they battled on each day! It’s not often that teams get to see the direct fruit of their labor, however God gave this team an exception. We were able to participate in 2 baptisms while there and the outreach added members to a church that is in desperate need of a shot of energy!
This team had a chance to continue their trip back in Aguada for the remaining 5 days. In these 5 days, they used the time as a time of reflection on how God is moving in their lives and where their relationships with God stood currently. I honestly don’t believe anyone on the team expected God to do MORE than He had already done, but… in the course of people being open, honest and vulnerable, God worked on ALL of our lives. Baggage that had been carried for years was left and self worth was defined… God’s worth for our lives! In the process we had 3 more baptisms and life change became the theme of the week!
Coming off this week we had the awesome chance to have a dear family of our’s from our home church at Southside come and stay with us! Lee, Melanie, Jacob and Jackson Qualls stayed a week with us to help us clean out the park we had just received. They were also able to participate in homeless outreach in Mayaguez, feeding and praying for the homeless on the streets. We also had the opportunity to spend the afternoon at a children’s home, Regazo de Paz, loving on and playing with orphaned and abandoned children.
Our final team to this point was a mixed team from Indiana Wesleyen University, along with members from Cincinnati, a mother and her two sons from Oklahoma, and two friends from Central Kentucky. We felt like we had half of the United States covered on this trip! The expertise of a couple of the team members was composting and micro gardening. We were able to put in a compost pile for an organization, plan for some future gardens, and lead two seminars for the communities. The team also was given the task of preparing two properties for upcoming children summer camps. At these two camps there will be opportunities to share the Gospel with about 200 children from some of the poorest areas of all Puerto Rico! The before and after transformation of the properties was amazing… A lot like our lives after we spend time with Jesus. This was our direct reminder that we don’t labor in vain when God goes before us and lays the foundations!
We are excited to see what the rest of this summer holds for The LYNC8 Project and the teams headed this way. Thank you for taking this journey with us!
Chad and Chandi
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