Boys at the Beach
With 2 vehicles loaded down until they were nearly scrapping the ground, 18 of us sped out of El Anexo for the Beach. As soon as we hit the beach the soccer ball came out and an intense game ensued. Even as a young man I could hardly keep up with these guys. Meanwhile, Cody Whittacker kept an eye on the swimmers. Cody is a good swimmer, but often the better you are the more you recognize danger. It was high tide and the waves (most of them over our heads) slammed into the foundations of the hotels lining the beach. We kept up a vigorous watch since most of these kids can hardly swim. Soon, a storm rolled in overhead, the waves picked up even more, and even the bravest decided to take a break.
“I don’t want any alcohol inside our outside of your bodies on this trip,” I had told them, thinking that a bad swimmer is better than a drunken bad swimmer, but of course at least one of them had to stay home because he was inebriated. However, I forgot to mention no cigarettes, so they found used butts on the beach and smoked those. We didn’t mention anything; we didn’t have to. They know where we stand and all the time they said to one another (tongue-in-cheek), “That is bad for your health”.
At the end we took them out to the famous Suyapa Beach Hotel Restaurant to give them one of the richest meals of their lives. They loved it! For some of them, it was their first time eating in a nice restaurant. One of them, Armando, who spent a few weeks in jail earlier this year, did something very sweet. After eating the salad that came before the meal, he then asked for a box for the main course. At first I was frustrated. “Armando, that’s an expensive meal, you should eat it.” He replied, “I want to take it home to my mother.” I can only imagine that she had rarely if ever experienced a meal like that, and he wanted her to enjoy it, not himself.
The point of whole trip, of course, was to show them how much we care about them. “After investing in your minds, will you now let us invest in your hearts?” we asked, and then invited the whole group to a weekly Bible study. They all seemed very interested, and we hope to start up in 2 weeks. Please pray that goes well!
Clariza opened up her first savings account this week. We had a long introduction as to why we save, how we save, what pitfalls she will encounter when trying to save, etc. Then we introduced a plan for saving that we thought was within her reach and promised matching if she meets certain goals. She was so excited that she broke open her life saving’s piggy bank! If she does it right, it will be a big step towards a prosperous life in which she can also help others.
For three months we stopped adult computer classes at House of Hope. Why? Because no one showed up! Of course, our kids classes continued strong. However, slowly but surely the women got occupied with other things. We did not think anything of it. We just decided that they were not interested. Yet after 1 month of no classes, they began to ask if they had missed class. “No, there are no classes anymore.” Every week there were more and more women saying, “When are you going to start classes again?” I told them I didn’t know if I would or not. Finally, two weeks ago they all signed an agreement petitioning classes and promising to show up. I couldn’t help but laugh at the novelty of it. So, computer classes for the women are back by demand. We started up again this past week.