If I had to rate each day, today would probably be my favorite. We are at our third village and Im stepping out of mens ministry. I havent really given much but pray while someone is sharing the word, although praying while others are sharing is something. Quite honestly, I have never prayed more in my life. I may have mentioned this already but wow, we pray everywhere all the time. Its how it should be. But today, I get to go to VBS with the kids and thats always fun and easy. The key to the kids are to just be one, Im pretty good at that. Im gonna take more candy than I can carry and bribe them to love me. What kid doesnt love candy? I practice all the time, Lillie (roommate) loves cake, candy and really anything that contains enough sugar to kill a squirrel. Anytime he gets mad that I havent cleaned up or taken my clothes out of the dryer, I throw sugar at him and he forgets. So thats my battle plan with the kids. VBS starts out with songs and dances that get the kids involved. Its fun to watch the interpreters work. They are very good at what they do. The American VBS team rocked it also. Arts and crafts and stickers, I found myself coloring in the corner and realized that I was there to be with them and not color. Dork.
All the kids, aside from the older "too cool" kids (who eventually colored too) were participating except for one, named Elios. He cried for the most part of the beginning and I wanted to see if my sugar tactic would work. I fed him more suckers than he knew what to do with. He would bite down on them and get surprised when he realized that it was hard candy and not soft. He had around eight. He trusted me after that. We got him to color and join the group. Then they all went over to play with the parachute and Elios and I played soccer. Lunch time came and I started walking to find the team, when all I hear is "BOM BOM!!" I look up and I see Nayara, VBS translator, point to me. Then, imagine, over 50 sugar mini zombies running at you with their hands up, wanting candy. Now, I immediately had two choices... drop the bag and make a run for it or stay and fight them one by one.... Luckily, Jesus transformed my heart, and only one person got hurt. I started to hand out candy and me being dumb, threw some in the air and the maniacs went after each other, knocking down a small one. Nayara then yelled at me. I actually didnt go anywhere without getting yelled at but thats no different than in the States.
I made it out alive and went back on the boat for lunch. Rick came up to me and asked if I had prayed about being baptized and I said that I had and am ready. He said "You have fifteen minutes". The realization of being here with my family of believers and being baptized in the Amazon river was truly a gift from God. Of course the thought popped in my head that I would get attacked by a group of hungry parana's but then I thought if I die by Parana, at least I was doing something awesome. Joey, Amie and myself are being baptized today. We all say a short testimony about how the grace and mercy of God brought us to where we are. I attempt to say mine and make sense but all I can do is stutter my way through. I have to look down cause Jesska always cries and that makes everyone else cry so I almost made it through but lost it at the end. Thanks Jess...We walk into the river and I lost it, again. Two years ago, if you would have told me where I would be today, I would have laughed, in your face, and probably pointed. I had a heart and mind set on the things that were empty, idolizing everything that appealed to me. Things that only satisfied the now and not the one thing that could endure. God transformed me. Thats not to say that Im good now or that everything is all better now but my heart is set after only one thing...Christ. Its that daily battle that we now get to fight after being saved. Jesus restores the broken world we have. The theme to this day is restoration. Jesus restored everything that I, you, since adam and eve had destroyed. I had always viewed God as an angry God who punishes. I was more concerned growing up that if I messed up, God would kill my family. I feared him but it was a wrong fear. So my answer was to stay away from him. Walking into that water, with my family with me, I felt loved by God. God loves. If you are reading this, its proof that he loves. He stills has us here. He has shown mercy to us day in and day out because he loves us. With God being over all things: life, death, good times, hard times, its an example of his love by grace and mercy. To think that I took and take advantage of that mercy everyday, is hard to understand. Why couldn't I do this sooner? Why did it take this long and after so many trials and dark spots, why couldn't I see his glory?..... We professed that Jesus Christ is our lord and savior and were dunked. David led us into worship as some Amazonians watched. I want to thank God for my family and friends again who were apart of this trip, and really the whole life that has been Chris Klein, in whatever capacity God placed you. Seeing everything come together the way it did is just humbling and another reminder that God is in control and no matter how you think things will happen, it will happen his way and I am thankful for that.
The rest of the day took place like the others did with praise and worship and of course soccer. A good concept, you wake up praising his name, do life praising his name, eat praising his name, get owned in competitive sports praising his name and end the day praising his name. Feels complete and how life was designed. Tomorrow is the last day of villaging and David and I just came up with a plan to take control of the boat and never leave....