SEPTEMBER 22, 2007 (Arrayanes Church)
WOW!! Another interesting week! I am seeing more and more reasons why we do this. We aren’t preaching sermons, we don’t have a song service, and there’s nothing liturgical about this event. It is just a simple outreach to new and fringe youth in order to help them know Christ and make them feel welcome in the church.
Before I continue with the report, I want to share with you the most unheard-of thing that happened this week. About midway through the evening, one of the students who we picked up the first week in Santa Fe lost control of his emotions and did something to another student which made him bleed (further details are not important). What is interesting though is that the student who was left bleeding was one of our fringe/semi-regular attendees in the youth group who also has a short fuse. When I arrived, a number of students came up to me with fire in their eyes telling me that there was a fight (which was almost the truth). I talked to the bleeding victim who was defiantly shook up and tried to calm him (and others) down a bit to get some information. I asked Pastor Gollo, Martin (Student Leader and team leader of the new student) to accompany me in a confrontation with the new student. As we got his story, I had Pastor Gollo bring in the bleeding one. After talking maybe for about 10 minutes, they agreed to forgive each other! When I asked the new student from Santa Fe if he would like to apologize and ask forgiveness for what he’d done his words were, “I don’t know how to do that, I’ve never asked forgiveness for anything before.” What an open door! The student leaders have been sharing the Bridge Illustration (from Navigator’s 2:7-book 3) this month with their teams and I wrapped up what had been taught showing him that we need to ask Christ for forgiveness because we all have a death sentence. He understood and realized that he had done something wrong. I then told him that in Revelations 3:20, the Bible says that Christ is at the door of our hearts, knocking. He would like to come in and have fellowship with us, but we need to invite him, he will not push the door down and force himself in. The new student said he would like to invite Christ into his heart, so I had Martin lead us in a simple prayer of repentance and acceptance of Christ.
In short, two young teenagers 14 and 17 who were pretty upset at each other end up reconciling and one receives Christ into his life for the first time (all within a half an hour)! I still am amazed that this actually happened. Our new brother’s name is Valente. Please pray for him that God would protect him and that the seed that has been planted would grow. I was impressed to see him in Church the next day for the first time ever!
That is what this event has been teaching us as a group this year. We are seeing that through the struggles (challenges) of life, we can make a choice: either we wallow in our sorrow or learn from the situation. The students are learning very practical things this year and that excites me.
Ok, now for the report…
Once again, we began where the race ended last week at the Arrayanes Church. After a time of team devotions, one by one in the order in which they arrived last week, the teams went searching for a hidden envelope somewhere on the church property (the children’s classroom) with their team’s name. They then counted the columns of the speed soccer court to receive their next clue.
From there they had to run to the baseball field where a staff member was waiting for them. Instead of using vehicles, the staff member accompanied them back to Cofradía by foot. They could get a ride if one showed up (not very common from Arrayanes to Cofradía), but once they got to the bridge, they had to cross the river carrying their staff member; they could not go over the bridge.
Los Convertidos carrying Feliciano
Los Victoriosos carrying Horacio
Los Perseguidos carrying Hugo (Gena's brother)
Los Crucificados carrying Pastor Gollo
Los Sabios carrying Lauro
La Vision carrying Gaby
In the end, each team received a ride (two teams in each ride) back to the Kiosk in Cofradía where they had to figure out what a word was in order to continue. The envelope looked like this “_ _ N _ U _ T _” (they do not know what “nut” is and it had nothing to do with this activity). They could buy letters for 10 points each. The word was “BANQUETE” or Banquet in English. They were sure to figure out what was next…
Each year we have done a “banquet” Fear Factor style. It has always been a hit, and this year a number of the students were not able to get down the items set before them. Needless to say, the three buckets placed at the tables were not clean when we were done! Last year was amazing, so we had to do something interesting this year in order to…keep their interest.
Each team had to have one person participate in each food or drink item. They all received points for placing, but if they were unable to finish it, their team did not receive any points.
Some of these things may sound mean, but keep in mind, the students love it and no one is forcing them to participate.
Dr. Pepper (this is a soft-drink that most people think tastes like medicine—we did this two years ago as well).
Warm sugarless lime water, burnt cow milk (not processed, the cow was milked in the morning), and blended cactus (licuado de nopal—this is a very gooey and slimy drink).
Raw (but washed) fish eyes.
Garlic clove (big enough to have to bite it).
Unripe banana (very green).
Enchiladas (with peanut butter, horse radish sauce, carrot, syrup, and mustard spread on top—same thing with the Dr. Pepper, most people here don’t like peanut butter or mustard).
A burnt mustard filled cupcake.
We also had two “flashback” items that were featured in last year’s menu:
Half of an onion and a Jalapeño pepper.
Each student was given some ice and peanut butter to take away the hot sensation.
We were going to do another one of last year’s hits, cow eyes, but there were none available.
We had to improvise on their final challenge of the day because it was already dark. We tied each team up individually and they had to run together into the meeting hall where a three liter coke was waiting for them. They had to drink the coke and the team that finished last did the chores (cleaning up the church in preparation for the next day’s service).
It was a very eventful evening and it’s something the students will be talking about all year long (they still talk about last year).
Each week new students arrive, some don’t continue, some do. We had 47 students this week and a total of 69 in all who have participated at least one week. Next week we have the FINAL CHALLENGE and a guest speaker from Mazatlán. Who’s going to win? The agenda is packed with games, skits from each of the six teams, worship, preaching, and prayer.
I have a very busy week this week, but I’ll see what I can do about putting some video clips together of the banquet and post them later.