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Bible School

 The aspect of the trip which both required the most preparation and was most rewarding was the Bible School we put on for the first five days.  Here is a summary of what went on.
To help draw a crowd we took turns being clowns.  As the children would gather in the courtyard the clowns would run around the neighborhood and, with the help of some of the youth, invite children to the Bible School.  Everyday more and more children showed up!
We would begin by leading very active songs in Spanish. 
Then we would go directly into the lesson before the children would get distracted.  Those of us who could read Spanish took turns but we eventually gave it over to the nationals who spoke Spanish and who could minister more effectively then we could.
Once the lesson was over the kids would storm into the shelter to watch the puppet show.  Our goal was to empower the church to do this ministry on its own.  By the last day the youth group was completely running the puppet show - and doing it much better than we were!  We left the puppets and the stage for the church. 
One of the favorite parts for the children was the craft.  They loved taking home their crowns, signs, bracelets and tracts.  Kudos to Brenda who spent countless hours before the trip preparing for these few moments of eternal significance.
The most chaotic time was when the clowns whipped out the balloons and pumps and created before the children's eyes dogs, cats, giraffes, elephants and even sombreros!  We unleashed almost 1000 balloons during our stay at the VBS and in the neighborhood.
Some of the days instead of balloons we gave out tracts for children such as this one from the International Bible Society.  Surprisingly, they were just as excited to receive these, though they still asked if the balloons would be back the next day!