Puerto Vallarta Update 1
After our twelve hour trek from the East Campus parking lot to our hotel, Casa Anita, downtown PVR, our adventure has kicked off to a great start! Thank you all for your prayers. The travel here went off without a hitch. Our student leaders are here, working side-by-side with other churches from Evanston and Virginia.
Day One – We settled into the hotel, which is comfortably nestled up two sides of a steep hill overlooking the city and the beach, which is several minutes’ walk away. The guys are staying in 3 rooms on one side of the hill and the girls are in 4 rooms on the other side of the hill. Our home base for the eventing meals and group time is in a community center which is only a few minutes’ walk down the hill around a busy intersection and through some old cobblestone streets. Keep praying for safety as we make this walk daily.
Day Two – After our breakfast and morning devotions, we were bussed from Casa Anita to our worksite across town and approximately 40 minutes away. Mario, our host and local pastor here, told us that Puerto Vallarta is made up of approximately 400 neighborhoods. His church is located in the Progresso neighborhood where several dirt roads, vintage volkswagon beetles and uniformed school children work and play and the dogs and chickens compete with the busy urban traffic.
When we exited the busses, we first had a short meeting at Mario’s church, planted seven years ago in the middle of the city under a large tree. Today there is a park and a new building that serves as a beacon of light for the community. A few short blocks away we found our worksite: another church building foundation 3300 square feet. The work crew chisled out several foundation posts today to tie in the new foundation walls which we will be pouring concrete for, later in the week.
In addition to the steel chisels, hammers, safety goggles, etc. we also fed 75 children and a dozen of their parents at the adjacent basketball court. It was there that we set up our make-shift shelter, PA system and drama center next to the traveling kitchen.
This morning, we prayed asking God to hold off the rain and he answered our prayers. As soon as we put the tarp away and packed up all the food, the rain came.
We are a little sweaty and wet, but so grateful that God has brought us here. Tonight we heard a message about the Love of God from Luke 15, and we learned that we cannot earn his love, we don’t deserve it, but like the prodigal son, we must turn around, and receive God’s love in order to be able to give it.
Many testimonies were shared tonight about tangible ways our students felt God’s love in the arms of the ninos.
Here are a few pictures of what we experienced on our first work day today.