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Hola amigos,

Today was our most exciting day in El Salvador thus far because today we received our first group of campers! After a brief run through of what each activity time would look like, we scarfed down a delicious breakfast of ham sandwiches and got ready to welcome them in typical Pine Cove fashion, AKA: lots of screaming and jumping.

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When all the campers were under the pavillion, we broke off into our individual cabins consisting of one El Salvadorian counselor and one Pine Cove counselor. For this session, we ended up with five boy cabins and two girl cabins. Almost all of our campers are teenagers. Once all bags were unpacked and beds were made, each cabin headed down to the field to get instructions for each activity time: archery, Capture the Flag, arts and crafts, and the local favorite, soccer.

Lots of games and sweat later, the cabins went back to the main part of camp to plan their cheers, make nametags and create a flag with their cabin mascot. When everyone reconvened for lunch the cabins were asked to cheer the loudest in hopes that they would get to pick up their lunch first. Each cabin got up in front of the room and performed the cheer that they had worked on; though it was hard to understand what each group was saying, because all of the cheers were in Spanish. it was so exciting to see how quickly all of the kids had bonded with one another when they were working on something together. Plus, you don’t have to know another language to know when something is funny.

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The people of El Salvador sure do know how to cook! For lunch, we feasted on a delicious meal of salad, rice, beef, and rolls that would give Mama Schubert’s a run for her money. After an extremely busy morning, the kids had free time and spent most of it relaxing in their cabin getting to know their new friends and counselors.

That didn’t last too long though. Soon enough we were once again down at the field ready to play some new games: dodgeball, then a hybrid of kickball and baseball, and a cross between Red Rover and Under/Over. We refreshed ourselves with cucumbers soaked in lime juice or jello before returning to the main point of camp: Jesus.

This week’s lesson is all about the price of following Jesus. The lesson today used Luke 9:23-24 which says, “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.'” That’s humbling for all of us, and I think we were all blown away at the depth of questions and blanket statements of faith and promises to serve in response to the lesson from the children.

Once again it was time to eat, and in addition to another incredible meal, we got to have El Salvadorian hot chocolate, which was heavily seasoned with cinnamon. Muy delicioso! We waited for our food to settle before beginning our evening game. Each cabin was sent on a scavenger hunt in the dark to collect the signatures of different counselors who were hidden in the jungle; the children somewhat knew where to find them because they were either making a loud noise or wearing a colored headlamp.
After all the signatures were collected, we made our way back to the pavillion where we had a time of worship singing the same songs in both English and Spanish. Jimbo then gave a message over John 10 and shared with us how much we are like the sheep and Jesus is like our Shepherd. Sheep don’t know what is best for them, they need direction, and they need a Protector. How fortunate are we that God is willing and able to be our Shepherd!

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And that’s a wrap, so excited to see what the Lord is doing already and can’t wait to see what else He has in store!

This post was written by Emily “Blesses” Springer. Thanks Emily!