2019 El Dorado Trip Blog

In 2019, we started a partnership with the The Alliance in a Creative Access Country (CAC) that we've given the code name "El Dorado." The goal of this partnership is to come alongside the national church to support the work that God is doing in that region, as well as build relationships.

Saturday, 6/22/19 - Day 8

We’ll have to catch you up on Friday’s activities in person, but it was a great day of training leaders and blessing them with donations we all brought! We also prayed one last prayer over the new building and for the surrounding community (pictured)!

Then, after 5 days of hard work, today we enjoyed a full day of tourism in the capital city today (Saturday)! From convertible rides through town, to a few hours at the beach, it was a welcomed day of slowing down. But God’s work wasn’t done yet - while at the beach, NINE Daybreakers were baptized in the ocean, each one followed by us all singing a verse or a chorus of a worship song together. God is good! 

After the beach we headed to a local restaurant for our last dinner together in country! 

We can’t wait to see you all tomorrow afternoon and tell you more about what God did today and every single day we’ve been on this trip together. Pray for a great last night here together and safe flights home! Hasta mañana (Until tomorrow)!

Thursday, 6/20/19 - Day 6

Found this (thought to be previously lost) post!

Today we skipped breakfast at our hostels and headed to the church site for an early morning breakfast together (we arrived by 7:15am and our treat was pancakes, fresh cut ham, fresh fruit, yogurt, and cereal). This allowed us to get some concrete work in before the full weight of the heat of the day set in. A few of us commented that it even felt “cool” when we arrived to the site, which we haven’t felt since we’ve been here (with the exception of the AC in each of our hostels - yes, we know we’re lucky!) 

After breakfast the concrete mixing commenced. We had assembly lines for every part of the process, from the rock shoveling, to the concrete mixing, to the pouring of the mixed concrete on the roof. With no VBS prep today (yesterday was our last VBS day), it was all hands on deck which allowed us to finish the the roof in under 5 hours! Whew! That was even with 2 “teams” of workers changing jobs every 20 minutes so that everyone could take frequent breaks from the heat. 

Once the work was done we shared a beautiful moment of celebration together with our team and the workers, cheering and singing some worship songs together! It’s only lunch time and they day has already been so full and rewarding! 

We have a few minutes of downtime now before lunch (1:00pm) and then after we eat, instead of making visits around the village, we will actually head back to our hostels to clean up and rest for the afternoon before heading to one final dinner out in the town where we're staying. After dinner we'll have time to walk around the town we’re staying in, and then we'll regroup to debrief and affirm each other together. 

It’s been a FULL 3 and a 1/2 days of construction and kids ministry, and we’re all in need of some downtime for sure! Pray that God would multiply the work we’ve complete over the last few days and that He would bless this place and it’s reach in this community! 

Tomorrow we will be back at the church one for time for a leaders training  of regional pastors that come to the site every 3 months or so to be built up and poured into. We’ll need to bring all of our luggage with us tomorrow since we’ll be leaving directly from the church site to drive around 3 hours

to the capital city.

Once in the capital city, we’ll check into new hostels for Friday and Saturday nights. While there, we’ll do some tourism and get to enjoy the beach! 

Then Sunday, we fly home! What a bittersweet feeling it is to know that day is coming! 

If we don’t get to send another update before then, keep praying for our time together and that God will continue to use us individually and together as a team. And of course, pray for safe travel in country as well as on the return trip home!

(This post's photo was taken at a local ocean view spot that we got to visit today after dinner and before our walk around the town we're staying in.)

Thursday, 6/20/19 - Day 6

Soooo we wrote an entire post earlier today, but then the internet went out and we lost it... So sad! At any rate we had a great day of finishing the roof of the church! 


Tomorrow is our last day at the church site before traveling  hours to the capital city in the afternoon, enjoying a day of tourism on Saturday, and heading home on Sunday - bittersweet! 


Keep praying for energy and safe travels in country, and then home! Fair warning, we may not be able to post again before we see you. If not, THANK YOU for your faithful prayers for us. What an amazing week we've had!

Wednesday, 6/19/19 - Day 5

Yesterday we ended up having over 100 VBS kids, so thanks for your prayers that the reach would be even further than the day before!


Some other highlights from later in the day yesterday were that Joe was able to share his testimony with some of the native construction workers we have been working on the roof with - none of them are yet believers. It was awesome to see him share his heart and them listen so intently as it was translated! Plus, we had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, so overall it was another great day!


Today was another full day of construction, where the ladies on the team actually got to do some manual labor since the VBS prep was quick!


After lunch and before VBS today, the pastor of the church was able to share his testimony of coming to Christ with us. His heart and what they do are so inspiring! We’ll be sure to share more when we return!


The church site itself is about a quarter of an acre - about half of which is taken up by construction and the other half of which we've been using for all the VBS activities. Today we needed ALL that space as we had over 150 kids! Loco (Crazy)!


It’s amazing how God has answered our prayer and doubled the amount of kids from day 1 to day 3! And it’s similarly amazing that even when we’ve been drained by the heat and hard work of the morning, we still have the energy to engage with and love on all the kiddos that have come each day. We know you've been praying for that. God is answering your prayers!


We're grabbing a late dinner on site and then heading back to our hostels to shower, debrief, and affirm each other.


Tomorrow we’ll have another morning of construction and then an afternoon of visiting families in the church village. Keep praying for energy and that we lean into God’s power as we do His work together here!

Tuesday, 6/18/19 - Day 4

We shared our post yesterday with limited details about VBS, so we wanted to give a few more details about how it went. We had almost 75 neighborhood kids come to the church from 4-6pm for a time of worship, Bible stories, crafts, and games! There were babies all the way to 13-year-olds that we split into 3 groups and lead around to the different stations over the two hours. That will be the structure of VBS for all 3 days of it. As the kids began arriving, we gave each one a name tag - the excitement they had just for those name tags alone was humbling and it set the tone for the afternoon - so much excitement from every single kid, no matter the age. Even onlooking parents couldn’t help but smile! Like we said yesterday, our hearts are full! 


Last night before our debrief time, we had the chance to walk around the town we’re staying in and stop for ice cream together - there were two flavors: coco and tiramisu - both delicioso! 


This morning we had another wonderful breakfast at our hostels before heading back to the church site for another morning of construction by the guys and VBS prep for the girls. Since we prepped a bunch of materials yesterday, though, the girls had the opportunity to go on a prayer walk around the village, praying for the people and the work that God is doing here. We also prayed for the kids whose parents are not yet believers and who don’t allow their kids to come to any church activities. It was a beautiful time of God breaking our hearts for what breaks His. Pray that today will be another time of excitement from the kids and that God will work in their hearts so that they’re encouraged to share the Good News with other kids who have not yet had the opportunity to come hear it for themselves. Tomorrow will be our last day of VBS and we know God is going to do amazing things through it, but still, keep praying!


Changing gears a bit, today we enjoyed a special dish for lunch that is typically reserved for special occasions such as birthdays or weddings: a savory cake-looking rice and meat mound (potentially in a future picture) accompanied by plantain chips, roasted pumpkin, and some fresh, raw veggies, with homemade ice cream for dessert! (Have your family member tell you about the beef we ate for dinner yesterday, too... We’re literally eating like kings here!) Back to the rice cake, though - Victoria got to ceremonially cut it to celebrate her wedding anniversary (which is today)! She says Happy Anniversary, Todd!


Speaking of holidays, we all wished the Dads in the group Happy Father’s Day on Sunday. Some even enjoyed special notes from their family members hidden in their luggage (thanks, everyone)! Happy (belated) Father’s Day as well to all the Dads back at home. Thanks for your sacrifice there as we serve here!

Monday, 6/17/19 - Day 3

This morning we each ate breakfast at our individual hostels - between our group of 17 and our hosts, we’re spread out between 5 hostels within a couple blocks of each other. 


After breakfast, we met around 9:00am to head to the church site for the day. Once there, we worked to both prepare for our first afternoon of VBS ministry (the girls) and lay rebar (the guys) on the roof of the house we’re helping to finish construction on. After a long morning of work, we took a break for lunch around 2:00pm and finished out the afternoon with VBS (4 to 6pm) before eating dinner at the church, and then heading back to our hostels for our debrief time together. 


It’s been a day with lots of sun, lots of sweat, and lots of full hearts! Keep praying for God to fill our tanks as we empty them out to those we’re serving. Pray that our VBS ministry would be a blessing and that we can build lasting relationships with those we serve.


Also pray that George doesn’t bring home a stray puppy from the church site, because the temptation is real! 

Sunday, 6/16/19 - Day 2

We had an early morning of heading to the airport (3:15am!) but luckily had no problems getting out of the country. Our international flight departed around 6:30am and we arrived at our destination by about 7:30am. 


Getting through customs was a breeze (our training yesterday paid off!), despite many of us being anxious about the possible questions we could be asked. Although, one of our Envision hosts WAS pulled aside and asked 5-10 minutes of extra questions.


Once we got out of the airport, we headed to a local pastor’s house for breakfast before heading about an hour and a half southwest to a church service in the location we’ll be spending most of our work time this week.


During the service, Dan Matarrese helped lead worship, and then Lee, Matt, and Leslie were able to share their testimonies. Pastor Ric closed out the service with a message similar to one he had preached recently to our Daybreak church family!


After the service we shared lunch together provided by the church and neighborhood folks (roasted pork, rice and beans, sweet potato soup and fries, and fresh guava, cherries, and pineapple - yum!)


Then came the time to gift our host pastor his birthday present... if you yet hadn’t heard, we purchased and brought a bike with us for him because his current bike was in need of repairs that we couldn’t get parts for, and the main way he does ministry in the region is by bike! Needless to say he was beyond grateful - don’t worry we got a bunch of video and photos of the moment to share upon our return!


Around 3:00pm we piled back on the bus and headed to the town we’ll be staying in through Thursday night. Each day we’ll drive 45 min each way to work at the church, returning to our hostels at night to debrief and sleep. Luckily after almost 2 full days of travel we were able to get back to our hostels today in time to shower and rest before another dinner out on the town with our hosts. 


We’re just about to wrap up the night together now (9:00pm) with some worship and debriefing together before turning in and getting the most sleep we’ve seen all trip! Pray that we continue to push through exhaustion as we serve together. 


Thanks, everyone! 

Saturday, 6/15/19 - Day 1

We arrived at to the airport safely and on time. Hooray! However, when we got to the check-in counter, we had a hiccup with one teammates' name spelled wrong on their boarding pass that caused us to need to get in touch with the emergency line of our travel agency. This gave us our first unexpected opportunity for the week to go to God in prayer. While one of our leaders waited with this person to get things sorted out, the rest of us proceeded to the gate for breakfast and to board our flight, praying that all would work out and that our full team of 17 would be able to board our flight together. We continued to pray as we got down to the last few minutes of boarding, even as we were in line in the tunnel about ready to board. And then, GOD CAME THROUGH! Despite multiple phone calls and being held up at other points throughout the airport, the 2 held up team members came booking it down the boarding tunnel just at the last minute which commenced hugging and cheering. God is good!

The rest of traveling went off without a hitch and we have enjoyed an afternoon of lunch and training at the stateside Envision site where we'll be spending the night. Before dinner, we shared a time of worship and sharing some of our stories together. After a full day of traveling, training, and team building, we headed to a local pizza place with our hosts where we were quickly served, as one team members called it, rotisserie gas powered fire breathed pizza! We followed that by a time of prayer and affirmation of each other before some very welcomed early bedtimes!

Tomorrow (Sunday), we head out for another early flight (we leave at 3:15 am to catch it!). Pray for smooth travel and that God will bless all we have prepared in our training today. Please pray also for the church service we'll be part of tomorrow, as we'll be serving in a variety of ways and Pastor Ric will even get to preach there. 

Thanks for all your prayers already on our behalf. You can't imagine the difference they've made even on Day 1 of our trip! 

Saturday, 6/15/19 - And they're off!

At 3 am, this incredible team of 17 headed off to the airport. As of mid morning, they have arrived to their stateside Envision site for some training today and then they will head out on another early morning flight tomorrow for their final ministry destination, where upon arrival tomorrow morning they will jump right into ministry. Pray for energy and that their little sleep would be restful! 

While we did get a few pictures of them around 3 am, we told them we'd honor them by posting this picture of them instead of their 3 am tired faces under the pole lights of our Gettysburg Pike Campus parking lot. Please be praying for them this week and check back for updates. Updates will be posted as internet coverage and as availability allows. We love these guys and couldn't be more excited to see how God uses them this coming week!