I don't know where to begin. The people of Negritos are the most amazingly loving and welcoming people I have every known. Their community is simply beautiful. Over the last week I had the privilege of being with them for the third time. Each time I come back I fall a little more in love with them, their culture, and their town. It's the reason I keep going back and hope to in the future.

This past week has been nothing short of amazing. Of course there were times where we served by painting or delivering food to those whom Pastor Paul wanted to reach in the community. However, those aren't really the times that I find myself reflecting on. Instead, I think of the meals that the beautiful ladies at the project prepared for us. I think of my time with the youth band where we talked about worship and what it means to us. I think of being asked to sing with them for their church service and then being blown away as I watched their community praise God with reckless abandon on Sunday morning.

 

I think of the fashion show that they put on for us with dresses made in the new workshop that ThornCreek helped provide. I think of the conversations about my children back home. I think about the silly games played on a Friday afternoon in a colosseum that is missing windows and is now home to pigeons. I can go on and on.

 

All of that said, if I was asked about one moment that may have surpassed all other moments it would have to be during our fun day with Naomi. After swimming, playing and eating a meal we had some time to just share with Naomi and her mother. We gave her gifts and there were plenty of hugs and kisses to go around. During that time I made a comment to her mom basically saying thank you for allowing us to love Naomi and how I feel like she is our very own daughter. Her mom responded by saying that Naomi often tells her she has a mom and dad in the United States and three brothers. That right there makes everything worth it!

 

Once you get past the distance, the different culture, and the language barrier there is something that breaks through, the love of family. I feel like Naomi and her mom are as much a part of my family as my own flesh and blood. I pray for them, I think about them often and I long to be near them. They are my family and I love them.

- Pastor Jason