Thursday, August 9, 2012

The End of our Girls Group

A week ago today was a somewhat-sad day for us.   We had our last girls group session of the year. Since my baby is due in September, we decided to stop the girls group in the beginning of August.  We planned some special things during our last week of group.  

First, we made some cute bracelets and necklaces with our girls. (All the jewelry making materials were donated by my sister who was recently here visiting!  Thank you!)  The girls loved doing this activity.  They made necklaces or bracelets with their names on them.

Ludmila even made a necklace with her full name on it - first, middle and last name!

During our last week of group we also had a special time of encouragement and prayer for each girl in the group.  We felt it important to take some time (and we took A LOT of TIME) to speak blessings and declare truth over every girl one last time before the group officially ended.

  The girls also actively participated in this activity. I really loved seeing the girls praying and blessing each other through their encouraging words. It was a sweet time...

On the last day of group we also did a special treasure hunt around the grounds here at the Lighthouse Community Center.

Here's a photo of the girls doing a special cheer before the treasure hunt began!
They counted and then shouted out (a fun name we call our group),  
"1-2-3... Super Power Girls!"

We taught them through out the year that they are strong and powerful in the Lord, and they have the potential to change the world around them for good.  This is why they are "Super Power Girls" or "Meninas Super Poderosas!"

And the treasure hunt begins! 
 The girls received one clue to start the hunt.  All the clues were Bible verses, so the girls had to search the scriptures and think about the passages.  The clue the girls are reading here is a verse about Jesus being baptized by John.  Where will the next clue be hidden? Where could it be?

The girls found the clue inside a plastic jar floating in the Lighthouse swimming pool, where we have many many baptisms!  Here at the Lighthouse, we open our pool to local churches at least once a month for baptisms. 

The girls were really reading the Word as they found each clue!

Eventually the clues led the girls to a treasure box in a classroom decorated for their goodbye party.

The last scripture, that all the girls had to read before opening the treasure was from Psalm 119:72, where David wrote, 
"Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold or silver."

We talked with the girls about how the greatest treasure we will ever find in life is - GOD.   This is something we hope and pray the girls will remember from the time they spent in our group.
Knowing God,  knowing and reading His word, and being in relationship with Him is more precious and more important than anything - more than money, more than any other treasure in the world...
 God is the greatest treasure of all!

The treasure inside the box.  Each girl got a little treasure/goodbye baggie full of goodies!

Felipe made a slideshow of photos showing all the wonderful memories we made as a group.

The girls laughed and smiled while watching the video and when it was over they wanted to watch it again.  SO... we watched it twice!

You can watch it too if you like! Enjoy!

We celebrated the birthdays of the girls who will have birthdays coming up at the end of the year, but our group won't be in session.

We prayed for the Birthday girls, sang Happy Birthday, enjoyed cake and sat around talking about some of our favorite memories of the year and what we were most thankful for during the time in the group.

At the end of the day each girl received a card and a photo from Alynena (my teaching partner) and I, and of course we gave each girl a BIG goodbye HUG!

I wanted a photo with this special girl - with an injury...  This is Giselle. A few weeks ago she fell in the park here at the Lighthouse and got a hairline fracture in her leg.  She is recovering well now, but it was quite a scare on the day of the accident.

Please pray for this precious girl!  She is so dear.  I think she is probably the girl who most valued coming to our group this year.  She really needed something like our group desperately in her life.  She has few people who are really investing positively in her life, encouraging her or spending quality time with her.

 Giselle's father was killed here in the slum when she was 5 years old ( I am pretty sure it is related to crime activity) and she has a strained relationship with her mother. She currently lives with her grandmother in a small house down an alleyway here behind the Lighthouse.  God has really put a deep love and burden in my heart for this girl and I can see how God is touching her heart and revealing Himself to her.   She even began crying during our special prayer time for her. 

Please pray for Giselle, as she was really sad to see our group come to an end.  I hope to invest in her and spend more time with her in the future too...  Praying about this and how I can do this...

Even though the group is ending we told the girls that we would love to schedule times with them on the weekends or during the week (every once and a while).  The girls can come over to swim, to hang out with us or play on the playground.  Felipe does this often with the boys in the community and it is a great way to invest in our relationships with the kids and families here in the slum - in a more low-key and relaxed way.  I don't want to loose touch with these girls either, so every once and a while I can handle something like this.  Sophia loves playing with the girls too, so she will love having them over!

Alynena really had it strongly on her heart to meet with one specific girl in our group, named Sabrina, and she started this today!  Every Thursday morning Alynena will be reading a special Children's Bible with Sabrina and talking about the stories and truths presented in the Bible. 

Sabrina is very excited about this!  The day Alyneana took her aside privately inviting her to come back weekly to meet one-on-one, Sabrina came over to me with a huge, beaming smile on her face and said,
"Laura, Laura - I am not going to stop coming to YWAM.  I am going to come back every week to read the Bible with Alynena!"  

Grinning, I responded, "I know... I know... Isn't that great?" 

 So much JOY filled my heart as I saw the hunger and desire in Sabrina to return to the Lighthouse to learn about God!

  During this year we really saw a need  to explain the Bible and various truths about God to Sabrina, in a more one-on-one way.  No one in Sabrina's family is a believer or follower of Christ and there is no one in her life teaching her about God (except us here at the Lighthouse).

  Now, God is continuing to use Alynena to tell Sabrina about His great love and the message of Jesus Christ - in a personal, individual and real way.  I am SUPER happy Alynena is doing this and please pray that these special meeting times would be fruitful. 

We had a great girls group during 2012!   
I will miss seeing and spending time with these beautiful girls every week. 

Please pray for their lives, their families and a protection over the things God has taught them while here at the Lighthouse.   Please pray that these girls will choose to walk with the King, choosing the path of abundant life that brings them a HOPE and a FUTURE!

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