Friday, January 21, 2011

Catalina at Last

We have officially been in Avalon for 4 days - this is day 5.  We arrived late afternoon on Monday to an incredible welcome - so many people were at the boat dock to greet us with hugs, smiles an kind words.  The rest of that day consisted of "nesting" in our new accommodations.  And what accommodations they are!  I had brought our air mattresses and sleeping bags, thinking we would be using them and "camping out" in a big room at the bottom of the church.  Well, we were surprised by being given 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a "rec room" for relaxing in addition to access to the church kitchen.  Way more than we expected!  We are really very comfortable.  The Dominguez family has been a joy to live in community with!  Enrique, Santa, Rico and Azariah have been so gracious and we are blessed to be "house-mates".

So, day 2 in Catalina consisted of meeting (it seemed) a thousand people - ok, maybe 20 or so...anyway, alot of people!  Every day we meet more - it's fun, but remembering everyone's names is gonna take a miracle.  But the people have been amazing - so kind and welcoming.

Yesterday was a huge highlight.  After schooling the children, they went over to where there was a skatepark - I say was because it has become derelict and run down and completely unusable.  So, any of you who know Alex, know that he was on it right away!  He, Mike, Derek and the kids began to move ramps around and clean up the place - it took hours and slowly, but surely, it began to look like a skatepark again.  A few people from the community heard what was going on, including the owner of the property.  Instead of getting upset, he actually asked Alex to draw-up some plans to design a whole new park!  Wow - that was cool and unexpected!  It had only been cleaned-up for a few minutes before about 30 kids were all over it!  What a blessing and what a huge need for this community!  Alex, Mike and Derek had a great time hanging-out, beginning relationships that will hopefully grow into opportunities to share Christ.

That evening was a church service.  Mike led worship and Andrew gave his testimony, challenging the people on taking risks in order to test their faith.  It was a wonderful service!  The room is small, so the sound of people singing resonated loudly making for an awesome time of worship.  The people were receptive and challenged through the testimony.  At the end, they all came forward and laid hands on our family and had a powerful time of prayer.  What a blessing!!  It was so special and reminded me much of our send-off as people had gathered around our family in the youth service at Pathways to do the same thing.  So, here we are, circled and lifted in prayer on both ends of our journey, not to mention carried along on the wings of prayer through our entire journey here.  It was such a fitting end to an amazing day and we are marveled by God's working in our midst already!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers...we love you!
The Hobbs Family