River Valley Community Church
888 S Edgelawn | Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-844-9115
Sunday Worship at 10:00AM

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Day 8 - 9 , Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saturday was our last day at Casa Berea (the camp).  It was a day filled with keeping 60 very tired kids moving as they got breakfast, dressed, packed, and picked up rooms.  The night before the counselors went into the kids rooms and drew on them with washable crayons.  Some of us weren't so sure this was a good idea but the kids loved waking up to find they'd been pranked.  The rest of the day they tried to figure out who the pranksters were.

The men setup both tents River Valley donated to the camp.  Ian was so excited and is using them in the coming week to handle the overflow of kids coming for high school camp.

Isabelle is the director of the camp.  She has a heart for serving The Lord and it shows!  She has the wisdom to know when to use a firm hand or a soft touch with the children.  She setup a room to take kids to talk with a counselor one on one.  In this room Isabelle took children and even some of the younger counselors to talk about what they were struggling with, help them understand it, and ultimately how Christ can offer love and strength.  This is just one example of the many ways she serves.

Today we were invited to church with Ian, Isabelle, and a half dozen other leaders from camp.  It was a wonderful service.  The pastors sermon talked about being one church united in Christ.  This was a wonderful tie in to us working side by side with Youth for Christ and the devotions in Ephesians Cathy setup for us during the trip.   Definitely a God thing!

After church they prepared a great meal (these people can cook!).  Later we went to the beach where Ian introduced us to some friends who have a volleyball outreach ministry.  It's wonderful to see the passion everyone we met has for serving Jesus.

Monday is a day of sightseeing followed by the plane trip back home on Tuesday.  This will be the last blog entry before we return home.  Thank you so much for your prayers, support, and for the opportunity to see first hand how God is using your investment in Barcelona.

Bob Crane

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day 7 - Friday, July 11th 

Today was a great day.  We had a really late night last night with the talent show.  This show was a great experience for all.  It gives the children the opportunity to get up in front of a group in a safe environment where they will receive acceptance and love.  The children did a great job!  A few got stage fright when they got up in front.  After a few attempts, Rachael (one of the local camp counselors) would ask if they wanted the whole group to sing with them.  This allowed them to still stand up in front of the group and feel like they accomplished something.  We (all the leaders and counselors), were also given the opportunity to get up and perform, so as you can imagine, there were a lot of laughs.  We have some on video, so come to our presentation when we get home to see for yourselves.

It was another sunny day so we went to the pool and played outside a lot.   Rachael taught the lesson to the children, and she did a great job teaching the salvation story using the lost boys from Peter Pan and tying that into the story of the prodigal son and how we are all lost, but we can all be adopted through faith in Jesus Christ.

We helped Ian get some things ready for the next group coming in next week.  Setting up tents and cleaning an area that had gotten wet and dirty from the storms we had while we were here.

I had an interesting experience at lunch.  We were served watermelon and I asked for the salt (la sal).  I started putting it on my watermelon and everyone at my table started freaking out yelling "what are you doing"?  One of the counselors said she thought I was just being silly pretending to put it on my melon.  What I found interesting about this is that they salt everything here.  They pour olive oil on their bread and then salt it.  So many of them decided to try it and all hated it.  They all very clearly, in Spanish, let me know I was crazy and weird.  Mike has been telling me this for 14 years, but not for putting salt on my watermelon.  LOL

This was our last night at camp and we had a great dinner.  Hot dogs, fries, salad, and Ice Cream cake!  They know how to eat hotdogs the right way here.  With ketchup, no mustard.  We ended the night where all the children were given certificates where the counselors from their rooms gave them new names.   It was a really, really late night as they have a tradition here at the camp of painting the faces and other body parts of people who have fallen asleep.  As I was going to sleep at 2:00, I could still hear them roaming the halls laughing.

Tomorrow will be a sad day as we prepare to leave here.  It has been a blessing being here.

Your sister in Christ,

Carol (Team Member)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day 6 - Thursday, July 10, 2014

Camp Berea, in Spain

This summer camp has been an amazing experience for me thus far.  The campers are a group of 55-60 kids (can't seem to catch them all). LOL. The kids overall seem so content and easy to please.  They don't seem to complain.  I haven't heard; I don't eat that, I don't want that, are we done yet, do I have to clean that, things of this nature.  Dare I say it's refreshing.

The love and care that the staff have for the children leaves you speechless.  So much concern goes into every event, games, activities,food, and we'll being.  The young adults on staff as counselors are mostly college students.  They are so funny, creative, loving, & helpful.

The longer we are here, the language barrier seems to be less of a problem.  The kids try so hard to understand you and help us with our Spanish.  The up side is you have to convey your love through your actions, and not your words.  I regret not being able to speak the language.  I'm also more motivated to learn.  I have a new understand for someone trying to adapt to English.  Thanking God for is grace.

I won' tell you how good the food is, how many kids I want to bring home, how great the view is, how I like sleeping in bunk beds, dorm showers, or how much fun I'm having.  I will say that I'm forever grateful to my church and all those that help support this trip so that I might have this opportunity.

With all my Love,

Your Sister in Christ; Lynnette Malone

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Day 5 - Wednesday, July 9, 2013

Another day and I fall further behind in my normal sleep, but it is a lot of fun.  Today started out with perfect weather, warm and sunny (although the pool was still freezing). We enjoyed another great day of worship and lesson with the kids and incredible staff, regarding the necessity of growing up and facing the difficult choices we will all make as we do so. The way the skits and scenes from the Peter Pan story work into these lessons is really great and the kids are truly responding.  However, they are still kids and we have had to deal with multiple conflicts as the week wears on and emotions begin to run more and more freely. I am hopeful the 4 boys in my room will tire and sleep soon, but I've been hoping that all week to no avail as of yet. Well, I did and have been praying for more patience, I guess that will teach me.

This is truly a very special and beautiful place.
Mike Skelly (Team Member)
Day 4, Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

It seemed that we were translated from the USA to Spain! I have never experienced such an easy flight. Here are some of my impressions: love, so much love. Waking up to the sound of a boat being built outside my window. Very Hemmingway! The smell of food, the mountains, of life. Laughter!! Vibrant people. Even more... Vibrant Christians!! On fire, purposeful, dedicated Christians who are on one accord. You would think that our presence would disrupt the fabric, but no. We have been grafted into the fabric of Casa Berea. I am sharing a room with 4 monitors and 8 pre-teen girls. It is like a slumber party. I love it!! Giggling at night, whispering, transient lights from iPhones, iPads and mini-flashlights. Jokes, tears, stomach aches and questions!!!

The language is the only thing that is different. And we strive to close that gap each time we encounter one and another. We struggle to connect, but, no one is discouraged in the struggle. We are expanding. We are reaching to connect and to understand each other. Underneath it all is a sense of direction and God is in charge of the GPS. He is taking each one of us to a shared destination. Along the way, shedding the old wine skins and constructing new ones. We are discarding preconceptions on every level and turning ourselves over to discover more about God's purpose for our lives. Igniting new fires and flaming old embers into existence again.

Questions for God: Where are you taking me? What more can I do to be in service to you; to others? Declarations to God: I need more of you. I thirst for your word and your revelation. THANK YOU God for all that you are doing this week! May everyone that I meet, see all of you and hear and receive all that you have for them.
I am expecting miracles!!!

Cathy Gaddis

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday July 07, 2014 - Day 3

Today was our first full day of camp with the kids. Thankfully, the tent survived a storm in the night (They are super excited to have the tents!), but it continued to rain until this afternoon. So, it was a noisy day to have nearly 60 kids inside Casa Berea.  Also, three hours that were to be spent swimming had to be filled with activities!  Games (our team led those), worship, crafts, rest, and a movie filled our day.  We keep the kids going until 11:30 pm each day. So, nap time is greatly appreciated!!  

The Camp Director and Counselors have hearts for God, and it is truly touching to see them minister to each child. Many of the Counselors are college and high school students. Many local, some from the states and one from England that are here for several weeks of camps.  (In a couple of weeks, they will have English camp and serve pancakes for breakfast. So they are thankful for the syrup!). 

Today's skit was about Tinkerbell's jealousy of Wendy and Peter Pan and what can happen when we let that jealousy cause us to treat others wrongly.  The devotional then told the story of Cain and Abel. Then they ended with another skit showing Tinkerbell changing her actions to be kind toward Wendy and Peter Pan.  

The children are divided into teams (mermaids, lost boys, pirates, etc.). Each team is assigned a job for the day such as setting up for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or cleaning the bathrooms.  So they are contributing each day as a team.  

My favorite part of today was singing "My God is Greater" in Spanish.  What a blessing to worship God with our brothers and sisters in Barcelona at Casa Berea Camp!

Okay, I'm leading team devotions tomorrow at 8 am (each person on our team is taking a turn teaching on Ephesians) - now today since it is after midnight.  So goodnight, Barcelona. Buenos noches!

From Carla

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday, July 6th - Day Two

After spending the day setting up a pirate ship, an Indian tent and the mermaids in the sea we waited the arrival of the children.  Dressed as Indians, Lost Boys and Pirates we welcomed 60 children to camp.  Lots of energy, laughs and anticipation filled the first night.  After finishing a delicious dinner at 10:00pm, we had our first teaching time.  Bedtime is at 11:30pm.  It is so encouraging to see Ian on site in the ministry.  His passion for Christ and the love he has for the people in Barcelona is exciting to be a part of.   Thank you for your continued prayers - tomorrow will be our first full day with the children.

In His Service,

Sherilyn Kingsbury - team member

(P.S. Just to let you know, we are 7 hours ahead of you)