- Published: 28 July 2017 28 July 2017
July 27th, 2017 - The Fourth Day (Workday #3)
What a night! We lost power at the camp (and so did the municipality of Dorado.) It was a long night because of the heat temperature of the rooms and the humidity, yet everyone seemed to go to sleep rather quickly. I believe everyone was too tired to pay attention to the humidity, and it was an excellent opportunity for us to get unplugged from the digital world as most people's cell phones were without battery life. Because of the lack of sleep, our day started at 8 am instead of 7 am, and we left camp at 9 am instead of 8 am -- so everything was pushed back an hour. Also, because of the lack of power and refrigeration, we forced to throw away some of the breakfast food (milk, fruit and such) that we had purchased. On our way to the church, we stopped by a Puerto Rica Bakery were most of the delegation ate a Puerto Rican type of breakfast sandwich and chocolate milk or coffee. We arrived at the Vega Alta Church around 10 am, and we needed to hit the ground running because we were behind schedule. We focused on the inside of the sanctuary and some of the small details of the outside of the Sanctuary and the trims. We were a bit concern because of the dark clouds above us, but it never rained. We praise the Lord. We finished working around 6 pm and return to camp to take showers and got ready to go out to have dinner at a local restaurant with typical Puerto Rican food "Buffet Style." After dinner, the delegation decided that it was a good night to go to the movie and share that experience with our host members and we when to a local movie to watch a movie.
- Published: 27 July 2017 27 July 2017
July 26th, 2017 - Third Day in PR
By Dominic Grasso --- The day began at 7 am, with a continental breakfast and coffee. We were at the church by 8:30 and ready to work. We were met by a few members of the Vega Alta Presbyterian church and we divided the Skaneateles delegation into multiple groups. Some of us painted the wall, power washed, worked in the sanctuary, got on the roof, painted the back of the church, ran errands, helped with babies, diced fruit, served cold water, but we all laughed and gave thanks for the opportunity to be together. We found it interesting that we were able to work together despite our cultural and language differences. We also found how easy it is to become friends for the glory of God. Our partnership has flourished in an organic way just as Godself led us here. We tried some amazing fruit, Latino/Hispanic candy, and we worked as a well-oiled machine. Mixed with good times and lots of colorful flavors. Mario and Edwin made us work until 5:30. Then quickly we went to the camp, took showers, got dressed up, and our hard work was rewarded by a good meal in Old San Juan. We went to a brand new place and while the food was delicious, it took forever for us to start eating. We even tried to trick Mario by giving him a glass of salsa water with salt and pepper. But he drank it and did not flinch: what a disappointment (lol). Then we walked around San Juan and saw the city wall, the old prison where they kept pirates, and the water with lights. We finished the night around 11:30...what a long day! Then, for dessert, we tried to go to Walgreens, Wendy's, and many other local ice-cream places, and just as we arrived to the camp, we realized that the township where the camp is located had lost its power. We were so tired that nobody complained, yet some of us had to wrestle with ants and sweat to go to sleep (AKA me). I am so thankful for your support, prayers, and for allowing me to represent you and God's love here in Puerto Rico!
- Published: 26 July 2017 26 July 2017
July 25th, 2017 - Second Day in PR
Wake up call was at 7 am. We had breakfast at the Lutheran Camp. We met Rev. Edwin Gonzales and the large van at 8:30 am and went to Vega Alta Presbyterian Church for our first work day. At the church we had some light wall and trim scraping work, yard work around the sanctuary, power wash the outside walls, painting walls, metal windows, and rooftops (The Vega Alta Congregation did a lot of pre-work). The Skaneateles delegation was able to work and assist members of Vega Alta Presbyterian Church in the beautification of their building. Bonds of friendship and camaraderie were quickly formed. Members of Vega Alta were pleased with the diligent and hard work of the Skaneateles Delegation. There was time for hard and diligent work, but there was also a time to celebrate and dance, laugh, eat and read and study the word of God.
We had a small study based on the gospel of John 14:7 "If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” and we talked about the "5 Whys" to get to the root of why we decided to come to this partnership trip. We lead with the question "If you really want to know me, you need to know ____________." This lead many members of the delegation to discover that God needs to be at the center of everything that we do, while we are in PR and when we go back to CNY. We finish at Vega Alta around 4 pm and when back to the Lutheran Camp to get ready to go to a local beach. We stayed at the beach until 7 pm and when back to the camp to order pizza and pork bits and chicken wings and had an evening of board and classic games in the social hall until about 11 pm. It was an amazing and blessed first day of work. We continue to pray for good weather and the chances of rain are high! For the Kingdom, because of the Power and for the Glory of God!
- Published: 26 July 2017 26 July 2017
July 24th, 2017 - First Day in PR
The day started at 2 am as we got ready to drive to SYR airport. On our way there we discovered that there was a weather related issue with our plane to NYC and that we needed to split our delegation into two groups and travel through ATL. The first group (Seth Lincoln, Mia Grasso, Shay McCarthy, Melissa Biver, Taylor Hill, Rebecca Rottger, Sandy Nichols, Mel Bolivar, Dante Bolivar and Mario Bolivar) traveled to ATL at 5:50 am arriving at PR at 1:30 pm. --- the second group (Stephen Ciaccio, Nana Ciaccio, Conor Driscoll, Dominic Grasso, Barb Connor, Doug Wood) would travel at 11 am to ATL arriving in PR at 11:30 pm.
The schedule for Monday evening had to be rearranged as our delegation was split in half. --- The first group was "forced" to enjoy the beach while the other part of delegation "enjoyed" (Haha!) the day traveling in airports. The first group was able to prepare the camp for the second group, go shopping for breakfast food, build the fans that we were going to use in the bedrooms, and go to dinner in a local place. The second group was able to travel and at the airport, they met the SYR basketball coach (Jim Boeheim) enjoy some massage chairs and lay on the floor. --- at the end our delegation was able to travel on July 24 as planned despite the weather issues thanks to the coordination and efforts of Barb Connor with Delta Airline. It was thanks to her that we were quick to reroute and come to show our love of partnership in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ as planned without further delay. The second group made it to the camp and was able to go to sleep around 1:30 am on July 25th --- All Glory to God!