Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Hiking into Beauty

At the Oasis Care Center, we have an after-school program called the Kids Club. The club has 30-40 kids in it, who all come from families needing a little extra support, for various reasons. The kids who come to the club have a safe place to be after school while their parents are working and receive a big, healthy meal for free.

Our goal for the Kids Club is to form a safe, fun group where the kids have a sense of belonging, develop friendships, and form influential relationships with mentoring adults. In recent years we have been trying to re-shape our Kids Club to be more relationship and discipleship focused. We want to not just to be better able to reach their hearts now, but also to have more success in the future maintaining our relationships with them and helping them through the tough teen years.

The Oasis school is a primary school, and so once children enter 7th grade they switch to a different school and we often lose touch with them. We have tried in the past to start teen after-school programs but without much success. Our hope is that the mentoring relationships they develop now will be ones they feel safe to come back to as they enter and navigate through adolescence.

With that goal in mind, fun group outings have been something we have wanted to do more of with the kids. So Saturday morning, with the help of a team visiting us from Cornerstone Community Church in the Lake Tahoe area, we took all the kids on a morning hike! What an adventure that was!

Lima is brown, brown, and more brown. And during this time of year the skies are mostly gray. But tucked into the hills behind our house is a little-known wildlife area called Lomas de Lucumo. This part of the hills is situated in such a way that it receives a lot of moisture during the winter months, and for just a few months of the year, plants and flowers grow, turning it a very lush green!

About thirty kids and thirty adults gathered at the foot of the "mountain" at 9am. We had invited all the dads of the kids along (we are always looking for ways to get dads involved!), so besides the team and several teachers/staff members, we had four dads join us for the hike.

The air was cool, wet and refreshing, and smelled lovely with all the vegetation. (Except for the beginning when we were passing by a farm.)

The kids loved looking for treasures, like snails and flowers, and everyone agreed the view was beautiful! Most of the staff and dads had no idea that this beautiful hiking area existed, despite it being just 20 minutes from Manchay. They were pleasantly surprised and we heard of many plans to return.

A favorite find by the kids were these clovers, which they chewed on as they walked. Everyone hoped they would be lucky enough to find a four-leaf clover.

Teachable moments abounded...here Dan is explaining to several rambunctious and competitive boys that being the first to the top isn't as important as helping one another and making sure everyone reaches the top together. I'm not sure the lesson sunk in during this trip 😉, but the boys definitely had fun!

The entire hike takes about three hours...but with sixty people and so many little ones, we only made it to the first lookout. But it still felt like an accomplishment!

Teacher Selfie!
Coming down was a muddy, slippery mess. We kept everyone alive and in one piece but our clothes and shoes didn't fare so well!

We were reminded all through the hike of God's goodness to us, in providing this little cove of beauty for us to enjoy together!

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