Preparation is Key–July 22, 2015

Dee paints faces at the Gran Bazar.

Dee and Mari Ellyn painted faces at the Gran Bazar.

When any storm approaches, preparation is a top priority. You need a plan when things get crazy, some extra water and food. It also helps to have support from those with a little experience to help everyone weather it out when things shift from normal to high intensity.

It’s the same situation in the Friends of Cozumel Volunteer Vortex. A frenzy of preparation has readied the volunteers for the community service activities coming up.

FOC volunteers have already handled a mountain of donated clothing, shoes and household items in a very successful Gran Bazar held at the Vida Abundante church. While parents shopped, their children enjoyed the attention of FOC volunteers.

“Dee and I got to paint the faces of the children who came while their parents shopped,” said Deanne from the CREW project, a nonprofit women’s ministry in Maryland. “Lisa got to give the children temporary tattoos and give them fancy hairdos, and Mari Ellyn blew bubbles with the children. I think a GREAT time was had by ALL! Mari Ellen thinks she’s found her new favorite workout—chasing bubbles!”

Craft project success at Vacation Bible School.

Craft project success at Vacation Bible School.

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Ilene helped children from Vida Abundante create crowns.

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Vacation Bible School included creating crowns of glory.

Volunteers have also prepared for vacation Bible school by promoting it to local residents and stockpiling the supplies needed for craft projects. The crafts and refreshments were a huge hit with the 80 or so participants who attended last night.

“It was such a pleasure to just show love to the children and to take a moment in our fun to let them know that Jesus loves them and invite them to Vacation Bible School which they call EBVD,” said Deanne.

Two building projects are in progress in preparation for use at Vida Abundante church. One project is construction of a canopy to shade events at the outdoor church, and the second is a creation of wood storage shelves for the church bodega.

Byron, Jerry and Gary work on bodega shelving.

Byron, Jerry and Gary work on bodega shelving.

Volunteers have also inventoried, sorted and compiled 401 packets of school supplies in preparation of the first day of distribution to families in need — an activity that typically tests the endurance of even the most experienced volunteers. Imagine trying to organize the eager children and their parents with just a handful of FOC volunteers. Thankfully we have translation help for many of our volunteers who don’t speak Spanish. Kudos to Karen, Larry and their bi-lingual daughter Diana who is working alongside the CREW team to translate.

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The CREW team, local volunteers and Diana, their translator (in red).

“Diana is such a beautiful gift to us,” said Dee of the CREW team. “We all agree that her presence coupled with her gifts and talents, has opened up the communications tremendously. We are TRULY grateful for her and give God praise for her sacrificial gift of being here.”

Dee’s comment echoed the sentiments of many who see the Friends of Cozumel volunteers at work. It’s often a sacrifice of time and resources—but it’s always done with a generous heart.

“It is impossible to convey the amount of hard work, sweat equity, donors, volunteers and content that it takes to make this happen,” said Lisa of the CREW group. “Standing in the middle of it today was overwhelming at times knowing that God put me right here right now to help. A great day so far!”

Lisa stands amidst the sorted donations that are ready for distribution.

Lisa stands amidst the sorted donations that are ready for distribution.

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