Well, after multiple times of pinching myself I have come to the realization that I am really here in the Bahamas! I have been to few different places around the world, but nowhere have I been so taken back by the beauty. Everything from the beaches, to the adorable houses, all the way to the sweet people, this place is like none other! Being able to walk out my front door and ending up on the beach in only a few steps is unreal.
These last few days have flown bye faster than the first two weeks. We are all starting to realize how short our time is left here. It feels just like yesterday we were getting on a little airplane to fly us here to the island of Eleuthera. Our first week here we re-roofed the center we are living at the Eleuthera Bible Training Center. That was an experience I will never forget! Our second week here we began expanding the basketball court that is at the center. To me this sounded like a simple and short task, but I was quite mistaken. I had no idea there could be so many rocks in such a small area. Before we could begin pouring the concrete we had to level out the ground, which meant removing the mini rock quarry. For a week we worked hard leveling out the perimeter of the court. Even though it was hard work our team made it fun and light hearted!
This past week we began pouring the concrete. Along with working on the basketball court our team was able to work with the local special needs school. This was definitely a highlight of my trip. Each morning a group of five of the students were able to go to the school. At the school we were able to help the kids with their studies, and play with them during recess. Getting to be with the children was something I will never forget. The students that attend the school are not all the type of special needs that we usually think when we hear the name. Most of the children originally attended the local schools, but were told to leave because they did not learn as fast as the other children their age. After being told to leave they are enrolled in the special needs school. Because of this system there are children who do not need to be in this type of school but for them there is no other option. On Wednesday I was able to go to the school. I loved getting to help the children with their homework and then play with them during recess. It was so refreshing to see each of the children and their joyful hearts. Life for these children is not easy, but they are still dressed with a smile and a love for people. As I left the school I felt like my heart was going to burst with joy and thankfulness.
After seeing the children and being in many other situations on this trip God has been teaching me what it means to have a truly joyful heart, and a deep love for people. Being here I have been reminded of all that I have, and all of the people who love me. Better than anything else I am reminded that I have a God who loves me unconditionally and how He fills me with joy!
As our trip is starting to come to an end we are asking God to help us savor what is left, and continue to press into Him and what He is teaching us. Thank you all for the prayers for health and safety!
Thayne Lynne Ritter