Today was our last full day at Port St. Joe. We started the morning with a volunteer meeting to go over the events of the day and the details of packing up the things we have used. Blue Skies has a resource room where they store all the equipment they use until the next trip. So everything that has been used all summer has to be cleaned up and sorted out and stored neatly in the room. Throughout the day, volunteers will work in their assigned areas to get this done.
Next we had our last Chapel service on the beach. Kenn Kington gave a devotional, talking about the love God has for us in taking our place by sending His son to the cross. The gospel was presented very clearly. Then those who wanted to had communion as families. It was a special time as we took communion together on the boardwalk and then the pastors prayed over each family separately.
After chapel, we had our last H2O Small groups. All the kids went off to their places and the guest family adults had their last support group session.
For lunch, we all drove west 6 miles to Mexico Beach to a restaurant called Toucan's. They served us a buffet on the beach and we setup chairs, umbrellas and beach toys for the guest families to use. It was a beautiful, sunny day and everyone had a great time. We even saw some dolphins jumping up 6 ft. out of the water and doing flips. It was like God was putting on a show just for us!
That evening, we had our final celebration. We took a group picture of all the volunteers and guest families, then one of just the guest families and finally one of just the cancer/brain tumor/leukemia patients. Here's one of the pictures:
Here's a pic of all the people taking pictures! We thought this was funny. They were working hard at getting the little ones to be happy and look at the camera.
Next we had Chick-fil-A for dinner and went to the beach to watch the sunset together. It was a beautiful evening.
Finally we watched a slide show presentation of the entire week with the guest families. It was fun seeing photos of everyone enjoying the week's events. There were lots of hugs and exchanging of contact information for keeping up with each other in the future.
Our team Coach, Brad Thomas, shared a devotion with the volunteers after the guests left. I thought it was very appropriate to share here about what we have been doing all week. Romans 5:3-5 says:
but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
These families are going through tribulations (suffering) as they deal with pediatric cancer. It produces in them perseverance and character and hope. We have endeavored this week to help show them hope. Some came to the week literally on the last threads of hope, about to give up. We have helped lift them up and hold up their hands, just like Aaron and Hur helped Moses in Exodus 17. Please pray for these families as they go back to their homes and back to reality.