March 2, 2014
It’s Sunday, day two! This morning we had church outside at our compound where we all whipped out our GoodWill bought, Nicaraguan skirts. We prepared the team into three groups that are each assigned to different tasks during the day. There was VBS, and playing soccer with the kids at “El Campo”. Different people will elaborate on their different experiences.
My group was the VBS group today. As an education major, I found this to be good practice. The language barrier, however, makes things difficult. (“I wish I knew more Spanish!” is something said quite often here). We were given a packet of what the VBS lesson should cover except this was given to us about forty five minutes before we had to teach it. So we had to come up with ideas pretty fast. This included the games, songs, and how we were going to teach the lesson. The lesson today was on God’s Glory and WOW, is His glory shown here! We had the kids do a couple songs and they really got into the hand motions and dancing as we struggled through the Spanish lyrics (this was caught on film). Then they learned Psalms 19:1 with hand motions and that was a big hit as well. After the lesson we played right there in the street with the fifteen or so children for hours. They pull you everywhere speaking in Spanish, wanting to get on your back and race different people. It’s tiring, but so fun. Today I played so many different tag games I lost count. We had a little girl running around in a diaper to ten year old boys running around with our mission soccer ball. The experience here is amazing. Just taking the time to step back and see all of these children that look up to us, holding our hands, hanging on us, sharing their lives with us is humbling. They have so little stuff, yet have so much joy. P.S everyone is doing great! No sickies, the food isn’t too bad, and the sunburn is existent, but kept to a minimum. Love you all, and thank you for the prayers!
Kaitlan Wiles #1
My group was assigned to play soccer with the kids at “el campo” or in the field today! To find the kids to come and play with us we walked along the streets of Pantanal. Streets is a very loose term to describe the roads we traveled on though, a better description is dirt roads with crevices filled with trash and mucky water. The houses around us were only shacks made of thin sheets of metal or thin planks of wood. Animals run freely here and on the streets roamed goats, horses and today even a bull! With our translators we rallied up over 40 kids. Along the way the kids laughed and held our hands or begged to be on our shoulders and backs. It’s very hard to resist their little faces and big, beautiful brown eyes! Once we arrived at the field we separated in teams. The big kids were on one field and the little kids on another. The “fields” we played on were rocky, had big cracks, sticks and roots on them but that didn’t stop the fun! The kids here take these pick-up games very seriously so losing was not an option. I was on “equipo (team) Barcelona” and although we lost we had a great time celebrating our goals and laughing at each other when we would slip in the dirt. After the game I met up with one of my little friends from yesterday. Her name is Marta and she is around 9 years old. Marta always stays with me and enjoys helping me with my Spanish when I ask what things are. Today when I slipped and got a scratch on my knee she took me to the water pump and helped me clean it off. Also, when Marta hears anyone, even older boys, laughing at me she runs over and scolds them and sometimes has to smack them a few times just to show them she means business! She watches out for me and also brings me some nuts and things from trees that I can eat. All the kids here are so animated and each has such fun personalities that I try and get to know. Although the Spanish makes it a little difficult to communicate, when I ask for help on a word they all love to help me and enjoy teaching me Spanish. In being here I am seeing God’s love. I see the beauty in his creation here and also in his people. God hasn’t forgotten any person and although Nicaragua is far from home, God’s love for these people is so strong and I pray that our love for Christ and his people is shown to all we meet because in the end I believe this is the reason for coming here.
Meghan Wiles #7
Church at El Puente
This morning we had the amazing privilege to attend church at the compound we’re staying at. El Puente, or The Bridge, is an outdoor church consisting of both long term missionaries and Nicaraguan people. They exist to bring the cultures together to worship and serve the same Lord in one congregation. Church was an awesome experience. We began the service with worship. The songs were in Spanish, but they were familiar songs, so we were able to sing along in English which was a really cool experience. Worshiping in two languages at once was something that cannot be explained in words. The message was given in English, and it was translated into Spanish as it was taught. One of my favorite things was watching the little kiddos praise Jesus, and be so excited and joyful to be at church. Overall the entire experience of the service was really encouraging because it was great to see another culture living out their faith, but hands down the best part of the service came at the end. A father and son in the church had made the decision to go public with their faith by getting baptized. When they gave their testimony they were very vulnerable with us, and explained that they had been living a life full of sin. The dad explained that he had been drinking and living a life that hurt his family greatly. He said he was turning away from his sins and that he wanted to lead his family in a new way. He was very regretful that he had hurt his family so badly, and that his actions as a father had brought down. The son has a similar story. He explained that he had been living a bad life, he that he had been changed by Jesus, and wanted to show that to us all. They were both so grateful for God’s grace in their life, and we could tell that they had been genuinely saved and forgiven. It was amazing to watch the missionaries as the men were being baptized; you could tell there was so much joy in their hearts over the men making this decision. It was encouraging because it showed us that there really is fruit to their labor, and even though daily these missionaries face such hardship, God is working in the hearts of the people here. There was hardly a dry eye in the church as these two men made the public declaration to live for Christ and lead their family to do so as well.
Holly Bennett #10
First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARGIE!!! (her gift was a smashed egg on her head)
We started the morning with another prayer walk, while the other group made a visit to the dump for a feeding program. The first woman that we approached was seated on a porch across from her house. She had a crutch under her arm and was very old. She seemed very friendly and told us her name was Rosa. She explained that she helped people cook for a living and shared that she occasionally visited a Catholic church. We prayed for her and her family. We continued down the road and came to know this woman named Luisa. She was walking home from her home church and told us that she was a regular. She has been a believer for quite a while and found so much joy in our encouragement. After we prayed for her, she invited us to her home to pray over her house and her family. When we got to her home the sight was very humbling. The home was built out of random pieces of wood and plastic stuck together. There was a fence around the home made by sticks and string. She fumbled to give us chairs and a place to sit. We learned that her daughter was having trouble with blood pressure and her granddaughter was having heart problems. We prayed with the family and thanked them for letting us in their home. As our visit was coming to a close she told us that she was “so happy to have met her family in Christ.” It was an amazing experience. Out trip continued with meeting a man named Luis. He was on his way to the market on his bike and stopped to tell us that he had Catholic beliefs. We shared that we believed that you can get to heaven by believing in Jesus, rather than your good deeds. He explained to us that he had wanted to buy a Bible, but they were just too expensive. We quickly gave him our Spanish-English Bible, and the joy on his face was indescribable. When we were walking away we took a glance back and Luis was already in the middle of the street reading his Bible. It showed us how much we take for granted in the sense that we are fortunate enough to have a Bible, and sometimes don’t always take advantage of it. The last woman that we got the privilege to meet was very interesting. After offering her one of our Bible’s we came to find out that a previous group of us had already given one to her. That was so shocking because out of all of the people in Grenada, two groups got to stop and talk to her. She told us that she had a son named Steven and that she swept trash for the government. We gave her a few verses to read, and showed her how to look them up. She then told us that she was ready to accept Christ into her heart. It was phenomenal. Summer lead her in prayer as she openly proclaimed her desire to know Christ. It was truly a moment of how glorious God really is.
After lunch, we had a market scavenger hunt. We walked to the park, and split up into five teams each with a translator. We were given a certain amount of money, and we had a list of things to buy. The translator was not allowed to speak, which made communication more difficult. The goal was to obtain all of the items on the list, have the most money left over, and be the first team to finish. Some of the items included rope, crayons, pencils, eggs, a bucket, soap, laundry detergent, a top, and drinks. All of items are going to be given to a family in the community. The winning team received marbles. We then headed back to The Bridge to have lunch and get money for shopping. We took a bus about a half hour away to Masaya where we looked around and bought souvenirs. The market had a large variety of items, and it was very easy to get lost. We were only given a short amount of time, before we had to get back on the bus for our volcano and cave tour. The volcano was just outside of Managua, and was breathtaking. I think there was three craters, but some information was lost in translation. The huge craters were giving off the gas from the volcano making the smell very strong.