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